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


Polka is a dance of Czech origin and has a lively 2/4 rhythm. It appeared in the early 18th century in rural areas and then spread over the course of the century in Europe and America, about at the same time as the waltz.

Very lively, the polka is characterized by a typical half step that closes every meter, giving the movement of the couple who dances it a graceful svelte.

Very famous polkas of J.Strauss II are Tritsch-Tratsch and Pizzicato.

An also well known polka is from Smetana's comic opera The Bartered Bride.

Jaromir Weinberger's Polka from Schwanda, the Bagpiper is also a very well known polka.

Polka's popularity declined in the early 1900s with the emergence of American dances at the rate of contrattempo. Polka howerer, retains a prominent place in the world repertoire.