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

Liszt - Piano Concerto No.1 in E-flat Major

Liszt was first involved in this concerto in 1832, when he was young. However, his tours as a virtuosian pianist throughout Europe did not allow him to compose comfortably, so he managed to complete the concerto only in 1849. Even then, he kept revising the score. The premiere was given in Weimar in 1855, under the direction of another great composer, Berlioz.

The concerto is romantic in every way. It moves away in form and style from Mozart's and Beethoven's most "classic" concertos with three parts. Its form is circular: the same musical ideas circulate throughout the work.


I. Allegro maestoso

The first part of the concerto, Allegro maestoso, begins with an imposing theme played by strings in unison, followed by two resonant chords in woodwinds and brass. This is a "pattern", i.e. an important idea that reverts to the whole project. The piano stands out soon before leading the music back to the original theme. Here is a noticeable change in mood: the piano quietly develops a new theme, accompanied first by the clarinet soles and then by violins and cellos. The mood changes again with a great orchestral escalation, based on the original theme, followed by a few quick octaves, which Liszt loved so much. The part, which is surprisingly short for the multitude of ideas and moods it contains, ends quietly and cheerfully.

II. Quasi adagio

The second part, Quasi adagio, begins after a short pause. First the cellos and double basses and then the violins, introduce a new, tender theme, which then develops the piano into an extensive and enthusiastic solo part. After a more restless episode, a long piano trill accompanies a series of soft, tender soles of flute, clarinet and oboe, followed again by the clarinet.

III. Allegretto vivace - Allegro animato

The third part, Allegretto vivace - Allegro animato, is famous for the part of the triangle - one of the few cases where the triangle stands out. His polite ringing underscores the light, dance mood of the music. Then the piano invokes the original pattern of the entire concerto and another great escalation leads directly to.. 

IV. Allegrio marziale animato - Presto

... the finale, Allegro marziale animato - Presto, which also appears with a dynamic, military rhythm played by woodwinds and strings, while they process themes from the previous parts. An accelerated tempo leads the part and the concerto to its scintillating outcome.