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

Anton Bruckner - Introduction

Josef Anton Bruckner

A "poor man of god" was Anton Bruckner, who worshipped just as much as the divine and the human, whether it is found in music, in nature, or in the view of the supreme being. Meek, thoughtful, modest and incomparably sincere, he expressed his introversion and insecurity by leaning more and more into his musical writings and constantly revising his already masterful inspirations. 

If he had been bolder, more determined, perhaps he would have occupied Wagner's place in the history of music - he has been his idol since he met him - since Bruckner composed music of "Wagnerian" quality before... Wagner himself.

An amazing virtuoso in the performance of the organ, he crushed the faithful audiences both in Leeds and Vienna, as well as in Paris - in 1869 he performed at Notre Dame - and in London. If he had recorded his astonishing - according to written testimonies - improvisations on the organ, he would have submitted work for this instrument perhaps comparable to that of Johann Sebastian Bach.

Bruckner preferred, however, to serve the symphonic music wisely and devotionly, developing what Beethoven and Schubert had destroyed with their "wills". Despite their often extensive developments, his Symphonies feature marvelous combinations of intelligence, melodic ingenuity and orchestral magnificence.

(George Monemvasitis)