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

Beethoven - Fidelio Overture, Op. 72b

Beethoven's only opera "Fidelio" - the myth of a political prisoner, Florestan, saved by his wife Leonore - had a complicated history.

The premiere of the opera was given in Vienna in 1805 (the same time as the Heroic Symphony), entitled Leonore.

Beethoven then revised the play and presented the opera again the following year, but soon withdrew this new form.

For these first versions, as well as for another project that never materialized, he composed the overtures Leonore no. 1, 2 and 3. In 1814, Beethoven revised the opera again, changing its structure from three to two acts and including this new introduction.

The opera was presented in its final form under the title Fidelio and was particularly successful.

Compared to the earlier versions of Leonora No. 3, a work of symphonic dimensions and high drama, Fidelio's Overture is a more accurate and more "professional" work.

It begins with the full orchestra interpreting one of these powerful lyre little motifs that Beethoven often uses as a musical "building material" for the whole part. This impressive exhivition of the theme is highlighted with a slow Adagio introduction, where sluggish horns and wood instruments stand out.

The music becomes more rushed and proceeds effortlessly to the central Allegro part of the introduction, based on the same opening motif of three notes, which perfomrs the solo horn firts and then the clarinet. A second musical theme consists of a more vivid call to the horn and then to the wood instruments, followed by slightly leaping phrases in the strings. Some robust iterations of another laconic phrase lead the melody to the short central development section and then to the recap.

A brief return of the melody follows the slow introduction, which bestows its place in an accelerated coda (Presto), where the pattern of three notes is interpreted with intensity to the last almost measure.