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 - Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major, Opus 73, “Emperor”

- Allegro
- Adagio un poco mosso
- Rondo: Allegro

The "Emperor Concerto", written in 1809, is Beethoven’s last work of this genre - and arguably the most popular. It is dedicated to Archduke Rudolf of Austria, Beethoven’s pupil and patron.

The first presentation of the work took place in Leipzig on 28 November 1811. In the first Viennese performance of the concerto, the composer, pianist and former student of Beethoven, Carl Caernarfon, was the soloist. The epithet “Emperor” was given to the work by Johann Baptist Cramer, the English publisher of the concerto and reflects the magnificence of music.

Allegro

The first part, Allegro, includes a musical dialogue between the orchestra and the piano. The orchestra plays loud resonant chords, while the piano processes grandiose responses. The orchestra continues the long introduction alone, introducing the two main themes. The first melody played by the violins is strong and unequivocal. The second theme consisting of a short series of unconnected notes, is also introduced by the violins. The horns follow with a gentle variation of this melody. Then the soloist shows up and brings the themes together. All material comes back with great results:


Adagio un poco mosso

The second part, Adagio un poco mosso, is built around a hymnal melody, originally announced by violins. Beethoven soothes the sound of violins with "surdina." The piano soothes the theme in a free, polite and moving way. Later the soloist repeats the melody accompanied by a chord of string pizzicato. Towards the end of the part, the orchestra regains control of the melody, while the piano decorates and enriches it.


Rondo: Allegro

In the third part, Rondo: Allegro, the piano that plays only with a chord of horns, introduces the energetic finale. Later, maintaining the part's lightly playful mood, Beethoven introduces a few metres of a popular folk song. The piano is firmly in the spotlight throughout the part, delivered in a multitude of craftsmanships that lead the work to a dynamic conclusion.



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