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

Joseph Haydn - Symphony in G minor "Surprise Symphony"The chase to Jean-Honoré Fragonard

"The Chase" by Jean-Honoré Fragonard has a similar element of surprise to that of the Haydn "Surprise Symphony".

Joseph Haydn
made two very successful visits to London, organized by the German-born violinist and impressionist Johann Peter Salomon. 

The composer wrote six symphonies on each visit, which are his last and best. This symphonie belongs to the group of six he wrote on his first visit in 1791-2. 

These twelve symphonies are also known as the "Salomon Symphonies".


I. Adagio cantabile - Vivace assai

The first movement, with the inaugural Adagio cantabile, has a slow introduction with alternating parts between the woodwinds and the strings. It follows a Vivace assai, which travels lightly with the original melody played by the violins, until the fast entrance of the entire orchestra. The second theme contains a syncopated rythm in bassoons, violas and second violins. The original theme is reissued, and then the central part introduces a new key and builds a dramatic escalation. The music goes back to the original themes, but this time with some subtle changes of melody and tone.

II. Andante

The second movement, Andante, begins with a simple melody reminiscent of a children's song. The music goes up and down with steps of double notes - played gently, then repeated even softer and a sudden, loud chord surprises us. This is the famous "surprise" that gave the symphonie its name. The rest of the part is a series of variations of melody, showing Haydn's virtuosity in rhythmic and organic combinations.The second variant, for example, begins with force in a minor way, with the identification of the string and the woodwind, while another variation puts the oboe to play in time of two notes accompanied by the string. In the final part, the coda, the first part of the melody appears in oboes and bassoons with an interesting harmonic substrate of the strings.

III. Menuetto: Allegro molto

The third movement, Menuetto: Allegro molto, has a central "trio" part with a wonderful melody for violins and bassoons.

IV. Allegro di molto

The finale, Allegro di molto, is full of vibrancy and pulse. But when the original material reappears, it suddenly takes off in a new, stormy episode to then return to the bright mood of the part. Just before the end, as the final escalation seems to have reached its peak, a redeeming roll appears on the drums with increasing intensity, as if the "surprise" of the sudden chord of the second part.