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

Grieg - Sigurd Jorsalfar, Op. 56

This image of country tranquility captures the atmosphere it introduces to Borghild's Dream. The calm, however, is disturbed as the music suddenly reaps.

Grieg was passionate Norwegian. In addition to popular culture, he admired contemporary artists and playwrights, including the very famous Bjornstejerne Marinius Bjornson, whom he met in 1870. Grieg was inspired by Bjornson several lyrical works on local themes, but his most famous nationalist work is Sigurd Jorsalfar, originally written as stage music for Bjornson's eponymous work.

This composition presents the drama and emotions of the heroic Viking era and expresses the composer's love for his rich and diverse cultural heritage.

The complete play first presented in Christiania (Oslo's old name) on March 18, 1872, on Bjornson's 70th birthday. Grieg transcribed the music into three orchestral suites, published under the title Sigurd Jorsalfar Suites, twenty years later, in 1892.

- Introduction: In the King's Hall

Bjornson's work is inspired by Heimskringla Saga, a medieval Scandinavian legend who tells the story of two twelfth century kings who are mortal enemies: Eystein, a bureaucrat and legislator, does not want to leave Norway, while Sigurd is an explorer and crusader who loves to travel. The two brothers represent both sides of the Norwegian character and could be a description of Grieg himself.

The two brothers' rivalry for Borghild soon turns violent.

- Intermezzo: Borghild's Dream

Grieg told the story with a combination of orchestral and choral parts. The play begins gently and continues with Borghild's Dream as she is half asleep and becomes hectic when she wakes up abruptly, frightened by a nightmare caused by the unpleasant thoughts of the rivalry of the two brothers.

The following match is presented by a dialogue between the piano and the violin, the rants of the competition of the two rivals. As the work becomes more restless, we hear the call of the horns. This heralds the first choral work, the Scandinavians, where the shouting represents the two angry rivals who challenge each other in battle.

- Homage March

The masterful Homage March, with the magnificent introduction played by four cellos, calms terror as the sovereign intervenes and the play ends with the King's Ballad, where a soloist and a crowd of voices celebrate peace.