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

Franz Liszt - Consolations in E Major and D flat Major

Franz List probably took this title from a poem by Lamartine (Une larme, ou Consolation). He composed six such works in 1848, immediately after his installation in Weimar. It was "The Year of the Revolutions" with the political movements that rocked the whole of Europe. Instead, these works are models of romantic tenderness.

In Paris Liszt had read poems by Lamartine with his pupil Caroline de Saint-Cricq, their early liaison interrupted by her parents, but remembered by Liszt over the years. His circle of friends and acquaintances in Paris in the earlier 1830s also included Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve and the year 1830 brought the latter’s publication of his Consolations, a further suggested source for Liszt’s choice of title, both writers reflecting Liszt’s literary interests and associations. Liszt later revised his six Consolations, publishing them in 1850.

Consolations in E Major and D flat Major

Both of these works have almost the same mood - they are quiet, thoughtful and full of romantic magic.The first in E Major, is happier while the second in Db Major is more free and emotional, like Chopin's Nocturnes. It has a similar to the "Liebestraum" accompaniment in the left hand and is also one of Liszt's most popular compositions for solo piano. Its theme is taken from a song by the Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, Liszt’s patron and at times his pupil.

Consolation in E Major (Andante con moto)

Consolation in D flat Major (Quasi adagio)