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

Johann Strauss II - Kaiser-Walzer (Emperor Waltz), Op. 437

Strauss often played in the glittering Imperial balls, conducting the orchestra and playing the first violin at the same time.
The majestic launch of this fascinating waltz presents the backdrop of the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the hegemony of the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph in 1888. Johann Strauss II was Music Director of the Dance Hesperides of the Imperial Court from 1863 to 1872 and composed on occasion for the celebration of an imperial anniversary.

The ingenuity of the melody of the Emperor Waltz, which was originally orchestrated for a full orchestra, is such that it was easily adapted for the four or five instruments of a chamber ensemble by the Austrian composer Arnold Schoenberg in 1925.

This waltz is a tender and somewhat melancholic work, which at times turns its gaze nostalgically to the old Vienna. The waltz praises the majesty and dignity of the old monarch, who was fully devoted to his people.

It begins with a majestic, magnificent march, which soon regains strength to reach a forte of the entire orchestra. This is suddenly interrupted and allows the resonant trombones to slow down the music in a pianissimo before a lyrical part of the violin begins.

Then, after insinuating the theme, the orchestra moves gently and expressively to the waltz itself. Melancholic and polite at first, it turns into enthusiastic and joyful as new melodies and themes are introduced.

The waltz presents, among other things, an imposing imperial procession, a Viennese folk dance and moments of tranquility. In the coda returns the basic melody of the waltz and the themes are altered and repeated.

Finally, a serene hymnistic tribute to the Emperor in the deep-horned foreshadows an unforgettable repetition of the woodwind waltz before a final fort of the trumpet.