Walter Hautzig presents an album of dances for the piano. Many of the pieces are familiar, but some not so much. Regardless, this album is yet another example of his artistry and the reverence he has for the composers represented here. Please take note of his association with Alberto Ginastera.
30 Tracks – Total Time: 72:51
When the 29-year old Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) set foot in Vienna in 1862, he surely felt a shiver of excitement to be in the city of his heroes Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert. The neglected Schubert was a composer especially cherished by Brahms, and within two years, Brahms became the anonymous editor of twelve Schubert Ländler, Op. 171, known today a D 790. Not long after this editorial labor of love, Brahms sent his publisher his own set of Sixteen Waltzes, Op. 39 (1866), for piano duet. He dedicated the waltzes to Eduard Hanslick, one of his closest friends in Vienna, and, in a letter informing Hanslick of the dedication, strengthened the Schubert connection for posterity with these words: It consists of two volumes of innocent little waltzes in Schubertian form. If you don’t want them and would rather see your name on a proper piece with four movements, “your wish is my command.” Brahms also supplied his publisher with two versions of his waltzes for piano solo – one for “clever hands, and one perhaps, for more beautiful hands.” The version heard on this recording, indeed, is the one for clever hands.
All sixteen waltzes are composed in binary form, and most exhibit the streamlined harmonic compression that absorbed Brahms throughout his life. Robert Schumann’s influence is also apparent – No. 9 in D minor bears a family resemblance to the final dance in Davidsbündlertänze, and Brahms’ decision to end the set not with a blaze of excitement but with quiet contemplation is certainly a Schumannesque decision.