No. 5 in F sharp minor & No. 6 in D flat major
Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was a German composer, pianist, and conductor of the Romantic period. Brahms composed for symphony orchestra, chamber ensembles, piano, organ, and voice and chorus. A virtuoso pianist, he premiered many of his own works. Brahms has been considered both a traditionalist and an innovator, by his contemporaries and by later writers.
Brahms composed 21 dance tunes mostly based on Hungarian themes as piano duets using one piano. Since they were completed in 1879, each dance has been arranged for a variety of ensembles.
The inspiration for Dances grew out of Brahms study of folk music and encouraged by his early relationship with Hungarian-born violinist Ede Reményi. Brahms had met Reményi when he was 17 and three years later he served as piano accompanist to Reményi during an extensive tour of European cities. After the publication of the Dances, Reményi accused Brahms of adapting tunes of his for use in the Dances. one of the better-known Hungarian Dances includes No. 5, based on the Csárdás “Bártfai emlék” (Memories of Bártfa) by Hungarian composer Béla Kéler, which Brahms mistakenly thought was a traditional folksong.
The earliest known recording of any movement of Hungarian Dances is a version of Hungarian Dances No. 1, from 1890, played by Brahms himself, and, recorded by Theo Wangemann, an assistant to Thomas Edison.
The following dialogue can be heard in the recording as an introduction:
Theo Wangemann: “Dezember 1889.” (December 1889)
Johannes Brahms: “Im Haus von Herrn Doktor Fellinger bei Herrn Doktor Brahms, Johannes Brahms.” (In the house of Dr. Fellinger with Dr. Brahms, Johannes Brahms)