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

Gershwin - Introduction

George Gershwin's musical journey has been unique in every aspect: Tin Pan Alley - Broadway - Hollywood - concert halls - lyrical theatres. Everywhere with a great success. No composer has enjoyed such recognition, in so many different fields and in such a short period of time.

As a songwriter, Gershwin appeared in the history of American music at the right time. As a composer he was able to ensure direct acceptance into the folk music of his land, giving it an artistic form.

Gershwin had in his mind the rules and technique of Western European music, but at his heart, the harmonys and rhythms of the American South. His imagination was nourished by the idioms of an original folk music. He was one of the first to understand the universality of its character. He borrowed from, bold harmonics and a transparent melancholy, which only counterpart in Schubert's songs detected.

His music is full of wondrous mixed melodies and rhythms. Unexpected chords succeed each other with incredible tossing precision. And his most profound musical reflections are pulsating with the incomparable power of truth and unpretentious inspiration. It is no coincidence that with his opera Porgy and Bess he offered humanity the most artful of the folk and the most folk of the artful works of a great art.

(George Monemvasitis)