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

Joseph Haydn - Introduction

The evolution of the art of sounds would certainly have been different if the Austrian land had not welcomed Franz Joseph Haydn in the 18th century. This modest, pure, benevolent and unsyming music worker, was at the same time innovative as well as the legislator of a great chapter of art which he was ordered to serve. No one else, perhaps in the history of music, has benefited orchestral music as much as Haydn.

Although he was not the inventor of the form of the symphony, as many like to profess, he was the one who recognized its definitive form, drew up the rules governing its development and perfected it morphologically and substantially, to the supreme extent that the means at his disposal allowed him.

His deposits were received by all the next composers, first Mozart and Beethoven, who used them as capital and enjoyed their profits at the rate of their own imagination.

If the symphony owes him his precious interventions, the string quartet, the ultimate form of pure music, owes him its genesis. He breathed life into it, he shaped it, he gave it the right to eternity first.

Inexhaustible, resourceful, prolific - more than a hundred symphonies he composed, more than eighty of his string quartets - Haydn was subject to a fate that the time of change was barely peeking at the end of his life. He offered his sacrifices to music through those masters who had the ability to cultivate art through their submissives. Yet his music is all-light, self-illuminating, full of freshness, kindness and balance.

(George Monemvasitis)