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

Johannes Brahms - Introduction

Portrait of the composer Johannes Brahms in a mature age with a long beard.

At a time when every artist's concern was the proposal of the new, Johannes Brahms dared to turn his gaze to the old. He was more interested in the past than in the future. 

Romantic lyricism didn't miss from the music he signed. But each of his musical phrases was subject to the rules of classicism, in a way that symbolized the rewriting of romance and indicated the support of pure form.

Both in the aesthetics and in the form of his works, Brahms proclaims his opposition to the pompous lyrical dramas of his compatriot and contemporary Richard Wagner. His refusal to deal with opera, a musical genre extremely well-benefited and popular in the 19th century, can also be seen as a manifestation of his opposition. He possessed well, however, both the technique of symphonic writing and the methods of using the voice.

Johannes Brahms served with merit every form of music, except of course opera. His music stands out for its total tranquility, for its earthly and human fervor, for the understandable logic of its harmonious processing, for the clarity of its melodic line. It is dominated by a thoughtful mood balanced between subtle melancholy, restless sensitivity and endless contemplation.

With its poetic character, which reconciles power and serenity, Brahms's musical discourse takes the form of subtle chamber music.

(George Monemvasitis)