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

Gioachino Rossini - Semiramide


Gioachino Rossini

This is Gioachino Rossini's most serious operatic work since William Tell. It is an opera in two acts and it was first presented at Venice's La Fenice Theatre on February 3, 1823. The libretto by Gaetano Rossi is based on Voltaire's tragedy Semiramis, which in turn was based on the legend of Semiramis of Assyria.

The originality of the Overture is that it incorporates music from the opera, which strengthens the bond between the instrumental composition of the beginning and the drama that follows. 

The Overture starts with drum rolls and the music moves from pianissimo (very quiet) to fortissimo (very loud) in less than half a minute. A brief pause leads to a quiet, flowing melody presented by horns and bassoons. The previous fortissimo returns and then repeats the melody of the horn for a second time, but now in the woodwinds accompanied by decorative pizzicatti in harmonic chords of strings.

A sudden dramatic chord interrupts and begins the main part of the introduction. After another pizzicato, the inaugural music returns, followed by a light, ethereal melody of violins, which is developed by the entire orchestra. A string pizzicatti brings a second melody, played by clarinets and bassoons. A small climax leads to a short, later segment and a repetition of the two previous themes, before moving to a final vigorous escalation.