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

Giuseppe Verdi - Messa da Requiem

Μεγαλοπρεπής αίθουσα συναυλιών με πολυάριθμα θεωρεία
Although Requiem was a religious work, it was presented more in concert halls than in churches.

Giuseppe Verdi wrote the famous Requiem in honour of his close friend, Alessandro Manzoni, the great Italian poet, writer, and humanist, who died in 1873. It is a powerful fusion of intense drama and passion, with moments of reverent simplicity. Verdi conducted the first performance at St. Mark's Church in Milan on May 22, 1874, the first anniversary of Manzoni's death.

Revolutionary composition

Verdi's Requiem has been revolutionary in two respects: First, because while the traditional requiem is a prayer of the living for the dead, Verdi's work was a function as much for the living as for the dead. As Verdi would expect, it's a dramatic, theatrical play.

Written for four solo voices (soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor and bass) with full choir and orchestra, it follows the typical Roman Catholic Latin mass for the dead. The "libretto" certainly comes from the dramatic and moving text of the Bible.

The serene, reverent principle predisposes little to what comes next. The anthem of the 13th century Dies irae, presents in otherworldly detail a vision of the "Day of Wrath" and the "Last Crisis" and shapes most of the traditional requiem function. With tremendous dramatic power, Verdi organizes his music with drums, brass and rushing strings. It's music loud and passionate, which evokes an eerie and revealing feeling.

In contrast, in the middle section, Domine Jesu Christe, Sanctus, Agnus Dei and Lux aeterna are not so dramatic, but rather serve to present the functional text with simplicity and beauty. Lux aeterna, for example, is imbued with a deeply gloomy mood that is implyed to the wonderful Gregorian chant.

Then, with a virtuoso climax, the listener is once again pushed into emotional terror with Libera me. Here, the lonely, angelic voice of the soprano, accompanied by drowned and hasty violins, utters a prayer for liberation from the torments of hell. Once again, the dramatic Dies irae is repeated and the service ends with a beautiful fugue, in which the soprano returns to re-whisper her call for liberation.