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

Georges Bizet - Carmen Suite No. 1

Carmen is not only Georges Bizet's mastercpiece, but also one of the most important operas of the 19th century. It takes place in Spain and it tells the story of a fiery young gypsy who falls in love with a young soldier. But as soon as he abandons everything for her, she abandons him, with tragic consequences. The orchestration of the suite does not betray the fascinating atmosphere of the original opera.

Carmen Suite No. 1 was published in 1882.

- Overture (Prelude)

The Prelude of the suite begins with a theme from the cello wich is introduced from the background of the fibrillation of the violins above and the splash of strings below. So the atmosphere of the history is directly presented - its tensions, drama and passions.

- Aragonaise

The next part, Aragonaise, is a sound scene from the sunny world of southern Spain, where the drama is placed. The brass instruments convey the lively rhythm with slump. Only towards the end does the music darken momentarily, as strings, clarinets and bassons hint at the upcoming tragedy, before returning to the wavy Mauritanian rhythm.

- Intermezzo

Intermezzo is an unforgettable melody of great beauty. It begins with a flute solo with harp accompaniment. Flute joins with the clarinet, then with the horns and strings. Everything adds warmth and richness, without disturbing the absolute tranquility of this wonderful part.

- Seguidilla

Then there's Seguidilla, a traditional Spanish dance, where the flute introduces the melody and then flirts briefly with the wood and brass instruments, before the rest of the orchestra joins in Carmen's famous and seductive dance.

Les Dragons d' Alcala 

The Dragons of Alcala begin with the bassons, but the clarinet quickly takes the lead. Parts of the theme are adopted by the wood instruments, but essentially this march is a witty dialogue between the clarinet and the bassons.

- Les Toreadors 

The Toreadors (Matadors) begin with a gypsy dance where brass and cymbals play a major role. The dance ceases as a repetitive chord announces the entrance of the matador. It is represented by a rugged and virtuous melody - suited to the hero of the arena. Soon, however, the music returns to the vortex of gypsy dance, as Carmen charms the matador with her beauty.