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

Richard Wagner - Introduction

Rebel, pioneer, demagogue, revisionist, heretic. Anyone who, honorably or disparagingly, is offended by the German composer Richard Wagner cannot deny his genius. He proposed a different expression of opera, an expression that dominated the second half of the 19th century creating supporters and opponents, who apparently still have not solved their differences.

He called for the mix of music and drama to be in one, considering the ancient Greek reality, envisioned the whole of the musical drama going beyond the theoretical data, since it offered shaped the values for its realization. The art of opera transformed by Wagner yielded new fruits sufficiently differentiated from those folk music of bel canto. The dynamics of Wagner's opera evoke reflection rather than emotion, without, of course, aiming to detox from it.

The music of Richard Wagner, the main but not his only component of his lyrical dramas, rich in expressive power, with a strong descriptive capacity, has been completely consistent with the ideology of its creator. Its magnificence and volume are in the same way as the theme of the myths he himself elaborated. He didn't allow anyone to share the glory of his works. But he also took full responsibility for his work, even when he could not be sure of the happy ending of his musical experiments. The experiments succeeded and the music took a step forward.

(George Monemvasitis)