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

Camille Saint-Saëns - The Carnival of the Animals (Le Carnaval des animaux) - Part 1

Camille Saint-Saëns wrote this satirical and entertaining suite in 1886 for himself and his friends exclusively. It was played only once in a close private circle, and Saint-Saëns did not allow it to be performed in public while he was alive. Either he believed that the work was not of particular value or perhaps he considered it unworthy of a composer at the top of his career. 

Whatever the reason, the score remained untouched for 30 years and was only published in 1922.

I. Introduction and Royal March of the Lion

The fibrillation of piano chords and the emerging string phrases of this "magnificent zoological imagination" define the Introduction and Royal March of the Lion. As the music grows, the excitement intensifies until everything stops abruptly with a final bow of the orchestra. The pianos play a rhythmic fanfare and a slow string melody finally announces the arrival of the Lion. Even his terrible roar is heard - low on the piano and later on strings.


II. Hens and Roosters

The hens cheerfully sing, noisy and carving in Hens and Roosters in high tone and complement the rooster's resonant laity on the piano and high on the clarinet.


III. Hémiones (Wild Donkeys Swift Animals)

The fast, impetuous scales of the piano in Hémiones mimic the brutal toil of the amateur pianist.


IV. Tortoises

In Tortoises, the double bass plays a slow version of Offenbach's Can Can.



V. The Elephant

Bass also appears on The Elephant, while the poor creature struggles to dance in the swirls of a waltz.



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