Johann Straus II - Vergnügungszug (Pleasure Train), op. 281

Johann Strauss II , known for his waltzes and lively compositions, had a unique approach to his creative process. He consistently sought contemporary and relevant themes to serve as the driving force behind his new musical compositions. This approach ensured that his work remained fresh and connected with the audiences of his time.  One notable instance of this creative approach was the composition of this polka, composed in 1864. This piece of music was specifically crafted for a summer concert held in the picturesque Russian town of Pavlovsk. It's fascinating to note that Strauss drew inspiration for this composition from the world around him. In this case, he found it in the emerging technology of the time, namely, the steam locomotive. The composition itself is a testament to Strauss's ability to capture the essence and energy of the subject matter. The rhythm of this dance piece mirrors the rhythmic chugging and movements of the old-fashioned steam trains that were prevale

Bedřich Smetana - Introduction

One only has to watch carefully the route of the Vltava River (Moldau), as it is described thoughtfully and spontaneously with the sounds of the homonymous symphonic poem by Bedřich Smetana, in order to understand the musical philosophy of the Bohemian composer, which was also a philosophy of life.

Smetana proposes with his work a seductive model of programmatic music, a fair model of nationalist opinion and a bright model of coupling words and traditional music at the same time.

Smetana's symphonic poem Vltava is certainly the most intimate example of the composer's musical writing, but it has condensed and concentrated all the structural characteristics that are detected in his works.

The rhythmic energy that emerges from every breath of his works is assisted by music gentle, emotional, witty. Rhythm and melody, having deep roots in the tradition of bohemian land, creatively stimulate the imagination and provoke the immediate emotion of the listener.

At a time when every inch of European land is looking for its national identity, the humble servant of music Bedřich Smetana is transformed into a sound-benefactor of his homeland, and establishes one of the most important national school.

Methodical, modest but also inventive at the same time, he will rid his country's music of the shackles of of Austro-German domination and cry out the right to free national musical meditation.

(George Monemvasitis)