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

Richard Wagner - Introduction

Rebel, pioneer, demagogue, revisionist, heretic. Anyone who, honorably or disparagingly, is offended by the German composer Richard Wagner cannot deny his genius. He proposed a different expression of opera, an expression that dominated the second half of the 19th century creating supporters and opponents, who apparently still have not solved their differences.

He called for the mix of music and drama to be in one, considering the ancient Greek reality, envisioned the whole of the musical drama going beyond the theoretical data, since it offered shaped the values for its realization. The art of opera transformed by Wagner yielded new fruits sufficiently differentiated from those folk music of bel canto. The dynamics of Wagner's opera evoke reflection rather than emotion, without, of course, aiming to detox from it.

The music of Richard Wagner, the main but not his only component of his lyrical dramas, rich in expressive power, with a strong descriptive capacity, has been completely consistent with the ideology of its creator. Its magnificence and volume are in the same way as the theme of the myths he himself elaborated. He didn't allow anyone to share the glory of his works. But he also took full responsibility for his work, even when he could not be sure of the happy ending of his musical experiments. The experiments succeeded and the music took a step forward.

(George Monemvasitis)