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

Antonio Vivaldi - Concerto No. 3 in F major, Op. 8, RV 293, "Autumn" (L'autunno)

Poussin's painting with vine harvest
"Autumn" painting by Nicolas Poussin. 

I. Allegro
Celebrates the peasant, with songs and dances, 
The pleasure of a bountiful harvest. 
And fired up by Bacchus' liquor
many end their revelry in sleep. 

II. Adagio molto
Everyone is made to forget their cares and to sing and dance 
By the air which is tempered with pleasure 
And (by) the season that invites so many, many 
Out of their sweetest slumber to fine enjoyment  

III. Allegro
The hunters emerge at the new dawn, 
And with horns and dogs and guns depart upon their hunting 
The beast flees and they follow its trail
Terrified and tired of the great noise 
Of guns and dogs, the beast, wounded, threatens 
Languidly to flee, but harried, dies.

The Four Seasons is a group of four violin concerti by Antonio Vivaldi, each of which gives musical expression to a season of the year. "Autumn" is the third concerto in F major.

In this work are described the villagers who celebrate the harvest with drink and dances. The joyful melody of the inaugural Allegro is well known. The soloist repeats the dance with a few double chords, followed by descending couplings and other musical ornaments.

A section of Larghetto submits the image of the villagers falling asleep, but the part ends with the dance.

Adagio finds everyone surrendering to a "sweet" sleep with a continuo played by the harpsichord.

In the final Allegro, the music depicts a hunter, with more double chords of the soloist. Quick phrases on the violin solo describe the panic of the frightened prey, before returning to the theme of the hunter.