Many of the composers we have looked at have had a fairly difficult and traumatic life, especially in their childhood. It is refreshing to come across one who did not!
Maurice Ravel was born in March of 1875 in Ciboure, France, very near the Spanish border. His mother was Basque and his father, Swiss. At the age of three months, Ravel’s family moved to Paris but his Basque connections remained close to his heart all his life. His father, Joseph, was an inventor, creating some very important inventions including an early internal-combustion engine. This mechanically inclined father also had a love of arts and culture.
Ravel’s started piano lessons at the age of six. His family supported his interests and enrolled him in the Conservatoire de Paris, where he eventually became a piano major. While he wasn’t a great academic student, he was gifted at piano and composition. His private life is not surrounded by personal scandals. In fact, he kept his personal very private and there is no evidence of any major intimate relationships in his life. He spent most of his life in a love affair with his music, devoting his time and energy to his musical passion.
We heard Valses nobles et sentimentales with Benjamin Grosvenor in February 2014. November 2014 brought us Ravel with Simon Trpceski. On Oct 13, 2015 we will again hear Benjamin Grosvenor, this time playing Tombeau de Couperin. Oct 22, 2015 brought us Quartet in F Major with Cuarteto Casals and April 5, 2016 we had Duo Turgeon with a new arrangment for 2 pianos of the Second Suite from the ballet Daphnis and Chole.
This season we will once again be treated to Ravel with Benjamin Grosvenor playing Gaspard de la nuit on Nov 7, 2017. We will also hear Ravel with Philip Chiu – Ma mère l’Oye (Mother Goose Suite) on Nov 28, 2017.