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. 2

This suite, Georges Bizet includes some orchestral adaptations from the opera, tells the story of Carmen, as she is torn between her love for Don Jose and the arrogant matador hero. The suite contains two particularly "Spanish" compositions" the seductive, exotic Habanera and the moorish music of Gypsy dance.

Carmen Suite No. 2 was published in 1887.

- March of the Smugglers

The "March of the Smugglers" is eerie, as flutes accompanied by the pizzicato of the strings simply introduce the theme. Soon, the bassoons are heard playing distant, preserving the eerie atmosphere. The music sometimes gets dark and sometimes it lights up, but soom the persistent march returns.


- Habanera

Habanera, the most famous melody in the suite, is based on a Cuban dance song. In Bizet's hands, however, the song transforms into a wavy and extremely appealing melody, which masterfully sums up Carmen's character.


Change of mood

- Nocturne

On the contrary, Nocturne is in a completely different mood, calm and romantic. From the start with the horns, the follow-up to the expressive interpretation of the deep strings, to the aftermath of the horn at the end.




- Chanson du Toreador

The Chanson du Toreador opens with an aggressive mood, the matador is represented by the horn. Finally, the theme that was previously heard in Toreador, comes back and the part ends with the entire orchestra in a thrilling climax.



- Changing of the Guard

The Changing of the Guard is announced by the call of the horns. Then two flutes play a lively little march. They are met with sporadic cries of the cornet and are accompanied here and there by the pizzicato of the strings, until the brass instruments and the triangle are heard. As the march rises, a wonderful conversation is heard between the two flutes and the orchestra, before the march is quietly extinguished away.



- Gypsy dance

At the Gypsy Dance, Bizet uses styles of Spanish gypsy music to make this exotic and vigorous dance. Here, flute and piccolo are highlighted and compete against the background of the string and harp, which gives the illusion of guitar chords. After that, the brass instruments perform the melody and the dance takes a wild, fast and frenzied form before it suddenly stops.




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