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

Mendelssohn - Violin concerto in E minor, Op. 64

An image of Leipzig, the city that Mendelssohn promoted to the cultural capital of Europe and where his Violin Concerto in E minor was first presented.


Mendelssohn
spent the summer of 1844 touring for a series of concerts for the eighth time in England. His holiday followed at the end of July in the small town of Bad Soden, near Frankfurt. During his stay there, he composed this Violin Concerto in E minor, Opus 64.

It premiered in Leipzig seven months later, on March 13, 1845. The concerto was performed by his friend, the eminent violinist Ferdinand David, who had assisted Mendelssohn in various technical details relating to the violin part. Mendelssohn was too ill to direct the concerto and ceded the director's job to Nils Wilhelm Gade's assistant.


Movements:

I. Allegro molto appassionato

The first movement begins with a lively but simple melody where the violin hovers over the orchestra singing cheerfully -  unusual for a minor tone. The theme develops and passes to the orchestra, while the violin plays strong sequences of chords (two strings at the same time) and arpeggio that go up and down the scale. A melody prepares the way for the introduction of the second theme. The solo violin lowers to a restrained G and the woodwinds introduce a quieter theme. This theme develops, repeats and alternates related to the first melody before a dazzling cadenza follows. Unaccompanied solo violin makes a spectacular show followed by the lively return of the two previous themes. The music rises in an impressive escalation.


II. Andante

Then follows the second movement, the slow Andante, dominated by a lyrical, dreamy and subtle melody. As at the end of the first part, the transition to the final part is achieved with great skill.


III. Allegreto non troppo - Allegro molto vivace

In the third movenemt, Allegretto non troppo - Allegro molto vivace, the music ceases but wakes up again and unfolds politely to prevent a double fanfare and some vivid decorations, with the violin lively in a particularly vigorous place.





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