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

Bedřich Smetana - The Bartered Bride


Wedding is generally a happy event and the music of The Bartered Bride, despite its title, is full of cheer.

Composed between 1863 and 1866, based on a libretto by Karel Sabina, this undivided story with the romantic plot takes place in a village of Bohemia. It was the second of Smetana's eight operas and is part of his obsession to create the then non-existent national Czech opera. He composed no fewer than five variations between 1866 and 1870, developing the work from a simple operetta to the three-act work we know today.

- Overture

Bedřich Smetana was accused of imitating Richard Wagner's monumental operas. Critics deemed him incapable of writing more upbeat music. With The Bartered Bride he disproved his critics with his comic opera in three acts. From the first chord of the Overture, the strings run through the scales, accompanied by the lively theme played successively by the various parts of the orchestra, until they take off together in a fast, rhythmic melody.

- Polka

Polka, with her cheerful pace, comes back every now and then dancing. It culminates in the ecstatic dance of the villagers, who eventually fall exhausted but cheerfully to the ground.

- Furiant

Furiant - a rapid and fiery Bohemian dance -  is just as lively, but the music is abandoned in wide acrobatic moves.

- Dance of the Comedians

The Dance of the Comedians begins with the strings. The humor manifests itself in the high-altitude appearance of the piccolo and in the trumpet. Here's a rocking part that evolves into a faster string interpolation. The music is interrupted by drums and, after a brief hesitation, the comedians engage in new pranks.