Brahms Paganini is set to both books of Johannes Brahms’ “Variations on a Theme by Paganini,” a virtuosic composition for solo piano.
A male dancer performs the entire first book of variations alone. Rapid turns and large jumps explode out of quick weight shifts. In Tharp’s style of easy virtuosity, he slides expertly from one variation to the next.
The second book is danced by a quartet. The movement is infused with athletic dynamism that pushes the dancers' strength and determination. A female soloist intersperses the powerful partnering with echoes of the preceding section.
Brahms Paganini is a tour de force for both the dancers and pianist, requiring the highest levels of technical proficiency and stamina.