Arturo Toscanini was an Italian conductor. He was one of the most acclaimed musicians of the late 19th and of the 20th century, renowned for his intensity, his perfectionism, his ear for orchestral detail and sonority, his eidetic memory, he was at various times the music director of La Scala in Milan, the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the New York Philharmonic. In his career he was appointed the first music director of the NBC Symphony Orchestra, this led to his becoming a household name through his radio and television broadcasts and many recordings of the operatic and symphonic repertoire. Toscanini was born in Parma, Emilia-Romagna, won a scholarship to the local music conservatory, where he studied the cello. Living conditions at the conservatory were harsh. For example, his diet consisted completely of fish; when he became successful, he never ate anything. He joined the orchestra of an opera company, with which he toured South America in 1886. While presenting Aida in Rio de Janeiro on June 25, Leopoldo Miguez, the locally hired conductor, reached the summit of a two-month escalating conflict with the performers due to his rather poor command of the work, to the point that the singers went on strike and forced the company's general manager to seek a substitute conductor.
Carlo Superti and Aristide Venturi tried unsuccessfully to finish the work. In desperation, the singers suggested the name of their assistant Chorus Master, who knew the whole opera from memory. Although he had no conducting experience, Toscanini was persuaded by the musicians to take up the baton at 9:15 pm, led a performance of the two-and-a-half hour opera from memory; the public was taken by surprise, at first by the youth and sheer aplomb of this unknown conductor by his solid mastery. The result was astounding acclaim. For the rest of that season, Toscanini conducted all with absolute success, thus began his career as a conductor, at age 19. Upon returning to Italy, Toscanini set out on a dual path, he continued to conduct, his first appearance in Italy being at the Teatro Carignano in Turin, on November 4, 1886, in the world premiere of the revised version of Alfredo Catalani's Edmea. This was championing of Catalani, he returned to his chair in the cello section, participated as cellist in the world premiere of Verdi's Otello under the composer's supervision.
Verdi, who habitually complained that conductors never seemed interested in directing his scores the way he had written them, was impressed by reports from Arrigo Boito about Toscanini's ability to interpret his scores. The composer was impressed when Toscanini consulted him about Verdi's Te Deum, suggesting an allargando where it was not set out in the score. Verdi said that he had left it out for fear that "certain interpreters would have exaggerated the marking". Toscanini's reputation as an operatic conductor of unusual authority and skill supplanted his cello career. In the following decade, he consolidated his career in Italy, entrusted with the world premieres of Puccini's La bohème and Leoncavallo's Pagliacci. In 1896, Toscanini conducted his first symphonic concert, he exhibited a considerable capacity for hard work, conducting 43 concerts in Turin in 1898. By 1898, Toscanini was Principal Conductor at La Scala, where he remained until 1908, returning as Music Director, from 1921–1929.
During this time he collaborated with Alfredo Antonini – a young pianist and organist in La Scala Orchestra. He brought the La Scala Orchestra to the United States on a concert tour in 1920/21, during which he made his first recordings. Outside Europe, Toscanini conducted at the Metropolitan Opera in New York as well as the New York Philharmonic. At the end of his season with the Metropolitan Opera in May 1915 Toscanini was set to return to Europe aboard the doomed RMS Lusitania, but instead cut his concert schedule short and left a week early aboard the Italian liner Duca degli Abruzzi, he toured Europe with the New York Philharmonic in 1930. At each performance, he and the orchestra were acclaimed by audiences. Toscanini was the first non-German conductor to appear at Bayreuth, the New York Philharmonic was the first non-German orchestra to play there. In the 1930s, he conducted at the Salzburg Festival, as well as the 1936 inaugural concert of the Palestine Orchestra in Tel Aviv conducting them in Jerusalem, Haifa and Alexandria.
During his engagement with the New York Philharmonic, Hans Lange, the son of the last Master of the Sultan's Music in Istanbul, who became conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the founder of the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra as a professional ensemble, was his concert master. During his career, Toscanini collaborated with such artists as Enrico Caruso, Feodor Chaliapin, Ezio Pinza, Jussi Björling, Geraldine Farrar and Lauritz Melchior. In 1919, Toscanini unsuccessfully ran as a Fascist parliamentary candidate in Milan, he had been called "the greatest conductor in the world" by Fascist leader Benito Mussolini. Toscanini had become disillusioned with fascism before the October 1922 March on Rome and defied the Italian dictator, he refused to display Musso
Berlin is the capital and largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,748,148 inhabitants make it the second most populous city proper of the European Union after London; the city is one of Germany's 16 federal states. It is surrounded by the state of Brandenburg, contiguous with its capital, Potsdam; the two cities are at the center of the Berlin-Brandenburg capital region, which is, with about six million inhabitants and an area of more than 30,000 km², Germany's third-largest metropolitan region after the Rhine-Ruhr and Rhine-Main regions. Berlin straddles the banks of the River Spree, which flows into the River Havel in the western borough of Spandau. Among the city's main topographical features are the many lakes in the western and southeastern boroughs formed by the Spree and Dahme rivers. Due to its location in the European Plain, Berlin is influenced by a temperate seasonal climate. About one-third of the city's area is composed of forests, gardens, rivers and lakes; the city lies in the Central German dialect area, the Berlin dialect being a variant of the Lusatian-New Marchian dialects.
First documented in the 13th century and situated at the crossing of two important historic trade routes, Berlin became the capital of the Margraviate of Brandenburg, the Kingdom of Prussia, the German Empire, the Weimar Republic, the Third Reich. Berlin in the 1920s was the third largest municipality in the world. After World War II and its subsequent occupation by the victorious countries, the city was divided. East Berlin was declared capital of East Germany. Following German reunification in 1990, Berlin once again became the capital of all of Germany. Berlin is a world city of culture, politics and science, its economy is based on high-tech firms and the service sector, encompassing a diverse range of creative industries, research facilities, media corporations and convention venues. Berlin serves as a continental hub for air and rail traffic and has a complex public transportation network; the metropolis is a popular tourist destination. Significant industries include IT, biomedical engineering, clean tech, biotechnology and electronics.
Berlin is home to world-renowned universities, orchestras and entertainment venues, is host to many sporting events. Its Zoological Garden is one of the most popular worldwide. With the world's oldest large-scale movie studio complex, Berlin is an popular location for international film productions; the city is well known for its festivals, diverse architecture, contemporary arts and a high quality of living. Since the 2000s Berlin has seen the emergence of a cosmopolitan entrepreneurial scene. Berlin lies in northeastern Germany, east of the River Saale, that once constituted, together with the River Elbe, the eastern border of the Frankish Realm. While the Frankish Realm was inhabited by Germanic tribes like the Franks and the Saxons, the regions east of the border rivers were inhabited by Slavic tribes; this is why most of the villages in northeastern Germany bear Slavic-derived names. Typical Germanised place name suffixes of Slavic origin are -ow, -itz, -vitz, -witz, -itzsch and -in, prefixes are Windisch and Wendisch.
The name Berlin has its roots in the language of West Slavic inhabitants of the area of today's Berlin, may be related to the Old Polabian stem berl-/birl-. Since the Ber- at the beginning sounds like the German word Bär, a bear appears in the coat of arms of the city, it is therefore a canting arm. Of Berlin's twelve boroughs, five bear a Slavic-derived name: Pankow, Steglitz-Zehlendorf, Marzahn-Hellersdorf, Treptow-Köpenick and Spandau. Of its ninety-six neighborhoods, twenty-two bear a Slavic-derived name: Altglienicke, Alt-Treptow, Buch, Gatow, Kladow, Köpenick, Lankwitz, Lübars, Marzahn, Prenzlauer Berg, Schmöckwitz, Stadtrandsiedlung Malchow, Steglitz and Zehlendorf; the neighborhood of Moabit bears a French-derived name, Französisch Buchholz is named after the Huguenots. The earliest evidence of settlements in the area of today's Berlin are a wooden beam dated from 1192, remnants of a house foundation dated to 1174, found in excavations in Berlin Mitte; the first written records of towns in the area of present-day Berlin date from the late 12th century.
Spandau is first mentioned in 1197 and Köpenick in 1209, although these areas did not join Berlin until 1920. The central part of Berlin can be traced back to two towns. Cölln on the Fischerinsel is first mentioned in a 1237 document, Berlin, across the Spree in what is now called the Nikolaiviertel, is referenced in a document from 1244. 1237 is considered the founding date of the city. The two towns over time formed close economic and social ties, profited from the staple right on the two important trade routes Via Imperii and from Bruges to Novgorod. In 1307, they formed an alliance with a common external policy, their internal administrations still being separated. In 1415, Frederick I became the elector of the Margraviate of Brandenburg, which he ruled until 1440. During the 15th century, his successors established Berlin-Cölln as capital of the margraviate, subsequent members of the Hohenzol
Boston is the capital and most populous city of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the United States. The city proper covers 48 square miles with an estimated population of 685,094 in 2017, making it the most populous city in New England. Boston is the seat of Suffolk County as well, although the county government was disbanded on July 1, 1999; the city is the economic and cultural anchor of a larger metropolitan area known as Greater Boston, a metropolitan statistical area home to a census-estimated 4.8 million people in 2016 and ranking as the tenth-largest such area in the country. As a combined statistical area, this wider commuting region is home to some 8.2 million people, making it the sixth-largest in the United States. Boston is one of the oldest cities in the United States, founded on the Shawmut Peninsula in 1630 by Puritan settlers from England, it was the scene of several key events of the American Revolution, such as the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, the Battle of Bunker Hill, the Siege of Boston.
Upon gaining U. S. independence from Great Britain, it continued to be an important port and manufacturing hub as well as a center for education and culture. The city has expanded beyond the original peninsula through land reclamation and municipal annexation, its rich history attracts many tourists, with Faneuil Hall alone drawing more than 20 million visitors per year. Boston's many firsts include the United States' first public park, first public or state school and first subway system; the Boston area's many colleges and universities make it an international center of higher education, including law, medicine and business, the city is considered to be a world leader in innovation and entrepreneurship, with nearly 2,000 startups. Boston's economic base includes finance and business services, information technology, government activities. Households in the city claim the highest average rate of philanthropy in the United States; the city has one of the highest costs of living in the United States as it has undergone gentrification, though it remains high on world livability rankings.
Boston's early European settlers had first called the area Trimountaine but renamed it Boston after Boston, England, the origin of several prominent colonists. The renaming on September 7, 1630, was by Puritan colonists from England who had moved over from Charlestown earlier that year in quest for fresh water, their settlement was limited to the Shawmut Peninsula, at that time surrounded by the Massachusetts Bay and Charles River and connected to the mainland by a narrow isthmus. The peninsula is thought to have been inhabited as early as 5000 BC. In 1629, the Massachusetts Bay Colony's first governor John Winthrop led the signing of the Cambridge Agreement, a key founding document of the city. Puritan ethics and their focus on education influenced its early history. Over the next 130 years, the city participated in four French and Indian Wars, until the British defeated the French and their Indian allies in North America. Boston was the largest town in British America until Philadelphia grew larger in the mid-18th century.
Boston's oceanfront location made it a lively port, the city engaged in shipping and fishing during its colonial days. However, Boston stagnated in the decades prior to the Revolution. By the mid-18th century, New York City and Philadelphia surpassed Boston in wealth. Boston encountered financial difficulties as other cities in New England grew rapidly. Many of the crucial events of the American Revolution occurred near Boston. Boston's penchant for mob action along with the colonists' growing distrust in Britain fostered a revolutionary spirit in the city; when the British government passed the Stamp Act in 1765, a Boston mob ravaged the homes of Andrew Oliver, the official tasked with enforcing the Act, Thomas Hutchinson the Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts. The British sent two regiments to Boston in 1768 in an attempt to quell the angry colonists; this did not sit well with the colonists. In 1770, during the Boston Massacre, the army killed several people in response to a mob in Boston.
The colonists compelled the British to withdraw their troops. The event was publicized and fueled a revolutionary movement in America. In 1773, Britain passed the Tea Act. Many of the colonists saw the act as an attempt to force them to accept the taxes established by the Townshend Acts; the act prompted the Boston Tea Party, where a group of rebels threw an entire shipment of tea sent by the British East India Company into Boston Harbor. The Boston Tea Party was a key event leading up to the revolution, as the British government responded furiously with the Intolerable Acts, demanding compensation for the lost tea from the rebels; this led to the American Revolutionary War. The war began in the area surrounding Boston with the Battles of Concord. Boston itself was besieged for a year during the Siege of Boston, which began on April 19, 1775; the New England militia impeded the movement of the British Army. William Howe, 5th Viscount Howe the commander-in-chief of the British forces in North America, led the British army in the siege.
On June 17, the British captured the Charlestown peninsula in Boston, during the Battle of Bunker Hill. The British army outnumbered the militia stationed there, but it was a Py
Beatrix of the Netherlands
Beatrix is a member of the Dutch royal family who reigned as Queen of the Netherlands from 30 April 1980 until her abdication on 30 April 2013. Beatrix is the eldest daughter of Queen Juliana and her husband, Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld. Upon her mother's accession in 1948, she became heir presumptive. Beatrix attended a public primary school in Canada during World War II, finished her primary and secondary education in the Netherlands in the post-war period. In 1961, she received her law degree from Leiden University. In 1966, Beatrix married a German diplomat, with whom she had three children; when her mother abdicated on 30 April 1980, Beatrix succeeded her as queen. Beatrix's reign saw the country's Caribbean possessions reshaped with Aruba's secession and becoming its own constituent country within the Kingdom in 1986 as well as the subsequent Antillean Dissolution in 2010, which created the new special municipalities of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, Saba, the two new constituent countries of Curaçao and Sint Maarten.
On Koninginnedag, 30 April 2013, Beatrix abdicated in favour of her eldest son, Willem-Alexander, resumed the title of princess. At the time of her abdication at age 75, Beatrix was the oldest reigning monarch in the country's history. Beatrix was born Princess Beatrix Wilhelmina Armgard of the Netherlands, Princess of Orange-Nassau, Princess of Lippe-Biesterfeld, on 31 January 1938 at the Soestdijk Palace in Baarn, Netherlands, she is the first child of Princess Juliana of the Netherlands and German aristocrat Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld. Beatrix was baptized on 12 May 1938 in the Great Church in The Hague, her five godparents were King Leopold III of Belgium. Beatrix's middle names are the first names of her maternal grandmother, the reigning Queen Wilhelmina, her paternal grandmother, Armgard of Sierstorpff-Cramm; when Beatrix was one year old, in 1939, her younger sister Princess Irene was born. World War II broke out in the Netherlands on 10 May 1940. On 13 May, the Dutch Royal Family evacuated to United Kingdom.
One month Beatrix went to Ottawa, Canada, with her mother Juliana and her sister Irene, while her father Bernhard and maternal grandmother Queen Wilhelmina remained in London. The family lived at the Stornoway residence. With bodyguards and ladies in waiting, the family summered at Bigwin Inn on Lake of Bays, Ontario where four private stone cottages of the resort served as their retreat. While on Bigwin Island, the constitution of the Netherlands was stored in the safe of Bigwin Inn's Rotunda building. Princess Juliana and her Family were remembered for their "down to earth" friendliness, general gratefulness and great reverence for their homeland and people, to whom they paid homage by refraining from all luxuries offered to guests at the resort, once billed as the largest and most luxurious summer resort in Canada. In order to provide them with a greater sense of security, culinary chefs and staff catered to personal orders at meal time. Upon their departure, the hotel musicians of the Bigwin Inn Orchestra assembled dockside.
In the years following the shuttering and neglect of the island resort, the "Juliana" cottages were well maintained and preserved in an informal tribute to Princess Juliana and her family. In thanks for the protection of her and her daughters, Princess Juliana established the custom of the delivery to the Canadian government every spring of tulips, which are the centrepiece of the Canadian Tulip Festival; the second sister of Beatrix, Princess Margriet, was born in Ottawa in 1943. During their exile in Canada, Beatrix attended nursery and Rockcliffe Park Public School, a primary school where she was known as "Trixie Orange". On 5 May 1945, the German troops in the Netherlands surrendered; the family returned to the Netherlands on 2 August 1945. Beatrix went to the progressive primary school De Werkplaats in Bilthoven, her third sister Princess Christina was born in 1947. On 6 September 1948, her mother Juliana succeeded her grandmother Wilhelmina as Queen of the Netherlands, Beatrix became the heiress presumptive to the throne of the Netherlands at the age of ten.
In April 1950, Princess Beatrix entered the Incrementum, a part of Baarnsch Lyceum, where, in 1956, she passed her school-graduation examinations in the subjects of arts and classics. In 1954, Princess Beatrix served as bridesmaid at the wedding of Baroness van Randwijck and Mr T Boey. On 31 January 1956 Princess Beatrix celebrated her 18th birthday. From that date, under the Constitution of the Netherlands, she was entitled to assume the Royal Prerogative. At that time, her mother installed her in the Council of State; the same year her studies at Leiden University began. In her first years at the university, she studied sociology, economics, parliamentary history and constitutional law. In the course of her studies she attended lectures on the cultures of Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles, the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands, international affairs, international law and European law The princess visited various European and international organisations in Geneva, Strasbourg and Brussels.
She was an active member of the VVSL, now called L. S. V. Minerva, after merging with the Leidsch Studenten Corps (which
Johann Baptist Joseph Maximilian Reger known as Max Reger, was a German composer, organist and academic teacher. He worked as a concert pianist, as a musical director at the Leipzig University Church, as a professor at the Royal Conservatory in Leipzig, as a music director at the court of Duke Georg II of Saxe-Meiningen. Reger first composed Lieder, chamber music, choral music and works for piano and organ, he turned to orchestral compositions, such as the popular Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Mozart, to works for choir and orchestra such as Gesang der Verklärten, Der 100. Psalm, Der Einsiedler and the Hebbel Requiem. Born in Brand, Reger studied music theory in Sondershausen piano and theory in Wiesbaden; the first compositions to which he assigned opus numbers were Lieder. A concert pianist himself, he composed works for both organ, his first work for choir and piano to which he assigned an opus number was Drei Chöre. Reger returned to his parental home in 1898, where he composed his first work for choir and orchestra, Hymne an den Gesang, Op. 21.
From 1899, he courted Elsa von Bercken. He composed many songs such as Op. 35, on love poems by five authors. Reger moved to Munich in September 1901, where he obtained concert offers and where his rapid rise to fame began. During his first Munich season, Reger appeared in ten concerts as an organist, chamber pianist and accompanist. Income from publishers and private teaching enabled him to marry in 1902; because his wife Elsa was a divorced Protestant, he was excommunicated from the Catholic Church. He continued to compose without interruption, for example Gesang der Verklärten, Op. 71. In 1907, Reger was appointed musical director at the Leipzig University Church, a position he held until 1908, professor at the Royal Conservatory in Leipzig. In 1908 he began to compose Der 100. Psalm, Op. 106, a setting of Psalm 100 for mixed choir and orchestra, for the 350th anniversary of Jena University. Part I was premiered on 31 July that year. Reger completed the composition in 1909, premiered in 1910 in both Chemnitz and Breslau.
In 1911 Reger was appointed Hofkapellmeister at the court of Duke Georg II of Saxe-Meiningen, responsible for music at the Meiningen Court Theatre. He retained his master class at the Leipzig conservatory. In 1913 he composed four tone poems on paintings by Arnold Böcklin, including Die Toteninsel, as his Op. 128. He gave up the court position in 1914 for health reasons. In response to World War I, he thought in 1914 to compose a choral work to commemorate the fallen of the war, he abandoned the work as a fragment. He composed eight motets forming Acht geistliche Gesänge für gemischten Chor, Op. 138, as a master of "new simplicity". In 1915 he moved to Jena, he composed in Jena the Hebbel Requiem for soloist and orchestra. Reger died of a heart attack while staying at a hotel in Leipzig on 11 May 1916; the proofs of Acht geistliche Gesänge, including "Der Mensch lebt und bestehet nur eine kleine Zeit", were found next to his bed. Reger had been active internationally as a conductor and pianist. Among his students were Joseph Haas, Sándor Jemnitz, Jaroslav Kvapil, Ruben Liljefors, Rudolf Serkin, George Szell and Cristòfor Taltabull.
Reger was the cousin of Hans von Koessler. Reger produced an enormous output in just over 25 years, nearly always in abstract forms. Few of his compositions are well known in the 21st century. Many of his works are fugues or in variation form, including what is his best-known orchestral work, the Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Mozart based on the opening theme of Mozart's Piano Sonata in A major, K. 331. Reger wrote a large amount of music for organ, the most popular being his Fantasy and Fugue on BACH, Op. 46 and the Toccata and Fugue in D minor from the collection Op. 129. While a student under Hugo Riemann in Wiesbaden, Reger met Karl Straube. Reger recorded some of his works on the Welte Philharmonic organ, including excerpt from 52 Chorale Preludes, Op. 67. He composed organ works for secular use, such as Introduction and Fugue, Op. 127, dedicated to Karl Straube who played the premiere at the 1913 opening of the Breslau Centennial Hall. Reger was attracted to the fugal form and created music in every genre, save for opera and the symphony.
A firm supporter of absolute music, he saw himself as being part of the tradition of Beethoven and Brahms. His work combined the classical structures of these composers with the extended harmonies of Liszt and Wagner, to which he added the complex counterpoint of Bach. Reger's organ music, though influenced by Liszt, was provoked by that tradition; some of the works for solo string instruments turn up on recordings, though less in recitals. His solo piano and two-piano music places him as a successor to Brahms in the central German tradition, he pursued intensively Brahms's continuous development and free modulation, whilst being rooted in Bach-influenced polyphony. Reger was a prolific writer of vocal works, works for mixed chorus, men's chorus and female chorus, extended choral works with orchestra such as Der 100. Psalm and Requiem, a setting of a poem by Friedrich Hebbel, which Reger dedicated to the soldiers of World War I
Joseph Maurice Ravel was a French composer and conductor. He is associated with impressionism along with his elder contemporary Claude Debussy, although both composers rejected the term. In the 1920s and 1930s Ravel was internationally regarded as France's greatest living composer. Born to a music-loving family, Ravel attended France's premier music college, the Paris Conservatoire. After leaving the conservatoire, Ravel found his own way as a composer, developing a style of great clarity, incorporating elements of baroque, neoclassicism and, in his works, jazz, he liked to experiment with musical form, as in his best-known work, Boléro, in which repetition takes the place of development. He made some orchestral arrangements of other composers' music, of which his 1922 version of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition is the best known; as a slow and painstaking worker, Ravel composed fewer pieces than many of his contemporaries. Among his works to enter the repertoire are pieces for piano, chamber music, two piano concertos, ballet music, two operas and eight song cycles.
Many of his works exist in two versions: first, a piano score and an orchestration. Some of his piano music, such as Gaspard de la nuit, is exceptionally difficult to play, his complex orchestral works such as Daphnis et Chloé require skilful balance in performance. Ravel was among the first composers to recognise the potential of recording to bring their music to a wider public. From the 1920s, despite limited technique as a pianist or conductor, he took part in recordings of several of his works. Ravel was born in the Basque town of Ciboure, near Biarritz, 18 kilometres from the Spanish border, his father, Pierre-Joseph Ravel, was an educated and successful engineer and manufacturer, born in Versoix near the Franco-Swiss border. His mother, Marie, née Delouart, had grown up in Madrid. In 19th-century terms, Joseph had married beneath his status – Marie was illegitimate and literate – but the marriage was a happy one; some of Joseph's inventions were successful, including an early internal combustion engine and a notorious circus machine, the "Whirlwind of Death", an automotive loop-the-loop, a major attraction until a fatal accident at Barnum and Bailey's Circus in 1903.
Both Ravel's parents were Roman Catholics. He was baptised in the Ciboure parish church six days; the family moved to Paris three months and there a younger son, Édouard, was born. Maurice was devoted to their mother. Among his earliest memories were folk songs; the household was not rich, but the family was comfortable, the two boys had happy childhoods. Ravel senior delighted in taking his sons to factories to see the latest mechanical devices, but he had a keen interest in music and culture in general. In life, Ravel recalled, "Throughout my childhood I was sensitive to music. My father, much better educated in this art than most amateurs are, knew how to develop my taste and to stimulate my enthusiasm at an early age." There is no record. When he was seven, Ravel started piano lessons with a friend of Emmanuel Chabrier. Without being anything of a child prodigy, he was a musical boy. Charles-René found that Ravel's conception of music was natural to him "and not, as in the case of so many others, the result of effort".
Ravel's earliest known compositions date from this period: variations on a chorale by Schumann, variations on a theme by Grieg and a single movement of a piano sonata. They survive only in fragmentary form. In 1888 Ravel met the young pianist Ricardo Viñes, who became not only a lifelong friend, but one of the foremost interpreters of his works, an important link between Ravel and Spanish music; the two shared an appreciation of Wagner, Russian music, the writings of Poe and Mallarmé. At the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1889, Ravel was much struck by the new Russian works conducted by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov; this music had a lasting effect on both Ravel and his older contemporary Claude Debussy, as did the exotic sound of the Javanese gamelan heard during the Exposition.Émile Decombes took over as Ravel's piano teacher in 1889. Aged fourteen, he took part in a concert at the Salle Érard along with other pupils of Decombes, including Reynaldo Hahn and Alfred Cortot. With the encouragement of his parents, Ravel applied for entry to France's most important musical college, the Conservatoire de Paris.
In November 1889, playing music by Chopin, he passed the examination for admission to the preparatory piano class run by Eugène Anthiome. Ravel won the first prize in the Conservatoire's piano competition in 1891, but otherwise he did not stand out as a student; these years were a time of considerable advance in his development as a composer. The musicologist Arbie Orenstein writes tha