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

Niccolò Paganini - Introduction

A little the weak-mindedness of those who do not want to admit the exceptional, unusual abilities of others, a little his "mephistofelic" appearance, favored the development of the myth that the violinist and composer Niccolò Paganini "Faust" of music wanted. His virtuosity on the violin was truly transcendent, as no one listed collaboration with the devil.

Paganini's insurmountable technique had its morphological characteristics and exhibitionism at the time of public interpretation. Thus, the myth was well preserved. All the music centres in Europe enjoyed this theatrical artist, but he was unreal only on stage. In his daily life he was an ordinary man, a kind man, a man of virtues and weaknesses.

He not only developed the technique bequeathed to him by the virtuosos violonists of the 18th century, but he developed it unexpectedly by inventing tricks that gave him the right to be called a pioneer. The techniques of "staccato", "pizzicato", "harmonics" in the interpretation of stringed instruments with glory benefited from him, as much as from any earlier or later artist.

The awareness of the charm he exerted on his listeners and the need for the show, consumed his time in concerts and recitals. He had little time left to make use of his synthetic gifts.

There weren't many works he signed, and most of them were composed to serve his virtuosity. Thus, his compositions were probably underestimated by the musical analysts. The careful approach of his work, however, reveals a truly brilliant lyricist.

(George Monemvasitis)