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

Liszt - Piano Concerto No.1 in E-flat Major

Liszt was first involved in this concerto in 1832, when he was young. However, his tours as a virtuosian pianist throughout Europe did not allow him to compose comfortably, so he managed to complete the concerto only in 1849. Even then, he kept revising the score. The premiere was given in Weimar in 1855, under the direction of another great composer, Berlioz.

The concerto is romantic in every way. It moves away in form and style from Mozart's and Beethoven's most "classic" concertos with three parts. Its form is circular: the same musical ideas circulate throughout the work.


I. Allegro maestoso

The first part of the concerto, Allegro maestoso, begins with an imposing theme played by strings in unison, followed by two resonant chords in woodwinds and brass. This is a "pattern", i.e. an important idea that reverts to the whole project. The piano stands out soon before leading the music back to the original theme. Here is a noticeable change in mood: the piano quietly develops a new theme, accompanied first by the clarinet soles and then by violins and cellos. The mood changes again with a great orchestral escalation, based on the original theme, followed by a few quick octaves, which Liszt loved so much. The part, which is surprisingly short for the multitude of ideas and moods it contains, ends quietly and cheerfully.

II. Quasi adagio

The second part, Quasi adagio, begins after a short pause. First the cellos and double basses and then the violins, introduce a new, tender theme, which then develops the piano into an extensive and enthusiastic solo part. After a more restless episode, a long piano trill accompanies a series of soft, tender soles of flute, clarinet and oboe, followed again by the clarinet.

III. Allegretto vivace - Allegro animato

The third part, Allegretto vivace - Allegro animato, is famous for the part of the triangle - one of the few cases where the triangle stands out. His polite ringing underscores the light, dance mood of the music. Then the piano invokes the original pattern of the entire concerto and another great escalation leads directly to.. 

IV. Allegrio marziale animato - Presto

... the finale, Allegro marziale animato - Presto, which also appears with a dynamic, military rhythm played by woodwinds and strings, while they process themes from the previous parts. An accelerated tempo leads the part and the concerto to its scintillating outcome.