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

Anton Bruckner - Introduction

Josef Anton Bruckner

A "poor man of god" was Anton Bruckner, who worshipped just as much as the divine and the human, whether it is found in music, in nature, or in the view of the supreme being. Meek, thoughtful, modest and incomparably sincere, he expressed his introversion and insecurity by leaning more and more into his musical writings and constantly revising his already masterful inspirations. 

If he had been bolder, more determined, perhaps he would have occupied Wagner's place in the history of music - he has been his idol since he met him - since Bruckner composed music of "Wagnerian" quality before... Wagner himself.

An amazing virtuoso in the performance of the organ, he crushed the faithful audiences both in Leeds and Vienna, as well as in Paris - in 1869 he performed at Notre Dame - and in London. If he had recorded his astonishing - according to written testimonies - improvisations on the organ, he would have submitted work for this instrument perhaps comparable to that of Johann Sebastian Bach.

Bruckner preferred, however, to serve the symphonic music wisely and devotionly, developing what Beethoven and Schubert had destroyed with their "wills". Despite their often extensive developments, his Symphonies feature marvelous combinations of intelligence, melodic ingenuity and orchestral magnificence.

(George Monemvasitis)