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

Saint-Saëns - Fantaisie No. 1 for Organ in E-flat Major

As a student, Saint-Saëns won several awards for his performance on the church organ, so it is not surprising that at the same time he composed music for the instrument. The Fantasy in E-flat Major was composed in 1857, at the time when the composer was an organist at the Saint Mary's Church in Paris. Although an early work, it is an excellent example of the brilliant style of Saint-Saëns.

A low restrained chord introduces the sweet sound of the opening melody. The lively, but almost airy rhythm, shows that this piece is intended to pleasure, since all solemnity or grandeur is missing from here. The melody is repeated higher and a second theme is presented. 

The second part is in stark contrast to the first - a resonant initial chord introduces an evolving march. The music here rather gets serious and becomes academic - the melody sounds first by itself, then repetitive and pretentious. The composition ends with an extended version of the original theme.


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