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

Franz Liszt - Introduction

The recording techniques were unfortunately not invented when Franz Liszt conquered Europe with his fascinating pianistic performances. Thus his juggling interpretations enjoyed only the ephemeral and we are limited to the written testimonies, which describe him as a pianist with unconventional virtuosic gifts. His recitals amounted to a performance that provoked furious excitement and exaggerated manifestations of worship.

His emphasis on virtuosity and the long-term focus of his creative disposition on the pianistic compositions of "demonstration" but also on the transcriptions - for piano of course - of works by other composers, prevented his immediate acceptance as an inspired composer.

However, no careful observer of evolution and researcher of his contribution can question the incisions he caused in the musical expression of his time. His symphonic poems herald new forms of the art of sounds, his instrumentals paving the way for the musical commandments of Wagner, Mahler, Richard Strauss, in the bold harmonys of his mature pianistic works eavesdropping on Debussy's impressionism.

Liszt loved music with passion, just as he loved women. The first was the means to conquer the latter, which could hardly resist its charm. But he was not seduced by all his successes. He remained until the end of his life benevolent and generous, willing to benefit with his knowledge and skills the music, but also his fellow human beings.