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

Mozart - Horn concerto No. 2 in E-flat Major, K417

At the time when Mozart was working as an independent musician in Vienna in the early 1780s, he composed his first horn concerto. It gave this instrument an advantageous position, placing it at the heart of a complete orchestra and thereby paved the way for the projection of the horn in other concertos of various composers.

The horn has a fairly limited range, but Mozart explores its possibilities, contrasting them against the background of a full orchestra. It is well known that he had a unique way of making one melody gush through the other, with an inexhaustible imagination.

Each melody is skillfully harmonized with the character of its instrument. This is particularly evident in the two contrasting melodies in the opening part of this concerto. The melody that expresses the specific character of the horn, is placed opposite that of the strings. The opening theme of the strings is unequivocal, direct and robust. When the horn introduces its own melody, it is distinctly cuter and more thoughtful, as it entices the rest of the orchestra to follow it into darker spheres.


I. Allegro maestoso

Strings begin Allegro maestoso with a wide melody leading to a second theme. The woodwinds can be heard clearly. The horn appears with a new melody which is decorated by the strings in the background. Here's another horn melody - this time the violins and the horn play it together. The result is the production of a rather unusual tone. The reassuring entrance of the entire orchestra leads to three long notes of the horn, which bring the music back to the opening themes.

II. Andante

A slow orchestral introduction starts Andante leading to the inaugural solo. Here the horn is in its most lyrical mood. The music is expressive, without ever exceeding the gentle tone, while the simple alternation of the two themes gives beauty to the piece.

III. Rondo

Rondo highlights a returning theme that is inters with other themes and interludies. The rhythm is bright and rocking. The orchestra repeats the melody of the opening horn, followed immediately by a second melody. The idea expands, the music stops and the first theme is played again. Repeated notes of the horn lead the orchestra to a darker place, but not for long. The music returns to the opening tune, while another interlude leads to a rather strange variation of the same melody. The melody hesitates and stops twice, but eventually the music accelerates and the inaugural melody is heard one last time.