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

Schumann - Symphony No. 1 in B-flat major, “Spring Symphony”, Op. 38

The Spring Symphony is one of Schumann’s most joyful and carefree works, as is this depiction of a joyous tarantella by Pietro Fabris.


The Spring Symphony was Schumann's first attempt to compose an extensive musical work. It was written in early 1841, just five months after his marriage to Clara Wieck. She encouraged him to expand beyond the safe area of short chamber music works - such as songs and piano works - into compositions better suited to concert halls and capable of securing him some income.
         
After just four days of feverish work, from 23 to 27 January, he had planned the entire symphony. He started the score the next day and wrote all the parts for a full orchestra in a month. He completed the deal on February 20th and named it "Spring" to commemorate the time he had just raised.

A month later, on March 31, 1841, it premiered in Leipzig with Felix Mendelssohn as a conductor.

The symphony is overflowing with a joyous alertness, a happy sense of life that rarely relaxes, from the inaugural fanfare of the bronze winds of the first part, to the carefree finale of the fourth last part.

The whole project runs through a prosperity of energy. Schumann captures the restlessness of new life - the young leaves triumph in the strong March wind and the creatures of nature, rested after hibernation, rush to meet their reborn world.

The work is full of surprises, from unusual instruments, such as the triangle in the first part, which had never been heard in concerts before, from sudden changes of mood, to the most unexpected moments. The light dance music of the first part is suspended for a while by an introverted melody, warning of the dangers of Spring, to immediately meet its dizzying rhythm. When the music calms down preparing for a peaceful and thoughtful finale, it suddenly regains its intensity and returns to the original happy rhythms.

The second and third part are echoed by the style of Schumann's songs and pianistic compositions. Largetto is slow with idyllic endings, while Scherzo, nicknamed "happy companions" given by the composer himself, creates a convincing impression of a rustic dance.

The symphony is not just a presentation of rural life, but rather an expression of the feelings presented by daily life. What remains as an overall impression is triumph and pure happiness.



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