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

Georges Bizet - Carmen Suite No. 2

This suite, Georges Bizet includes some orchestral adaptations from the opera, tells the story of Carmen, as she is torn between her love for Don Jose and the arrogant matador hero. The suite contains two particularly "Spanish" compositions" the seductive, exotic Habanera and the moorish music of Gypsy dance.

Carmen Suite No. 2 was published in 1887.

- March of the Smugglers

The "March of the Smugglers" is eerie, as flutes accompanied by the pizzicato of the strings simply introduce the theme. Soon, the bassoons are heard playing distant, preserving the eerie atmosphere. The music sometimes gets dark and sometimes it lights up, but soom the persistent march returns.

- Habanera

Habanera, the most famous melody in the suite, is based on a Cuban dance song. In Bizet's hands, however, the song transforms into a wavy and extremely appealing melody, which masterfully sums up Carmen's character.

Change of mood

- Nocturne

On the contrary, Nocturne is in a completely different mood, calm and romantic. From the start with the horns, the follow-up to the expressive interpretation of the deep strings, to the aftermath of the horn at the end.

- Chanson du Toreador

The Chanson du Toreador opens with an aggressive mood, the matador is represented by the horn. Finally, the theme that was previously heard in Toreador, comes back and the part ends with the entire orchestra in a thrilling climax.

- Changing of the Guard

The Changing of the Guard is announced by the call of the horns. Then two flutes play a lively little march. They are met with sporadic cries of the cornet and are accompanied here and there by the pizzicato of the strings, until the brass instruments and the triangle are heard. As the march rises, a wonderful conversation is heard between the two flutes and the orchestra, before the march is quietly extinguished away.

- Gypsy dance

At the Gypsy Dance, Bizet uses styles of Spanish gypsy music to make this exotic and vigorous dance. Here, flute and piccolo are highlighted and compete against the background of the string and harp, which gives the illusion of guitar chords. After that, the brass instruments perform the melody and the dance takes a wild, fast and frenzied form before it suddenly stops.