• Waltzes for Piano Duet, opus 39
  • Eight Pieces for Piano Solo, opus 76
  • 21 Hungarian Dances for Piano Duet

Hungarian Dance Fever - Brahms on the Bluff

Hungarian Dance Fever at Duquesne University (left to right): pianist Cynthia Raim, Hillman Distinguished Professor of Piano David Allen Wehr,
Henry and Elsie Hillman.

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Hungarian Dance Fever - Brahms on the Bluff

Sunday, October 16, 2005

The Hungarian Dances, though best known through orchestral arrangements, will be heard in their original piano duet format. These sparkling works were so popular that Brahms became a household name as a result. Brahms loved waltzes, and made four different versions of this set, the original for piano duet (heard here), a version for piano solo, a simplified solo version, and five of the waltzes for two pianos. He lived in Vienna during the reign of Johann Strauss, Jr., known as "The Waltz King". When a lady asked Brahms to autograph her fan, he wrote the first bars of Strauss's "Blue Danube Waltz" and underneath, "Unfortunately, not by Johannes Brahms."

Cynthia Raim will offer a Brahms solo, "Eight Pieces, opus 76." This set of short pieces is the first piano music Brahms had written after a long hiatus from the instrument. The four capriccios are passionate and stormy, while the four intermezzos are introspective and haunting.

Cynthia RaimCynthia Raim is known to Pittsburgh audiences for having won the First Three Rivers National Piano Competition in 1975. As a result, she was soloist with the Pittsburgh Symphony, playing Prokofiev's Concerto #3. She has also been heard here as collaborative pianist with soprano Benita Valente, with whom she recorded and toured widely for many years. A native of Detroit, Raim studied at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia with the great pianists Rudolf Serkin and Mieczyslaw Horszowski. She won the First Prize at the 1981 Clara Haskil International Piano Competition in Switzerland, and has enjoyed tremendous acclaim as soloist and chamber musician. She has a long relationship with the Marlboro Festival in Vermont, and has made many tours with Music from Marlboro.

Cynthia Raim and David Allen Wehr have collaborated on two recordings, Brahms Waltzes and Hungarian Dances and Rachmaninoff's Two-piano Suites. You can find out more by visiting the Discography page.

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