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

Domenico Scarlatti - Introduction


Domenico Skarlatti had to be released from the paternal domination and emigrate, in order to benefit the music by developing his jealous gifts. In search of the new, he focused his effort on composing for the keyboard instruments (mainly the harpsichord), which in his time, were constantly evolving and had invaded spectacularly in the lives of the music lovers.

The 555 sonatas for keyboard instruments that came to fruition from his creative mind are not just exercises of interpretation (essercizi), as he had named them and as was previously believable. They are an imaginative series of short compositions, which introduce new techniques of interpretation and herald the magnificent form of the tripartite sonata.

A rare arsenal of harmonious and rhythmic wealth is revealed by listening to these compositions by Domenico Skarlatti. He wasn't just a virtuoso performer, he was also a master of imagination. Mixes with exceptional subtlety and balance the polyphony with the monody. His writing is constantly met with the grace, spirit and elegance of the Baroque era. He doesn't imitate anyone. On the contrary, being innovative, he creates the conditions to imitate him.

Sonatas, the cutting edge of Domenico Skarlatti's much-documented work, were the subject of a major investigation and cataloguing. First the Italian pianist and composer Alessandro Logo dealt with the archiving and organization of these works. Their numbering is defined by the prefix L.

Newer is the work of the American harpsichordist Ralph Leonard Kirkpatrick. The list he has drawn up - where sonatas are defined by K - is considered definitive.

(George Monemvasitis)


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