March 7th 1875: Ravel born
On this day in 1875 the French composer Maurice Ravel was born in Ciboure, France, not far from the Spanish border. He was born into a Catholic household to a Swiss father and Basque mother. Ravel’s father imparted onto his son his love of music, which shaped the young Maurice’s future. His musical talents led him to the Paris Conservatoire, and whilst he was not academically successful there he was acknowledged as a gifted musician. Ravel went on to enjoy an illustrious career as a composer, especially known for his piano pieces like ‘Gaspard de la nuit’ and ‘Jeux d’eau’. However Ravel’s most famous work is probably the orchestral piece 'Boléro' which premiered in 1928. Always a Ravel classic, this piece especially rose to prominence after it was used by British ice dancers Torvill and Dean for their gold medal winning performance at the 1984 Sarajevo Winter Olympic Games. Maurice Ravel died after undergoing brain surgery on December 28th 1937, aged 62.
Happy Birthday Maurice Ravel!
Joseph-Maurice Ravel (March 7, 1875 – December 28, 1937) was a French composer known especially for his melodies, orchestral and instrumental textures and effects. Along with Claude Debussy, he was one of the most prominent figures associated with Impressionist music. Much of his piano music, chamber music, vocal music and orchestral music has entered the standard concert repertoire.
Ravel’s piano compositions, such as Jeux d’eau, Miroirs, Le tombeau de Couperin and Gaspard de la nuit, demand considerable virtuosity from the performer, and his orchestral music, including Daphnis et Chloé and his arrangement of Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, use a variety of sound and instrumentation. Ravel is perhaps known best for his orchestral work Boléro (1928), which he considered trivial and once described as “a piece for orchestra without music”.
According to SACEM, Ravel’s estate had earned more royalties than that of any other French composer.
It amazes me how much time can be spent on what turns out to be only approximately three minutes after what feels like hours spent practicing.
That being said, I am delighted to share this work in progress: My performance of Ginastera’s Piano Sonata No.1, Op.22: No.4 from the NASM recital at Bloomsburg University, from fall 2013.
Arno Babajanian (1921-1983, Armenia/USSR)
Piano Trio in F# minor (1953) - 2. Andante
David Oistrakh (violin), Sviatoslav Knushevitsky (cello), Arno Babajanian (piano)