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

Ravel - Events in brief

Maurice Ravel conducting the orchester, probably at London's Queen's hall on April 14th, 1923.

1875  Maurice Ravel was born on March 7 in Cibourne, near the French-Spanish border.
1889  Became a student at the Conservatory of Paris.
1895  He writes the first major works, Habanera and Menuet antique (first published work).
1905  Fails for the fourth time to win the Grand Prize of Rome.
1909  Completes his first opera, "The Spanish Hour".
1912  Completes his first ballet, "Daphnis et Chloe".
1915  Enlisted as a guide in the French army.
1917  His mother dies.
1925  Completes the opera "The Child and the Spells".
1928  First tour of the United States, composes "Bolero".
1932  Car accident interrupts his synthetic activity.
1937  Dies on December 28 in Paris after brain surgery.

  • Because of Ravel's almost ideological attachment to the detail of the composition, Russian composer Igor Stravinsky called him "the most perfect of Swiss Watchmakers"
  • Ravel was at the center of a pioneering group of musicians and writers called Les Apaches. The name is due to a newspaperman who met the group on a Paris street and was surprised by their eccentric appearance.