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

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov - Introduction

He renounced the glory, confidence and adventure guaranteed by the career of the naval officer, Nikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov, and was thrown into the adventure of music without hesitation. As an amateur and self-taught musician, the aristocrat started from Tikhvin to settle down as a conscientious professional. He enjoyed every honor that any of his peers would dream of, becoming the most popular, after Tchaikovsky, composer of 19th century Russia.

A member of the famous group of "Five", Rimsky-Korsakov, after his first transcendence and the change of his professional course, had to fight with the academicism and lack of self-confidence that were alive nourished by the sense of non-existent musical education. When he overcame any inhibitions - his love for music helped him a lot - and gained the confidence of musical discourse, he was easily able to exploit his innate gifts.

A master of orchestration and an imaginative creator, he produced a rich musical work in which all the requested components of the place and the era were included.

Although he was a worthy and devoted servant of the Russian National Music School, he did not imprison his imagination in the narrow confines of the fatherland, but he complemented the color scale of the sonic traces with melodic sighs of the East ("Scheherazade") and with rhythmic rituals of the West ("Spanish Capricio").

However, he assimilated with exemplary delicacy every imported or domestic folk sound, so that every phrase of his music screams first the personality of the composer and then its national origin.

(George V. Monemvasitis)