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Maurice Ravel

Biography

Born: Mar 7, 1875; France   Died: Dec 28, 1937; France   Period: Romantic
Maurice Ravel was among the most significant and influential composers of the early twentieth century. Although he is frequently linked with Claude Debussy as an exemplar of musical impressionism, and some of their works have a surface resemblance, Ravel possessed an independent voice that grew out of his love of a broad variety of styles, including the French Baroque, Bach, Mozart, Chopin, Spanish folk traditions, and American jazz and blues. Read more His elegant and lyrically generous body of work was not large in comparison with that of some of his contemporaries, but his compositions are notable for being meticulously and exquisitely crafted. He was especially gifted as an orchestrator, an area in which he remains unsurpassed.
Ravel's mother was of Basque heritage, a fact that accounted for his lifelong fascination with Spanish music, and his father was a Swiss inventor and engineer, most likely the source of his commitment to precision and craftsmanship. At the age of 14, he entered the Paris Conservatory, where he was a student from 1889 to 1895 and from 1897 to 1903. His primary composition teacher was Gabriel Fauré. A major disappointment of his life was his failure to win the Prix de Rome in spite of numerous attempts. The difficulty was transparently the conflict between the conservative administration of the Conservatory and Ravel's independent thinking, meaning his association with the French avant-garde (Debussy), and his interest in non-French traditions (Wagner, the Russian nationalists, Balinese gamelan). He had already established himself as a composer of prominence with works such as his String Quartet, and the piano pieces Pavane pour une infante défunte, Jeux d'eau, and the Sonatine, and his loss of the Prix de Rome in 1905 was considered such a scandal that the director of the Conservatory was forced to resign.
Ravel continued to express admiration for Debussy's music throughout his life, but as his own reputation grew stronger during the first decade of the century, a mutual professional jealousy cooled their personal relationship. Around the same time, he developed a friendship with Igor Stravinsky. The two became familiar with each other's work during Stravinsky's time in Paris and worked collaboratively on arrangements for Sergey Diaghilev.
Between 1909 and 1912, Ravel composed Daphnis et Chloé for Diaghilev and Les Ballets Russes. It was the composer's largest and most ambitious work and is widely considered his masterpiece. He wrote a second ballet for Diaghilev, La Valse, which the impresario rejected, but which went on to become one of his most popular orchestral works. Following his service in the First World War as an ambulance driver, and the death of his mother in 1917, his output was temporarily diminished. In 1925, the Monte Carlo Opera presented the premiere of another large work, the "lyric fantasy" L'enfant et les sortilèges, a collaboration with writer Colette.
American jazz and blues became increasingly intriguing to the composer. In 1928 he made a hugely successful tour of North America, where he met George Gershwin and had the opportunity to broaden his exposure to jazz. Several of his most important late works, such as the Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 2 and the Piano Concerto in G show the influence of that interest.
Ironically, Ravel, who in his youth was rejected by some elements of the French musical establishment for being a modernist, in his later years was scorned by Satie and the members of Les Six as being old-fashioned, a symbol of the establishment. In 1932, an injury he sustained in an automobile accident started a physical decline that resulted in memory loss and an inability to communicate. He died in 1937, following brain surgery.
In spite of leaving one of the richest and most important bodies of work of any early twentieth century composer, one that included virtually every genre except for symphony and liturgical music, Ravel is most often remembered for an arrangement of another composer's work, and for a piece he considered among his least significant. His orchestral arrangement of Mussorgsky's piano suite Pictures at an Exhibition has been wildly popular with concertgoers (and the royalties from it made Ravel a rich man). Boléro, a 15-minute Spanish dance in which a single theme is repeated in a variety of instrumental guises, has been ridiculed for its insistent repetitiveness, but it is also a popular favorite and one of the most familiar and frequently performed orchestral works of the twentieth century. Read less
Faure; Lekeu; Ravel / Tasmin Little, Martin Roscoe
Release Date: 11/18/2014   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 10812   Number of Discs: 1
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Ravel, Debussy / Pierre Boulez [6-CD Set]
Release Date: 05/08/2012   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 001676802   Number of Discs: 6
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Ravel, Chausson: Piano Trios / Wanderer Trio
Release Date: 03/20/2007   Label: Harmonia Mundi Musique D'abord  
Catalog: 1951967   Number of Discs: 1
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Reflections - Ravel, Decaux, Schonberg / Frederic Chiu
Release Date: 02/14/2012   Label: Harmonia Mundi  
Catalog: 1957166   Number of Discs: 1
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Ravel: Daphnis Et Chloé / Petitgirard, Bordeaux Aquitaine
Release Date: 11/21/2006   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8570075   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Miroirs: Alborada del gracioso

Browse 101-125 of 131 Available Recordings
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  • 101.
    Debut - Piazzolla, Falla, Etc / Gerhardt, Dokshinsky
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 73164 Release Date: 05/18/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Isaac Albeniz,  Enrique Granados,  Manuel de Falla,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Rina Dokshinsky,  Alban Gerhardt
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  • 102.
    Ravel: Orchestral Works / Abbado, Boston So, London So
    Label: Dg Double   Catalog: 459439 Release Date: 05/03/1999   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  New England Conservatory Chorus
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  • 103.
    Falla, Ravel / Michel Block, Ian Hobson, Sinfonia Da Camera
    Label: Zephyr   Catalog: 11499 Release Date: 03/02/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Manuel de Falla
    Performer:  Michel Block
    Conductor:  Ian Hobson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sinfonia da Camera
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  • 104.
    Piano Reflections - Earl Wild Plays Spanish And French Gems
    Label: Ivory Classics   Catalog: 70805 Release Date: 10/20/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Federico Mompou,  Moritz Moszkowski,  Enrique Granados  ... 
    Performer:  Earl Wild
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  • 105.
    Bernstein Century - Ravel: Bolero, La Valse, Alborada
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 60565 Release Date: 07/14/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  Schola Cantorum,  ORTF National Orchestra
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  • 106.
    Ravel: Boléro, Etc / Haitink, Boston So
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 456569 Release Date: 07/14/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
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  • 107.
    Ravel: Boléro, La Valse / Mata, Dallas Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Rca Victrola   Catalog: 60485 Release Date: 07/13/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Eduardo Mata
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dallas Symphony Orchestra
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  • 108.
    Ravel Orchestrations - Pictures At An Exhibition, Etc / Oue
    Label: Reference Recordings   Catalog: 79 Release Date: 09/23/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Claude Debussy,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Conductor:  Eiji Oue
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Minnesota Orchestra
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  • 109.
    The Best Of Ravel
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8556673 Release Date: 02/04/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  François-Joël Thiollier,  Marat Bisengaliev,  Pascal Devoyon,  Dong-Suk Kang
    Conductor:  Adrian Leaper,  Antoni Wit,  Kenneth Jean,  Johannes Wildner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kodály String Quartet,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra Katowice  ... 
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  • 110.
    Ravel: Ma Mère L'oye, Etc / Nagano, Opera National De Lyon
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 14331 Release Date: 01/28/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Kent Nagano
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lyon Opera Orchestra
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  • 111.
    Ravel: Orchestral Works / Jean Martinon
    Label: Emi Classics Double Fforte   Catalog: 68610 Release Date: 07/16/1996   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Jean Martinon
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de Paris
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  • 112.
    Ravel: Orchestral Works / Ozawa, Boston Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Dg Double   Catalog: 437392 Release Date: 05/16/1995   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Doriot Dwyer,  Charles Kavalovski,  Sherman Walt,  Ralph Gomberg
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tanglewood Festival Chorus,  Boston Symphony Orchestra
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  • 113.
    Orchestral Excerpts For Bassoon / David Mcgill
    Label: Summit Records   Catalog: 162 Release Date: 03/17/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Béla Bartók,  Igor Stravinsky  ... 
    Performer:  David McGill
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  • 114.
    Ravel: Boléro, Daphnis Et Chloé, Etc / Abbado, London So
    Label: Dg Masters   Catalog: 445519 Release Date: 03/14/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Martin Gatt,  Paul Davies
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Chorus
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  • 115.
    Ravel: La Valse, Boléro, Etc / Dohnányi, Cleveland Orchestra
    Label: Teldec   Catalog: 97439 Release Date: 02/07/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Christoph von Dohnányi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
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  • 116.
    Ravel: Piano Works Vol 1 / François-joël Thiollier
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8550683 Release Date: 11/29/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  François-Joël Thiollier
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  • 117.
    Otto Klemperer Conducts Beethoven, Wagner, Ravel, Debussy
    Label: Symposium   Catalog: 1042 Release Date: 10/24/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Kurt Weill,  Jacques Offenbach,  Daniel-François Auber,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
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  • 118.
    La Gloire Du Disque Francais Vol 2 - Concerts Straram
    Label: Vai Audio   Catalog: 1074 Release Date: 10/11/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jacques Ibert,  Albert Roussel,  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Walther Straram,  Philippe Gaubert
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Walther Straram Concerts Orchestra
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  • 119.
    Ravel - Greatest Hits
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 64067 Release Date: 08/09/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Branford Marsalis
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez,  Carlo Maria Giulini,  Andrew Litton,  Zubin Mehta  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  Camerata Singers,  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra  ... 
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  • 120.
    Ravel: Bolero, Etc / Boulez, Berliner Philharmoniker
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 439859 Release Date: 06/14/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 121.
    Ravel: Boléro, Rapsodie Espagnole, La Valse
    Label: Sony Classical Infinity Digital   Catalog: 57236 Release Date: 05/31/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Jahni Mardjani,  Vato Kahi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Georgian Festival Orchestra
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  • 122.
    Ravel - The Greatest Hits
    Label: Reference Gold   Catalog: 3608 Release Date: 04/13/1994   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Kun-Woo Paik,  Anna Lelkes,  Pamela Endsley,  Sylvia Cápová
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Denver Symphony Orchestra,  London Festival Orchestra  ... 
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  • 123.
    Basic 100 Vol 15 - Ravel: Bolero, Tzigane, Etc / Perlman
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 61712 Release Date: 08/10/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  James Stagliano,  Itzhak Perlman
    Conductor:  Charles Munch,  André Previn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 124.
    A Musical Painting Comes To Life / David De Bolt, Et Al
    Label: Crystal   Catalog: 841 Release Date: 06/15/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Emmanuel Chabrier,  Desire Dihau,  Theodore Lalliet  ... 
    Performer:  Timothy Ehlen,  David DeBolt,  Jan Meyer Thompson,  Sylvia Villarreal  ... 
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  • 125.
    Ravel: Complete Music For Solo Piano / Abbey Simon
    Label: Vox Box   Catalog: 5012 Release Date: 11/04/1992   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Abbey Simon
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