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
Ravel: L'heure Espagnole, L'enfant Et Les Sortileges / Gadelia, Gay, Oustrac, Madore, Ono
Release Date: 11/12/2013   Label: Fra Musica  
Catalog: 8   Number of Discs: 1
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Bloch: Schelomo; Voice In The Wilderness; Caplet: Epiphanie; Ravel: Kaddish
Release Date: 04/08/2014   Label: Nimbus  
Catalog: 5913   Number of Discs: 1
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Ravel: L'heure Espagnole, L'enfant Et Les Sortileges
Release Date: 02/05/2002   Label: Opera D'oro  
Catalog: 1324   Number of Discs: 2
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Debussy: La Mer; Ravel: La Valse; Dutilleux: L'arbre Des Songes
Release Date: 05/13/2008   Label: Rco Live  
Catalog: 8001   Number of Discs: 1
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Ravel: Gaspard, Valses Nobles Et Sentimentales, Tombeau De Couperin / Neuburger
Release Date: 03/11/2014   Label: Mirare  
Catalog: 232   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Miroirs: Alborada del gracioso

Browse 51-75 of 138 Available Recordings
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  • 51.
    Debussy: Suite Bergamasque; Ravel: Sonatine / Leon Fleisher
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 57307 Release Date: 07/29/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Leon Fleisher
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  • 52.
    Spanish Impressions / Gourlay, Hurdley, Williams Fairey Band
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 4544 Release Date: 07/14/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Martin Ellerby,  Rodney Newton,  Jaime Texidor Dalmau  ... 
    Performer:  Brian Taylor,  Simon Stonehouse
    Conductor:  Bryan Hurdley,  James Gourlay
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Williams Fairey Band
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  • 53.
    Celibidache Conducts Ravel & Debussy
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 3077968 Release Date: 04/29/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Sergiu Celibidache
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 54.
    Falla: El Amor Brujo;  Granados, Ravel / Nati Mistral, Rafael Frühbeck De Burgos, New Philharmonia Orchestra
    Label: Fim (1st Impression)   Catalog: 23 Release Date: 04/22/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Manuel de Falla,  Enrique Granados,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Nati Mistral
    Conductor:  Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 55.
    Debussy: Images, Etc;  Ravel / Simon Rattle, Et Al
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 14565 Release Date: 04/01/2008   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Andrei Gavrilov,  Cécile Ousset,  Maria Ewing
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 56.
    Herbert Von Karajan 2008 - The Great Recordings
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 16091 Release Date: 04/01/2008   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Richard Wagner,  Maurice Ravel,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Ulrich Koch,  Sviatoslav Richter,  David Oistrakh
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Orchestre de Paris,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 57.
    Karajan - Complete Emi Recordings 1946-84 Vol 1 - Orchestral Works
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 12038 Release Date: 04/01/2008   Number of Discs: 88
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Josef Strauss,  E. Nikolaus von Reznicek,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Karl Leister,  Elisabeth Schwarzkopf,  Ernst Haefliger,  Anne-Sophie Mutter  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
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  • 58.
    A Summit Brass Night - Live In Colorado - Debussy, Strauss, Respighi, Etc
    Label: Summit Records   Catalog: 500 Release Date: 03/11/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Warlock,  Ottorino Respighi,  Maurice Ravel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Summit Brass
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  • 59.
    The Essential Leon Fleisher
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 721581 Release Date: 01/15/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Erich Wolfgang Korngold,  Edvard Grieg,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Leon Fleisher,  Jaime Laredo,  Joseph Silverstein,  Yo-Yo Ma  ... 
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa,  George Szell
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  Cleveland Orchestra,  Juilliard String Quartet
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  • 60.
    Lotos Lounge - Music Of Debussy, Ravel, Satie / Rosel, Ousset, Erber
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 1264 Release Date: 10/23/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel,  Erik Satie
    Performer:  Peter Rösel,  Cécile Ousset,  Gerhard Erber
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  • 61.
    Ravel: Orchestral Works / Martinon, Orchestre De Paris
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 892 Release Date: 10/02/2007   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Jean Martinon
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de Paris
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  • 62.
    Ravel: Bolero, Alborada Del Gracioso, Etc / Mata, Dallas So
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 14438 Release Date: 06/25/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Eduardo Mata
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dallas Symphony Orchestra
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  • 63.
    Ravel: Gaspard De La Nuit, Etc / Barto, Et Al
    Label: Ondine   Catalog: 1095 Release Date: 04/10/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Tzimon Barto
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  • 64.
    Tour De France / Quintessenz
    Label: Genuin Musikproduction   Catalog: 87108 Release Date: 01/01/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Georges Bizet,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quintessenz (Flute Ensemble)
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  • 65.
    Satie, Ravel: Gymnopédies, Nocturnes, Etc / Francine Kay
    Label: Analekta   Catalog: 23146 Release Date: 10/26/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Erik Satie,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Francine Kay
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  • 66.
    Leopold Stokowski Conducts Music Of France - Ibert, Et Al
    Label: Music & Arts Programs Of America   Catalog: 4778 Release Date: 10/24/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jacques Ibert,  Maurice Ravel,  Claude Debussy,  Darius Milhaud
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  French National Radio Orchestra,  Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra,  ORTF National Orchestra  ... 
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  • 67.
    Best Piano Classics 100
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 70886 Release Date: 08/29/2006   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Carl Maria von Weber,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Aldo Ciccolini,  John Ogdon,  Stanislav Bunin,  Moura Lympany  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit,  Simon Rattle,  Riccardo Muti,  George Szell  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Borodin String Quartet members,  Montreal Symphony Orchestra,  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 68.
    Ravel: Orchestral Works, Concertos, Etc / Roge, Dutoit
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000639702 Release Date: 07/04/2006   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Timothy Hutchins,  John Zirbel,  Pascal Rogé,  Marie-Francoise Lefort  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Montreal Symphony Chorus,  Montreal Symphony Orchestra
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  • 69.
    Ravel: Daphnis Et Chloe, Rapsodie Espagnole / Barenboim, Chicago So
    Label: Elatus   Catalog: 47327 Release Date: 05/18/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
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  • 70.
    Portraits - Piano Music Of Glass, Ravel, Et Al / Levingston
    Label: Orange Mountain Music   Catalog: 25 Release Date: 05/09/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Erik Satie,  Olivier Messiaen,  Maurice Ravel,  Philip Glass
    Performer:  Bruce Levingston
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  • 71.
    The Very Best Of Ravel
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8552125 Release Date: 04/25/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  François-Joël Thiollier,  David Abramovitz,  Laurent Naouri,  Howard Zhang  ... 
    Conductor:  Antoni Wit,  Adrian Leaper,  Kenneth Jean,  Takuo Yuasa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Slovak Philharmonic Choir  ... 
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  • 72.
    Gemini - Ravel: Orchestral Works / Jean Martinon
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 76960 Release Date: 02/21/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Jean Martinon
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de Paris
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  • 73.
    Bernstein In Paris - The Ravel Concerts
    Label: Kultur Video   Catalog: 1337 Release Date: 01/31/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Boris Belkin,  Marilyn Horne,  Leonard Bernstein
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Orchestra of France
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  • 74.
    Leonard Bernstein - The Concert Collection
    Label: Kultur Video   Catalog: 1525 Release Date: 10/25/2005   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Leonard Bernstein,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
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  • 75.
    Ravel: Bolero, La Valse, Etc / Boulez, Nypo, Et Al
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 92758 Release Date: 10/18/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  Cleveland Orchestra,  Camerata Singers
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