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


The harpsichord has been sounding for about six hundred years. It's a keyboard instrument, but its strings are stimulated in a nocturnal way and not by hammering like on the piano. The sound produced is characteristic and easily recognized.

When the harpsichord first appeared, it immediately became beloved and its reputation spread throughout Europe. With the begining of the 16th century it became extremely popular and the composers used it in almost every organic combination. It served more as an accompaniment, providing the harmonious substrate, rather than as a solo instrument.

The body of the harpsichord has the shape of a wing. For each note there are two or more strings - the performer can choose how many are used at a time, allowing the instrument to produce loud and soft sounds. Some later instruments used a mechanism to change the volume, opening and closing some grilles on the body of the instrument, allowing the sound to strengthen. Usually the harpsichords have two, sometimes three, keyboards that each produce a different toss quality.

Around the end of the 18th century, the harpsichord began to lose its popularity as the piano developed. For about a hundred years it remained forgotten. In this century, however, the harpsichord knows a kind of rebirth.

How the harpsichord works

The operation of the keyboards is mechanical. When the performer presses a key, its opposite end (inside the instrument) lifts a pen attached to a thin elongated wood or plastic, the yoke, which hits the string.

An escape mechanism allows the yoke to return to its original position without re-strikeing the string. A mechanism also adapted to the yoke, moves a pillow dressed in felt, the silencer, which touches the string, interrupts its tone and stops the sound of the note.

The pen, originally made of feather or leather, is now made of plastic.