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
Gershwin, Ravel, Debussy / O'Riley, Wordsworth, Royal PO
Release Date: 08/11/2009   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 28050   Number of Discs: 1
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Mussorgsky: Pictures At An Exhibition; Ravel: Daphnis Et Chloe, La Valse / Casadesus
Release Date: 05/10/2011   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 28180   Number of Discs: 1
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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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Franck: Sonata For Violin & Piano; Ravel: Piano Trio / Bieber, Dinnebier, Lang
Release Date: 11/12/2005   Label: Genuin Musikproduction  
Catalog: 85512   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Boléro

Browse 1-25 of 262 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Ferenc Fricsay: Complete Recordings On Deutsche Grammophon, Vol. 1 - Orchestral Works
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002132602 Release Date: 09/02/2014   Number of Discs: 45
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  César Franck  ... 
    Performer:  Géza Anda,  Tibor Varga,  Helmut Krebs,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau  ... 
    Conductor:  Ferenc Fricsay
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin RIAS Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 2.
    Pierre Boulez: 3 Classic Albums [limited Edition]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002093202 Release Date: 07/15/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Krystian Zimerman
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Cleveland Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 3.
    Ravel: Bolero, Pavane, Daphnis et Chloe Suite No. 2 / Previn, London Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Hi-q Records   Catalog: 22 Release Date: 07/15/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  André Previn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 4.
    Debussy & Ravel On The Organ / Gunnar Idenstam
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 2049 Release Date: 07/08/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Gunnar Idenstam
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  • 5.
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 35342 Release Date: 06/03/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Erik Satie,  George Frideric Handel,  Domenico Scarlatti  ... 
    Performer:  Jacques Loussier,  André Arpino,  Vincent Charbonnier,  Benoit Dunoyer DeSegonzac
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  • 6.
    RCA Living Stereo Collection Vol 1
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 541497 Release Date: 04/15/2014   Number of Discs: 60
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Claude Debussy,  Jacques Ibert,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Berj Zamkochian,  John Weicher,  Philip Farkas,  Jascha Heifetz  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Munch,  Fritz Reiner,  Kiril Kondrashin,  Arthur Fiedler  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  New England Conservatory Chorus,  New England Conservatory Alumni Chorus  ... 
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  • 7.
    Jacques Loussier Trio Play Bach ...and More [blu-ray]
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2054064 Release Date: 02/25/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Claude Debussy,  Erik Satie,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  André Arpino,  Benoît Dunoyer de Segonzac,  Jacques Loussier
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Jacques Loussier Trio
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  • 8.
    Bolero - Works By Ravel, Pierne, Escaich, Francaix / Ellipsos Quartet
    Label: Genuin Musikproduction   Catalog: 14543 Release Date: 01/28/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Gabriel Pierné,  Thierry Escaich,  Jean Françaix
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ellipsos Quartet
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  • 9.
    Maurice Ravel: La Valse; Ma Mere L'oye; Tzigane; Bolero; Pavane
    Label: Tacet   Catalog: 207 Release Date: 01/28/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Gordan Nikolic
    Conductor:  Carlo Rizzi
    Blu-ray Audio: $21.49
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  • 10.
    Decca Sound - The Analogue Years
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001934702 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 54
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Anton Bruckner,  Arnold Schoenberg,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Pascal Rogé,  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Marilyn Horne,  Luciano Pavarotti  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit,  Sir Georg Solti,  Bernard Haitink,  Horst Stein  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $169.98
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  • 11.
    Ravel: Bolero
    Label: Lim   Catalog: 63 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Forrest,  Georges Bizet,  Maurice Ravel,  Isaac Albeniz
    Conductor:  Erich Kunzel
    On sale! $43.98
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  • 12.
    Cancion / Milos Karadaglic
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001938302 Release Date: 11/05/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Consuelo Velazquez,  Jorge Ben,  Antonio Carlos Jobim,  Armando Manzanero  ... 
    Performer:  Milos Karadaglic
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  • 13.
    Classiques Francais - Works By Dukas, Bizet, Francaix, Ravel / Clamor
    Label: Genuin Musikproduction   Catalog: 13291 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Paul Dukas,  Georges Bizet,  Maurice Ravel,  Jean Françaix
    Performer:  Sven Geipel
    Conductor:  Thomas Clamor
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  • 14.
    Ravel: Orchestral Works Vol 1 / Deneve, Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 93305 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Stéphane Denève
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  • 15.
    Berlin Philharmonic - Centenary Edition
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001923302 Release Date: 10/22/2013   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Hector Berlioz,  Richard Wagner,  Richard Strauss  ... 
    Performer:  Géza Anda,  Walter Berry,  Gundula Janowitz,  Hilde Rössl-Majdan  ... 
    Conductor:  Arthur Nikisch,  Alfred Hertz,  Richard Strauss,  Bruno Walter  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein,  Swedish Radio Chorus  ... 
    On sale! $149.98
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  • 16.
    Maurice Ravel: La Valse; Ma Mere L'oye; Tzigane; Bolero; Pavane
    Label: Tacet   Catalog: 207 Release Date: 09/24/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Gordan Nikolic
    Conductor:  Carlo Rizzi
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  • 17.
    Ravel: Bolero
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001875302 Release Date: 09/03/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Myron Bloom,  Michel Debost
    Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim
    CD: $11.99
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  • 18.
    Ravel: Bolero - Orchestral Masterpieces
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 2564651447 Release Date: 08/27/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Francois-René Duchable,  Pierre Amoyal,  Rachel Yakar,  Jean-Claude Hermengat  ... 
    Conductor:  Armin Jordan
    CD: $24.99
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  • 19.
    Transcriptions / Grau Schumacher Piano Duo
    Label: Neos   Catalog: 20903 Release Date: 07/02/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Richard Wagner,  Sergei Rachmaninov  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  GrauSchumacher Piano Duo
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  • 20.
    Label: Abc Classics   Catalog: 1139364 Release Date: 06/11/2013   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Ennio Morricone,  John T. Williams,  Howard Shore,  Vangelis  ... 
    Performer:  Diana Doherty,  Mark Ayres,  Sally Herbert,  Roger Woodward  ... 
    Conductor:  Mark Summerbell,  Zubin Mehta,  Nic Raine,  Paul Bateman  ... 
    On sale! $75.99
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  • 21.
    Libor Pesek: The Gold Collection
    Label: Supraphon   Catalog: 4132 Release Date: 05/28/2013   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Claude Debussy,  Josef Suk,  Anton Bruckner  ... 
    Performer:  Michaela Fukacova,  Garrick Ohlsson,  Petr Skvor,  Eva Depoltová
    Conductor:  Libor Pesek
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Czech Philharmonic Orchestra,  Kühn Mixed Chorus,  Brno State Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $29.99
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  • 22.
    Stravinsky: Le Sacre Du Printemps; Ravel, Debussy / Jordan, Paris National Opera
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 5332 Release Date: 05/28/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Igor Stravinsky,  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Armin Jordan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris National Opera Orchestra
    CD: $17.99
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  • 23.
    Latino Gold
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 1044145 Release Date: 03/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Astor Piazzolla,  Jorge Ben,  Consuelo Velazquez,  Antonio Carlos Jobim  ... 
    Performer:  Ksenija Sidorova,  Milos Karadaglic,  Anna Prohaska
    Conductor:  Christoph Israel
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  • 24.
    Icon - Constantin Silvestri [15-CD Set]
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 233472 Release Date: 02/05/2013   Number of Discs: 15
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  George Enescu,  Franz Liszt  ... 
    Conductor:  Constantin Silvestri
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris  ... 
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  • 25.
    Mambos Y Fanfarria! / Clamor, Banda Sinfonica Juventil Simon Bolivar
    Label: Genuin Musikproduction   Catalog: 13260 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giancarlo C. d'Addona,  Eugenio Toussaint,  Alberto Ginastera,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Victor Mendoza,  Valdemar Rodríguez
    Conductor:  Thomas Clamor
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela,  El Sistema Symphonic Wind Ensemble
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