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

Camille Saint-Saëns - Symphony No. 3 in C minor, Op. 78 (The Organ Symphony)

The symphony was commissioned by the Royal Philharmonic Society in England to commemorate its seventy-third anniversary. It was presented in London on May 19, 1886 at St James's Hall, conducted by the composer. It is the last composition of Camille Saint-Saëns for this instrument and the most popular. The composer dedicated the work to the memory of his friend Franz Liszt, whom he admired immensely.

The Symphony is also popularly known as the Organ Symphony, even though it is not a true symphony for organ, but simply an orchestral symphony where two sections out of four use the pipe organ. The composer inscribed it as: Symphonie No. 3 "avec orgue" (with organ).


I. Adagio - Allegro moderato

The serious beginning of Adagio - Allegro moderato is slow and hesitant - but the mood is brightened as more vivid material offered by the violins and drums, means the actual start of the symphony, where wide melodies of the wind instruments emerge and sink. After the opening section is repeated and enlarged, the music becomes quieter, preparing the serene, contrastingly slow part.

II. Poco adagio

With the launch of the Poco adagio, the organ is heard for the first time, but it initially has an accompanying role. With the exception of double bass, the strings play the expressive original melody, producing a rich, pulsating sound. Later, an elaborate variation of this theme is played by the violins. Finally, the original melody is heard for the last time with the instrument and the accompaniment of the strings' pizzicato.

III. Allegro moderato - Presto

The restless mood of the opening part returns to the inventive Allegro moderato - Presto. In the presto section, turbulent string designs release the wordy plays of wind instruments. This is where the piano first appears - its upward scales contribute to a sense of haste and excitement. In Presto's iteration, a distinctly new theme emerges from brass bass and deep strings - and a sense of competition between two orchestral elements prevails. But the calm gradually returns towards the end.

IV. Maestoso

A magnificent full chord in the organ announces the mighty Maestoso. The theme played on the piano and strings, is repeated on the instrument accompanied by the orchestra. The mood is joyful and triumphant. Towards the end of it, the pace accelerates causing excitement. The short final section with the processed shapes of the scales, leads the section to a glorifying conclusion.