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

Beethoven - Fidelio Overture, Op. 72b

Beethoven's only opera "Fidelio" - the myth of a political prisoner, Florestan, saved by his wife Leonore - had a complicated history.

The premiere of the opera was given in Vienna in 1805 (the same time as the Heroic Symphony), entitled Leonore.

Beethoven then revised the play and presented the opera again the following year, but soon withdrew this new form.

For these first versions, as well as for another project that never materialized, he composed the overtures Leonore no. 1, 2 and 3. In 1814, Beethoven revised the opera again, changing its structure from three to two acts and including this new introduction.

The opera was presented in its final form under the title Fidelio and was particularly successful.

Compared to the earlier versions of Leonora No. 3, a work of symphonic dimensions and high drama, Fidelio's Overture is a more accurate and more "professional" work.

It begins with the full orchestra interpreting one of these powerful lyre little motifs that Beethoven often uses as a musical "building material" for the whole part. This impressive exhivition of the theme is highlighted with a slow Adagio introduction, where sluggish horns and wood instruments stand out.

The music becomes more rushed and proceeds effortlessly to the central Allegro part of the introduction, based on the same opening motif of three notes, which perfomrs the solo horn firts and then the clarinet. A second musical theme consists of a more vivid call to the horn and then to the wood instruments, followed by slightly leaping phrases in the strings. Some robust iterations of another laconic phrase lead the melody to the short central development section and then to the recap.

A brief return of the melody follows the slow introduction, which bestows its place in an accelerated coda (Presto), where the pattern of three notes is interpreted with intensity to the last almost measure.