Music with Ease > Classical Music > Concert Guide: Romantic Era > Hungarian Dances - Brahms
The Hungarian Dances were originally written for piano for four hands. How many of them are original with Brahms it is impossible to say. Indeed the old controversy between Remenyi and Brahms, in which the violinist accused the composer of stealing from him, may be fresh in the reader's memory. There is in fact an almost endless number of these dances, some of them modern and some very old, based upon the national Czarda which usually consists of two parts, the one melancholy, the other wild and passionate, reflecting respectively the Magyar and Gypsy spirit. In those attributed to Brahms, whether the themes are his own or not, the setting is unmistakably his. Those most frequently played belong to a set of ten, originally adapted for four-hand piano performance, afterwards arranged for piano and violin by Joachim, and at last scored for orchestra by Brahms. They are probably much different in effect from what they would be when played by a band of traveling gypsies, but they are specially interesting as showing how their effect can be enhanced when transformed into art worthy a great composer.