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

Vivaldi - "Spring" (La primavera) from the "Four Seasons", Concerto No. 1 in E major, Op. 8, RV 269

Nicolas Poussin’s painting depicts a green scenery with a couple sitting on the grass
Nicolas Poussin’s painting depicts spring, perfectly rendering the atmosphere of the season just like
Vivaldi’s Four-Seasons music.

I. Allegro

"Springtime is upon us.
The birds celebrate her return with festive song,
and murmuring streams are softly caressed by the breezes.
Thunderstorms, those heralds of Spring, roar, casting their dark mantle over heaven.
Then they die away to silence,
and the birds take up their charming songs once more."

“Spring has arrived and the birds welcome it by singing”, Vivaldi writes. The inaugural Allegro features a cool and cheerful melody. Soloists and violins mimic the singing of birds with trills. Some phrases bring to mind a stream and a gentle breeze, while a vigorous tremor, fast scales and a small rushing solo indicate a storm.

II. Largo e pianissimo sempre

"On the flower strewn meadow, with leafy branches rustling overhead,
the goat-heard sleeps, his faithful dog beside him."

The second part, Largo, which is a long, tender melody for solo accompanied by strings, paints the peaceful scene of a shepherd with his dog, half asleep under a few trees.

III. Allegro

"Led by the festive sound of rustic bagpipes, nymphs and shepherds
lightly dance beneath the brilliant canopy of spring."

In contrast, the final Allegro, is a calm “Country dance” in which the soloist plays with the orchestra, while at the same time is leading it.