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

Niccolò Paganini - Introduction

A little the weak-mindedness of those who do not want to admit the exceptional, unusual abilities of others, a little his "mephistofelic" appearance, favored the development of the myth that the violinist and composer Niccolò Paganini "Faust" of music wanted. His virtuosity on the violin was truly transcendent, as no one listed collaboration with the devil.

Paganini's insurmountable technique had its morphological characteristics and exhibitionism at the time of public interpretation. Thus, the myth was well preserved. All the music centres in Europe enjoyed this theatrical artist, but he was unreal only on stage. In his daily life he was an ordinary man, a kind man, a man of virtues and weaknesses.

He not only developed the technique bequeathed to him by the virtuosos violonists of the 18th century, but he developed it unexpectedly by inventing tricks that gave him the right to be called a pioneer. The techniques of "staccato", "pizzicato", "harmonics" in the interpretation of stringed instruments with glory benefited from him, as much as from any earlier or later artist.

The awareness of the charm he exerted on his listeners and the need for the show, consumed his time in concerts and recitals. He had little time left to make use of his synthetic gifts.

There weren't many works he signed, and most of them were composed to serve his virtuosity. Thus, his compositions were probably underestimated by the musical analysts. The careful approach of his work, however, reveals a truly brilliant lyricist.

(George Monemvasitis)