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

Mozart - Horn concerto No. 2 in E-flat Major, K417

At the time when Mozart was working as an independent musician in Vienna in the early 1780s, he composed his first horn concerto. It gave this instrument an advantageous position, placing it at the heart of a complete orchestra and thereby paved the way for the projection of the horn in other concertos of various composers.

The horn has a fairly limited range, but Mozart explores its possibilities, contrasting them against the background of a full orchestra. It is well known that he had a unique way of making one melody gush through the other, with an inexhaustible imagination.

Each melody is skillfully harmonized with the character of its instrument. This is particularly evident in the two contrasting melodies in the opening part of this concerto. The melody that expresses the specific character of the horn, is placed opposite that of the strings. The opening theme of the strings is unequivocal, direct and robust. When the horn introduces its own melody, it is distinctly cuter and more thoughtful, as it entices the rest of the orchestra to follow it into darker spheres.


I. Allegro maestoso

Strings begin Allegro maestoso with a wide melody leading to a second theme. The woodwinds can be heard clearly. The horn appears with a new melody which is decorated by the strings in the background. Here's another horn melody - this time the violins and the horn play it together. The result is the production of a rather unusual tone. The reassuring entrance of the entire orchestra leads to three long notes of the horn, which bring the music back to the opening themes.

II. Andante

A slow orchestral introduction starts Andante leading to the inaugural solo. Here the horn is in its most lyrical mood. The music is expressive, without ever exceeding the gentle tone, while the simple alternation of the two themes gives beauty to the piece.

III. Rondo

Rondo highlights a returning theme that is inters with other themes and interludies. The rhythm is bright and rocking. The orchestra repeats the melody of the opening horn, followed immediately by a second melody. The idea expands, the music stops and the first theme is played again. Repeated notes of the horn lead the orchestra to a darker place, but not for long. The music returns to the opening tune, while another interlude leads to a rather strange variation of the same melody. The melody hesitates and stops twice, but eventually the music accelerates and the inaugural melody is heard one last time.