On This CD, pianist Jonathan Plowright presents the listener with two sides of Johannes Brahms: the serious late Piano Pieces of Op. 118 and their precursor, the Op. 76. Also in this collection are the 16 Waltzes Op. 39, and the flamboyant Variations on a Hungarian Melody.
Brahms’ fascination with Hungarian gypsy music stemmed from his friendship with the violinist Eduard Reményi, and found an outlet in several works, among which the Hungarian Dances are probably the most famous. And other Hungarian themes emerged in the final movement of the violin concerto and in Brahms’ ch Amber music.
Brahms’ early experience as a pianist in Viennese taverns and restaurants induced him to compose this sophisticated light music, but there were also commercial reasons: he composed the waltzes for piano four hands and subsequent pieces for their commercial income.
Here is JonathN Plowright, playing the Nocturne Op. 9, number 3 by Frederick Chopin: