- Hungarian Dances (21) for orchestra, WoO 1
When Brahms was a young man, he toured Europe playing piano accompaniments for an Hungarian violinist named Eduard Remenyi. The fiddler introduced him to gypsy musicians, who inspired this set of 21 Hungarian Dances. During Brahms's lifetime it was his biggest seller, and the dances appeared in various incarnations, including the orchestral version that's recommended here. There are many recordings of these marvelous and memorable pieces, but the Budapest Symphony Orchestra comes closest to capturing that tangy and soulful gypsy spirit.