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

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Symphony No. 40 in G minor, K. 550

The shocking combination of musical insight and Mozart's delicately processed art widened the boundaries of all the musical forms he dealt with.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart possessed an extraordinary ability to distance himself from the outside world in the moments of his creative activity. This is evidenced by the tremendous speed with which he composed his last three symphonies and by the often optimistic nature of these great works.

It was during the composition of these symphonies, in the summer of 1788, that Mozart was in great despair - pressured by his deteriorating economic situation, living constantly in fear of the future. However, the music of Symphony No. 40 in G minor is joyful and serene - the work of a composer who resolutely refused to allow his problems to appear in his art.


Ι. Molto allegro

In the first part, the low, turbulent string accompaniment defines the mood of Molto Allegro. Initially, the violins lead, pushing the music into the lyrical second theme shared by woodwinds and strings. An isolated chord returns to a repetition of the music heard so far. Three dynamic chords format for the second time in the main theme. Now the melody is broadened by the entire orchestra and the high strings battle almost with the deep strings for the final dominance. But there is no winner. The music becomes more serene, paving the way for a final re-exhibition of the original theme.

ΙΙ. Andante

In the second part, the first melody of the tender and rather melancholic Andante, is based on repeated notes. A short, melodic section, played by the flute and the bassoon, presages some subtle pauses - emphasizing the importance of the music that will follow. This is highly edited, with neural, rhythmic phrases. We re-understand the original melody, which is now contrasted with decorative music phrases of the woodwinds. In the final half of the part the deep strings repeat the first theme - but lead the music to a strange new tone, as the mood becomes less serene.

ΙΙΙMenuetto Allegretto - trio

In the third part, the music of Menuetto Allegretto - trio is unstable, with Menuetto loud and dramatic. The trio is a kind of contrast, with serene melodic shapes scattered between the instruments. Towards the end of the part the horns take off with their own melodic contribution. Menuetto is back on the line.

IV. Allegro assai

The fourth part, Allegro assai, as the opening theme has an upward lift. The mood has returned to that of the first part. A gentle second melody is inserted from the strings and repeated by the clarinets. Later the original music is heard again. The second half of the part is announced by the strings which play a succession of loosely cations parts of the melody. As the mood becomes more and more restless, the issue of grabbing runs through the organs. After a pause the original music returns and completes the symphony.