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 sound of the harp has an ethereal quality, which creates the mental image of a divine being playing wavy arppegios, seated in a silver cloud.

There is evidence that the harp has been known in Egypt and Mesopotamia since 3000 BC. In ancient times the harps were generally much smaller than today's. The instrument was then called "lyre". These small buckles rested on the corner of the bent arm. Today's harp is so large that it needs a track base to transport it.

The body of the modern harp is mainly made of maple and its speaker is made of pine. Some very expensive harps are covered with gold leaf and are richly decorated. The harp strings are made of intestines, while the longer strings are wrapped with very thin wire to be more durable. As with the piano, the longer a string is, the lower the note produced. In the harp, due to their apparent uniformity, the strings are painted in different colors depending on the height of the note, to facilitate the performer.

The harp was undoubtedly the most common instrument of voice accompaniment before the keyboards were deployed. The Celtic and Welsh harps have been known for their use in traditional music for centuries, while the contemporary has been a member of the symphony orchestra since the mid-19th century.

How the harp works
The harp is tuned in the key C-flat nd its pitch range extends to a width of about six octaves. The tonality is altered by a mechanism of seven pedals located at its base. At the touch of a pedal the performer can raise the strings by a halftone or a tone. Each pedal affects only one note of the scale, the entire extent of the instrument. In other words, by pressing the pedal of C-flat once, all C-flat strings are tuned C, while pressing it twice are tuned C-sharp.

When the player presses a pedal, a rubber mechanism rotates a series of discs with forks through which the string passes. The fork presses the string reducing its length and the tuning rises by a halftone. Each string goes through two discs and can therefore be raised by two halftones, one for each position of the pedal.