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

Schumann - Symphony No. 1 in B-flat major, “Spring Symphony”, Op. 38

The Spring Symphony is one of Schumann’s most joyful and carefree works, as is this depiction of a joyous tarantella by Pietro Fabris.

The Spring Symphony was Schumann's first attempt to compose an extensive musical work. It was written in early 1841, just five months after his marriage to Clara Wieck. She encouraged him to expand beyond the safe area of short chamber music works - such as songs and piano works - into compositions better suited to concert halls and capable of securing him some income.
After just four days of feverish work, from 23 to 27 January, he had planned the entire symphony. He started the score the next day and wrote all the parts for a full orchestra in a month. He completed the deal on February 20th and named it "Spring" to commemorate the time he had just raised.

A month later, on March 31, 1841, it premiered in Leipzig with Felix Mendelssohn as a conductor.

The symphony is overflowing with a joyous alertness, a happy sense of life that rarely relaxes, from the inaugural fanfare of the bronze winds of the first part, to the carefree finale of the fourth last part.

The whole project runs through a prosperity of energy. Schumann captures the restlessness of new life - the young leaves triumph in the strong March wind and the creatures of nature, rested after hibernation, rush to meet their reborn world.

The work is full of surprises, from unusual instruments, such as the triangle in the first part, which had never been heard in concerts before, from sudden changes of mood, to the most unexpected moments. The light dance music of the first part is suspended for a while by an introverted melody, warning of the dangers of Spring, to immediately meet its dizzying rhythm. When the music calms down preparing for a peaceful and thoughtful finale, it suddenly regains its intensity and returns to the original happy rhythms.

The second and third part are echoed by the style of Schumann's songs and pianistic compositions. Largetto is slow with idyllic endings, while Scherzo, nicknamed "happy companions" given by the composer himself, creates a convincing impression of a rustic dance.

The symphony is not just a presentation of rural life, but rather an expression of the feelings presented by daily life. What remains as an overall impression is triumph and pure happiness.