The Hungarian Dances (German: Ungarische Tänze) by Johannes Brahms, are a set of 21 lively dance tunes based mostly on Hungarian themes, completed in 1869. Only numbers 11, 14 and 16 are entirely original compositions. In fact, number 5 was based on the csárdás by Kéler Béla titled “Bártfai emlék” which Brahms mistakenly thought was a traditional folksong.
They are among Brahms’ most popular works, and were certainly the most profitable for him. Each dance has been arranged for a wide variety of instruments and ensembles. Brahms originally wrote the version for piano four-hands and later arranged the first 10 dances for solo piano. The most famous Hungarian Dance is No. 5.
Brahms wrote orchestral arrangements for No. 1, No. 3 and No. 10. Other composers, including Antonín Dvořák, orchestrated the other dances. These composers were Andreas Hallén for No. 2, Paul Juon for No. 4, Martin Schmeling for Nos. 5 to 7, Hans Gál for Nos. 8 and 9, Albert Parlow for No. 11 to 16. Dvořák orchestrated the last numbers.