Vergnügungszug (Pleasure Train) is a polka composed by Johann Strauss II in 1864. It was written for the Association of Industrial Societies' Ball held in the Redoutensaal on 19 January 1864 and was inspired by the opening of the Austrian Southern Railway – the Südbahn – which operated many 'pleasure trains' offering trips from Vienna to the countryside.
Strauss was not the first composer to write a piece celebrating technological innovation. Much earlier Hans Christian Lumbye, the popular Danish composer, had written his Kjøbenhjavns Jernbane-Damp-Galop (Copenhagen Railway Steam Galop), while Johann Strauss I celebrated the opening of the first Austrian steam railway on 14 November 1837 between the Viennese suburbs of Floridsdorf and Deutsch Wagram with his appropriately titled waltz Eisenbahn-Lust Walzer (Railway Joy Waltz) op. 89. Eduard Strauss, too, wrote his famous quick polka Bahn Frei (Track Clear) op. 45, another piece celebrating the opening of a new railway line.
Johann Strauss II's vividly descriptive polka, however, is remarkable for its use of triangles in imitation of train bells and of horns to suggest the chuffing of the train. In the trio section the melody constantly hints of the train's progression. The polka, like the train's journey, has to end, however, and Strauss powers home the conclusion with high chords before a resounding flourish underlined by a powerful roll on snaredrum.
|Nº MM9612 ISRC BE-O89-13-08612
|• Wind Band • Fanfare