About Johannes Brahms's Hungarian Dances (solo piano)
In 1850, Brahms met the Hungarian violinist Remenyi, who introduced him to the music of the Hungarian gypsies. This proved a most fruitful introduction, the most popular result of which were the Hungarian Dances, composed originally for piano duet.
The works were to win immediate popularity. Brahms himself arranged the first ten dances for solo piano and orchestrated Nos. 1, 3 and 10 – Dvorák, to whom Brahms had given early encouragement, orchestrated the last five.
The dances make use of gypsy melodies, although there are three completely original compositions by Brahms, Nos. 11, 14 and 16.
It seems that Wagner had the Hungarian Dances partly in his mind when he wrote with his usual acerbity "I know famous composers that you can meet at concert masquerades, one day in the guise of a ballad singer, the next in Handel´sHallelujah wig, another time as a Jewish csardas player, and then again as genuine symphonists dressed up as number ten".