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

Rimsky-Korsakov - The Flight of the Bumblebee

This short music piece of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov was originally written as an add-on for the opera "The Tale of Tsar Saltan". The opera was first presented in Moscow in 1900 with a libretto based on a story by the great Russian poet Pushkin. The "Flight of the Bumblebee" accompanies a scene where the main character - a prince - transforms into a bumblebee.

The unusual nature and pure descriptive qualities of this piece, inspired other musicians to make their own adaptations, usually for solo instruments. The popularity of this piece is in contrast to the rest of the almost forgotten opera music.

A quick descending scale on the piano begins this perfect miniature portrait (in the adaptation for the piano). The opening measures o f the play serve not only as an introduction, but also set the stage - we hear the piano's attempts to mimic the buzz.

From this point, the piano paints a vivid picture of the insect that its flying reminds, as much as no other, of the days of summer.

In the orchestral version, as the play evolves, the melody emerges and sinks and returns to itself, growing in intensity as it moves to the upper limits of the string spectrum. Eventually, the melody climbs to scale, before plunging into a gentle closing pizzicato chord.