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

Joseph Haydn - String Quartet No. 62 in C major, Op. 76, No. 3 "Emperor"

The lyrics in "Gott, erhalte den Kaiser!" ("God save the Emperor") were written by Lorenz Leopold Haschka. 

The winter of 1797-8 Joseph Haydn composed six String Quartets and dedicated them to the Hungarian count Joseph Georg von Erdődy.
The Quartet No. 62 in C major, Op. 76, No. 3, boasts the nickname Emperor (or Kaiser), because in the second movement is a set of variations on "Gott erhalte Franz den Kaiser" ("God save Emperor Francis"), an anthem he wrote for Emperor Francis II, which later, is the national anthem of Austria-Hungary. This same melody is known to modern listeners for its later use in the German national anthem, the Deutschlandlied, which is used since Austria-Hungary and the Nazi era, known today as "Deutschland uber alles".


Ι. Allegro

The first part, Allegro, although it begins with a pattern of just five notes, the rest of the part is developed from this simple phrase. As in the case of the "Surprise" Symphony, the opening part is repeated and then the development of the music begins. The development contains a very characteristic section, where two violins interpret some nily, almost dance groups accompanied by viola and cello, a reminder of Haydn's love for folk songs and dances. A coda leads to a few slower, more thoughtful musical measures to follow a vivid finish.

ΙΙ. Poco adagio, cantabile

The second part, Poco adagio, is a series of four variations of the melody composed by Haydn on the lyrics of the "Imperial Hymn", written for the Austrian Emperor in 1797. This is the part where the quartet's name is due. 

Variation I is a duet for the two violins, where the one plays the melody, while the other adds decorative shapes. 

In Variation II the cello plays the melody. 

In Variation III the melody is interpreted by the viola with some accompanying harmonies towards the end. 

Variation IV adds more harmonies to the melody, slightly changing its musical character.

ΙΙΙ. Menuetto: Allegro

The third part, Menuetto, includes a small hurried band that share the first violin and cello. The melody of the central "trio" section, played by the first violin, moves very effectively between the minor and major scale.

IV. Presto

The fourth part, Presto, begins with three strong chords in a minor scale, which are succeeded by a concise theme. Once again Haydn masterfully builds on this original material. The part remains mainly in the minor scale until just before the end, when the music returns to its starting point in tonality of C Major, thus sealing the work with a brilliant and categorical note.