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

Maurice Ravel - Pavane pour une infante défunte


Maurice Ravel seems to have chosen this title - "Infante" means Spanish princess - only for the pleasant sonic tinge, since the princess is a completely fantastic person. The composer wrote the Pavana in 1899 while he was still a student at the Paris Conservatory. The immediate success of this work surprised Ravel, who considered the project morphologically impossible. However, when it was presented in 1902, the critics considered its form smooth and charming.

The solo violin, which plays in high tones accompanied by the pulsating sound of deep strings, produces the warm and rich tone of this form of Pavana. A short final section ends with the chords played by the soloist on the violin.

A second melody is repeated higher, again with chords of the violin, creating the impression of more than one instrument. Rich chords lead to a return to the original melody, now played on a higher scale of the violin.

A pizzicato appears as a third section begins. A rather sad, mournful passage leads to a final iteration of the original music. This time the melody is underlined by the use of violin harmonics - high sounds reminiscent of flute and produced by touching the string without pressure on the fret.


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