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

Claude Debussy - La Mer (The sea, three symphonic sketches for orchestra)

"Under the Wave off Kanagawa (kanagawa oki nami ura)", also known as "The Great Wave".

The Sea is Claude Debussy's orchestral masterpiece. When he was a child, he wanted to be a sailor, and the charm of the sea never abandoned him. Debussy was fascinated by the movement and power of the water. He was inspired by artists such as Turner and the Japanese genius Hokusai, who his masterpiece "Under the Wave off Kanagawa (kanagawa oki nami ura)", also known as "The Great Wave" embellished the cover of the first edition of "The Sea". It was regarded as one of the best French symphonic works. Debussy composed much of it on vacation with his then mistress, Emma Bardac, in the summer of 1904. It was first performed in October 1905.
The work consists of three parts - never before has it come so close to the symphonic form - each of which is made up of a distinct sonic image of the sea.


I.From dawn to noon on the sea

The first part begins very quietly, subjecting the fibrillation of the first light to the cold surface of the water. Gradually the music develops as the day dawns and the sea comes alive with light and movement. A strong impression is caused by a section where the cellos play in relative harmony. The part ends with a grandiose phrase of brass reminiscent of choral.

II. Play of the waves

The second part has the movement of mercury while infinitely thin spikes of orchestration and rhythm, submit a world of dazzling light, wind and sparkling water.

III. Dialogue of the wind and the sea

In the final part  the music develops reminiscent of the brutality of the storm. There is a moment of peace and tranquility when the main melody of the part (the only real melody of the whole work) is played gently by the woodwind over a very high, persistent note of violins. Then the storm returns and it ends with large sound outbursts of the entire orchestra.