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

Johann Strauss II - Tritsch-Tratsch-Polka, Op. 214 in A major

Johann Strauss II composed "Tritsch-Tratsch-Polka"  in 1858 after a successful tour of Russia where he performed in the summer concert season at Pavlovsk, Saint Petersburg. It was first performed in a concert in Vienna on 24 November 1858.

The German word "trarch" means gossip, while the word "tritsch" has no meaning. The title is a sample of Johann Strauss II's habit of creating puns. In this case he wanted to imitate sonically the English expression "chit-chat" (drizzle, gossip).

The music is lively and Strauss hypothesized that many dancers could wait while chatting until a waltz is played. The composer wrote in his diary that at the time he was conducting a series of concerts in London, the audience asked for this polka 38 times! 

It is a lively, rhythmic work, in A major, which uses brilliant brass and percussion instruments and is widely decorated with trills and a multitude of musical ornaments. Interpretively it is a demanding work, but its unique cheerfulness makes it enjoyable to both play it and listen to it.



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