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

Vivaldi - “Summer” (from Four Seasons), Violin concerto in G minor, Op.8, No. 2

Poussin's painting of workers harvesting drips
Vivaldi's "Summer" is a time of drowning, tyrannical heat, with storm breaks.

I. Allegro non molto

"Under a hard season, fired up by the sun
Languishes man, languishes the flock and burns the pine
We hear the cuckoo’s voice;
then sweet songs of the turtle dove and finch are heard.
Soft breezes stir the air but threatening
the North Wind sweeps them suddenly aside.
The shepherd trembles,
fearing violent storms and his fate."

The first part, Allegro non moltosubmits a lazy mood under the scorching sun, with small phrases in the most thoughtful rolled key. This is followed by a more passionate intercalary, with birdsong stresses and more restless spots as the air rises.

II. Adagio 

"The fear of lightning and fierce thunder
Robs his tired limbs of rest
As gnats and flies buzz furiously around."

In central Adagio, the sleep of a young shepherd is upsetsed by lightning but also by swarms of wasp and flies!

III. Presto

"Alas, his fears were justified
The Heavens thunder and roar and with hail
Cut the head off the sheet and damages the grain."

The storm breaks out in the final Presto, torrential rain and hail lash the fields and bend the corn.