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

Johannes Brahms - Introduction

Portrait of the composer Johannes Brahms in a mature age with a long beard.

At a time when every artist's concern was the proposal of the new, Johannes Brahms dared to turn his gaze to the old. He was more interested in the past than in the future. 

Romantic lyricism didn't miss from the music he signed. But each of his musical phrases was subject to the rules of classicism, in a way that symbolized the rewriting of romance and indicated the support of pure form.

Both in the aesthetics and in the form of his works, Brahms proclaims his opposition to the pompous lyrical dramas of his compatriot and contemporary Richard Wagner. His refusal to deal with opera, a musical genre extremely well-benefited and popular in the 19th century, can also be seen as a manifestation of his opposition. He possessed well, however, both the technique of symphonic writing and the methods of using the voice.

Johannes Brahms served with merit every form of music, except of course opera. His music stands out for its total tranquility, for its earthly and human fervor, for the understandable logic of its harmonious processing, for the clarity of its melodic line. It is dominated by a thoughtful mood balanced between subtle melancholy, restless sensitivity and endless contemplation.

With its poetic character, which reconciles power and serenity, Brahms's musical discourse takes the form of subtle chamber music.

(George Monemvasitis)