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

Grieg - Introduction

A pioneer and a master of the national music school of his native Norway, Edvard Grieg, a composer with no forerunners and no continuators, invents charming and original ways to bring about the folk music tradition and the myths of the land that saw him born, with the formed classical European harmony.

His works are full of lyricism and romantic mood. The velvety melodies born of his fertile imagination are often intertwined with the masculine, rough rhythms of the dances of the Norwegian land, causing with contrast the emergence of highly seductive sonic grids.

Although he did not test his powers in the larger, massive forms of symphony and opera, he convinced with his musical testimony that he is a great craftsman, both symphonic and vocal writing. The poetry of his musical discourse is imbued with the drips of his love for Norwegian nature and Norwegian tradition. Throughout his life he has been a loyal and devoted lover of a land - no matter how many times he abandoned it soon turned to it - and a woman whom he never abandoned.

For this woman, the soprano Nina Hagerup, the companion of his life, he also composed his wonderful songs, exuberant in their tenderness, heartbreaking in their erotic dialectic. Unknown to many, these songs by Grieg benefited with memorable performances during 1993, the year of the 150th anniversary of his birth. These songs reveal spontaneity of inspiration and immense sensitivity, characteristics that are found in all the works of the composer.

(George Monemvasitis)