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

Claude Debussy and the Piano

Claude Debussy playing the piano at Ernest Chausson 's home.

Claude Debussy was one of the greatest composers of piano music. The "Pianoforte" (soft-loud) as is its original Italian name, evolved from the harpsichord during the 18th century. Only in the next century, however, did it grow in size, wealth and tonal power. Beethoven, Schumann, Chopin, Liszt and Brahms wrote their best compositions for it.

At the time of Debussy, that is, at the beginning of the 20th century, the piano had reached the peak of its development. Debussy took full advantage of this fact, writing music that made full use of the spectrum of the keyboard and the dynamics of the piano (the degree of softness and intensity). 

He also used the pedals in a special way, giving duration to certain notes or chords at the same time as others are played, thus mixing their sounds. In this way he utilized the piano as the composers before him had not even imagined.

Some of his pianistic compositions, with impressionistic titles such as "Goldfish", "Estampes", "Fireworks", were among the most revolutionary compositions of his time. For many listeners of that time, it was one of the strangest works they had ever heard.