I have stated previously that Maurice Ravel is my favorite composer. On March 7 of this year it will be 151 years since his birth. Ravel was born in 1875 and passed in 1937. In my opinion Ravel was the “Mozart” of the early 20th century.
For those who have not sampled Ravel’s music I would suggest “Valses nobles et sentimentales.” There are both orchestral versions of this work (Ravel was a brilliant at orchestration) and solo piano versions including a piano performance by the composer himself.
Russian composer and pianist Sergei Prokofiev is one of my favorite musicians of all time. The first music of his I heard (many years ago in my teens) was the Third Piano Concerto. I immediately loved this work. Most of his music really connects with me especially his piano driven music. It must be my Slavic blood that gets stirred because his intense melodies and rhythms get to me on an almost genetic level.
Like many artist in Soviet Russia at that time he suffered at the hands of a cruel government. He was accused of being “decadent” and for a time he, like many others, was blacklisted. Ironically, Prokofiev died on the very same day as his nemesis Joseph Stalin. Therefore, the news of his death was once again relegated to the back pages of the press in Russia and around the world giving priority to the evil dictator who made his life hell.