Maurice Ravel -The Swiss Watchmaker

Maurice Ravel was born on March 7, 1875, in the small fishing village of Ciboure in the Basque region, near the Franco-Spanish border.  His father, Pierre-Joseph, was a Frenchman of Swiss descent. Pierre-Joseph, a distinguished engineer, met and fell in love with his future wife, a young and beautiful Basque, Marie Delouart, at the time she worked on the Spanish railways.  A few months after Maurice's birth, the family moved from Ciboure to Paris. The parents of Maurice Ravel, Pierre-Joseph Ravel and Marie Delouart. Maurice had a happy childhood. The parents encouraged their two children - Edouard was born in 1878 - to follow their vocation. Maurice's inclination was music. He started music lessons at the age of seven.  Unlike the parents of other composers, Pierre-Joseph viewed positively the prospect of a musical career and sent Maurice to the France's most important musical college, the Conservatoire de Paris in 1889. In the same year, the Paris Exhibition brought toget

Bedřich Smetana - Introduction

One only has to watch carefully the route of the Vltava River (Moldau), as it is described thoughtfully and spontaneously with the sounds of the homonymous symphonic poem by Bedřich Smetana, in order to understand the musical philosophy of the Bohemian composer, which was also a philosophy of life.

Smetana proposes with his work a seductive model of programmatic music, a fair model of nationalist opinion and a bright model of coupling words and traditional music at the same time.

Smetana's symphonic poem Vltava is certainly the most intimate example of the composer's musical writing, but it has condensed and concentrated all the structural characteristics that are detected in his works.

The rhythmic energy that emerges from every breath of his works is assisted by music gentle, emotional, witty. Rhythm and melody, having deep roots in the tradition of bohemian land, creatively stimulate the imagination and provoke the immediate emotion of the listener.

At a time when every inch of European land is looking for its national identity, the humble servant of music Bedřich Smetana is transformed into a sound-benefactor of his homeland, and establishes one of the most important national school.

Methodical, modest but also inventive at the same time, he will rid his country's music of the shackles of of Austro-German domination and cry out the right to free national musical meditation.

(George Monemvasitis)