The ‘other’ Shaham

Brahms and Joachim:

  • Hungarian Dances

The forty-year friendship between Johannes Brahms and violinist Joseph Joachim was an important relationship in the lives of both musicians. Their admiration of each other’s artistry was very strong, and led on Brahms’ side to his Violin Concerto and Double Concerto for Violin and Cello.

Joachim’s transcriptions of Brahms’ famous Hungarian Dances – originally written for piano duet or solo piano – are technically challenging for any violinist, and they constituting a kind of gypsy ‘Art of the Violin’. They represent the summit of Brahms’ ‘Hungarian’ art, and also of Joachim’s powers of transcription.

The excellent violinist Hagai Shaham is the ideal performer of this music.

The specific selections on this recording are:


  • Hungarian Dances, WoO 1 Nos. 1-21 (complete)

arranged by Joseph Joachim


  • Variations in E minor

Performed by Hagai Shaham (violin) & Arnon Erez (piano)

The British press wrote:

“Joseph Joachim’s violin arrangements of Brahms’s Hungarian Dances more often than not appear singly as concert encores, so it is good to have the whole set presented here, and especially in virtuoso performances from the Israeli violinist Hagai Shaham that get to the heart of the style. If in musical terms Joachim’s own set of variations pales by comparison, this is hardly the fault of Shaham, nor of his expert duo partner Arnon Erez: the playing fizzes with energy and suavity.”

Here is the late violinist Leonid Kogan, playing the Brahms Hungarian Dance, no.2


And here are Hagai Shaham and Arnon Erez playing Gypsy violin Music:


Tags: Hagai Shaham, Brahms, Joseph Joachim, Hungarian Dances

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