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

Claude Debussy and the Piano

Claude Debussy playing the piano at Ernest Chausson 's home.

Claude Debussy was one of the greatest composers of piano music. The "Pianoforte" (soft-loud) as is its original Italian name, evolved from the harpsichord during the 18th century. Only in the next century, however, did it grow in size, wealth and tonal power. Beethoven, Schumann, Chopin, Liszt and Brahms wrote their best compositions for it.

At the time of Debussy, that is, at the beginning of the 20th century, the piano had reached the peak of its development. Debussy took full advantage of this fact, writing music that made full use of the spectrum of the keyboard and the dynamics of the piano (the degree of softness and intensity). 

He also used the pedals in a special way, giving duration to certain notes or chords at the same time as others are played, thus mixing their sounds. In this way he utilized the piano as the composers before him had not even imagined.

Some of his pianistic compositions, with impressionistic titles such as "Goldfish", "Estampes", "Fireworks", were among the most revolutionary compositions of his time. For many listeners of that time, it was one of the strangest works they had ever heard.

Comments