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

Gershwin - Introduction

George Gershwin's musical journey has been unique in every aspect: Tin Pan Alley - Broadway - Hollywood - concert halls - lyrical theatres. Everywhere with a great success. No composer has enjoyed such recognition, in so many different fields and in such a short period of time.

As a songwriter, Gershwin appeared in the history of American music at the right time. As a composer he was able to ensure direct acceptance into the folk music of his land, giving it an artistic form.

Gershwin had in his mind the rules and technique of Western European music, but at his heart, the harmonys and rhythms of the American South. His imagination was nourished by the idioms of an original folk music. He was one of the first to understand the universality of its character. He borrowed from, bold harmonics and a transparent melancholy, which only counterpart in Schubert's songs detected.

His music is full of wondrous mixed melodies and rhythms. Unexpected chords succeed each other with incredible tossing precision. And his most profound musical reflections are pulsating with the incomparable power of truth and unpretentious inspiration. It is no coincidence that with his opera Porgy and Bess he offered humanity the most artful of the folk and the most folk of the artful works of a great art.

(George Monemvasitis)