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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
Pierre Boulez conducts Ravel
Release Date: 11/13/2015   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 88875108732   Number of Discs: 5
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Ravel: Orchestral Works, Vol. 4 - Daphnis et Chloe / Slatkin, Spirito, Lyon National Orchestra
Release Date: 01/13/2017   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8573545   Number of Discs: 1
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Ravel: Orchestral Works, Vol. 5 / Slatkin, Orchestre National de Lyon
Release Date: 04/14/2017   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8573448   Number of Discs: 1
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Ravel: Piano Favourites / François-joël Thiollier
Release Date: 09/17/2002   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8555798   Number of Discs: 1
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Ravel, Shostakovich  / Scottish Ensemble
Release Date: 02/10/2015   Label: Linn Records  
Catalog: 215   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Boléro

Browse 1-25 of 210 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Boston Symphony Orchestra: Complete Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 4797718 Release Date: 10/20/2017   Number of Discs: 57
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel,  Alexander Scriabin,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Paul Zukofsky,  Christoph Eschenbach,  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Teresa Berganza  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Michael Tilson Thomas,  William Steinberg,  Rafael Kubelik  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  Boston Symphony Chamber Players
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  • 2.
    La Symphonie de Poche / Simon, Nemtanu, Cussac
    Label: Pavane   Catalog: 7586 Release Date: 10/06/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Edouard Lalo,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Deborah Nemtanu,  Pierre Cussac
    Conductor:  Nicolas Simon
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Symphonie de Poche
    CD: $14.99
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  • 3.
    Shall We Dance / Andre Rieu
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002735502 Release Date: 10/06/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Anthony Hopkins,  Nino Rota  ... 
    Conductor:  André Rieu
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Johann Strauss Orchestra
    CD: $13.99
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  • 4.
    Shall We Dance / Andre Rieu [CD + DVD]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002735600 Release Date: 10/06/2017   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Anthony Hopkins,  Nino Rota  ... 
    Conductor:  André Rieu
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Johann Strauss Orchestra
    CD: $18.99
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  • 5.
    Sir Georg Solti: The Complete Chicago Recordings
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 4831375 Release Date: 09/15/2017   Number of Discs: 108
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Hector Berlioz,  Gioachino Rossini  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
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  • 6.
    DG 111: The Conductors / Various
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 4797477 Release Date: 08/04/2017   Number of Discs: 40
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel,  Alexander Scriabin,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Gaston Litaize,  Alain Moglia,  Luben Yordanoff,  Christa Ludwig  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Daniel Barenboim,  Leonard Bernstein,  Karl Böhm  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  New England Conservatory Chorus,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $138.99
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  • 7.
    Andre Cluytens: The Complete Orchestral & Concerto Recordings
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 562261 Release Date: 06/16/2017   Number of Discs: 65
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Richard Strauss,  Raoul Laparra,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Monique de la Bruchollerie,  Marcelle Meyer,  Zino Francescatti,  Jeanne-Marie Darré  ... 
    Conductor:  André Cluytens
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire,  Le Grand Orchestre Symphonique Columbia,  Orchestre du Theatre National de l'Opera-Comique  ... 
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    CD: $84.99
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  • 8.
    Louis Fremaux Icon: Complete Birmingham Years
    Label: Wb / Parlophone   Catalog: 560476 Release Date: 04/21/2017   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Hector Berlioz,  Jules Massenet,  Georges Bizet,  Edouard Lalo  ... 
    Conductor:  Louis Frémaux
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $33.99
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  • 9.
    New York Philharmonic: 175th Anniversary Edition
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 533636 Release Date: 04/07/2017   Number of Discs: 65
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Richard Strauss,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Ambroise Thomas  ... 
    Performer:  Oscar Levant,  Robert Casadesus,  Isaac Stern,  Yo-Yo Ma
    Conductor:  Willem Mengelberg,  Josef Stransky,  Arturo Toscanini,  Sir John Barbirolli  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
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  • 10.
    50 Classical Masterworks
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002596702 Release Date: 12/02/2016   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Bedrich Smetana,  Johannes Brahms,  Antonín Dvorák  ... 
    Performer:  David Garrett,  Hélène Grimaud,  Max Richter,  Daniel Hope  ... 
    Conductor:  Gustavo Dudamel,  Rafael Kubelik,  Herbert von Karajan,  André de Ridder  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  Konzerthaus Kammerorchester Berlin  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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  • 11.
    Charles Munch: The Complete RCA Album Collection
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 516979 Release Date: 10/28/2016   Number of Discs: 86
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert,  Vincent D'Indy  ... 
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Artur Rubinstein,  Margaret Roggero,  Leslie Chabey  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Munch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  Harvard Glee Club  ... 
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  • 12.
    The Golden Era of Living Stereo: Remastered Collector's Edition
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 532174 Release Date: 10/28/2016   Number of Discs: 60
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Robert Schumann,  Pietro Nardini,  Dmitri Shostakovich  ... 
    Performer:  Stuart Sankey,  Ania Dorfmann,  Leonid Kogan,  Andrei Mitnik  ... 
    Conductor:  Howard Mitchell,  Arthur Fiedler,  Arturo Basile,  Robert Shaw  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Festival Quartet,  Portland Symphonic Choir,  Choir Of The Abbey Of Mount Angel  ... 
    On sale! $149.98
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  • 13.
    Mravinsky Edition, Vol. 1
    Label: Profil   Catalog: 15000 Release Date: 10/14/2016   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter
    Conductor:  Yevgeny Mravinsky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $29.99
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  • 14.
    Summer Night Concert 2016 / Bychkov, Wiener Philharmoniker
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 31354 Release Date: 08/12/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hector Berlioz,  Francis Poulenc,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Katia Labèque,  Marielle Labèque
    Conductor:  Semyon Bychkov
    CD: $11.99
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  • 15.
    Ravel: Orchestral Works / Cluytens, Francois, Paris Conservatoire Orchestra
    Label: Urania Records   Catalog: 268 Release Date: 07/29/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Samson François
    Conductor:  André Cluytens
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Conservatoire Orchestra
    CD: $29.99
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  • 16.
    Purple Classics Presents: The Classical Music Collection
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8578336 Release Date: 06/17/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Edvard Grieg,  Franz Liszt,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Håvard Gimse,  Jenö Jandó,  Lucy Van Dael
    Conductor:  Richard Edlinger,  Bjarte Engeset,  Alexander Rahbari,  Barry Wordsworth  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra,  Royal Scottish National Orchestra,  Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $9.99
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  • 17.
    Discover Symphonic Music
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 0300718 Release Date: 05/27/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Bedrich Smetana,  Maurice Ravel,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Antonín Dvorák  ... 
    Conductor:  Václav Neumann,  Günther Herbig,  Rolf Kleinert,  Otmar Suitner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra,  Berlin Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $11.99
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  • 18.
    Un siecle de musique francaise (A Century of French Music)
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88875192862 Release Date: 05/13/2016   Number of Discs: 25
    Composer:  Pierre Boulez,  Claude Debussy,  Erik Satie,  Olivier Messiaen  ... 
    Performer:  Yvonne Minton,  Gervase de Peyer,  Michel Dalberto,  Daniel Varsano  ... 
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez,  Charles Munch,  Seiji Ozawa,  Richard Marlow  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Musique Vivante,  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Cleveland Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $39.99
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  • 19.
    Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition - Ravel: Bolero / Karajan, Berliner Philharmoniker [Vinyl]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: B002475101 Release Date: 04/29/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky,  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
    LP: $25.49
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  • 20.
    Ravel: Complete Orchestral Works / Bringuier, Tonhalle-Orchester Zurich
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002463002 Release Date: 04/15/2016   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Ray Chen,  Yuja Wang
    Conductor:  Lionel Bringuier
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra
    CD: $44.49
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  • 21.
    Piano Duos & Concert / Argerich, Barenboim, West-Eastern Divan Orchestra
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 27281 Release Date: 04/08/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Robert Schumann,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Martha Argerich,  Daniel Barenboim,  Linor Katz,  Kian Soltani  ... 
    Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  West-Eastern Divan Orchestra
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  • 22.
    Decca Sound – Dutoit: The Montreal Years
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002449102 Release Date: 02/19/2016   Number of Discs: 35
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Ernest Chausson,  Manuel de Falla  ... 
    Performer:  Pascal Rogé,  Timothy Hutchins,  Beverly Hoch,  Stanford Olsen  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Montreal Symphony Orchestra,  Montreal Symphony Chorus
    CD: $137.49
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  • 23.
    Ravel: Daphnis et Chloe; Bolero; Pavane / Gergiev, London Symphony
    Label: Lso Live   Catalog: 696 Release Date: 02/12/2016   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Valery Gergiev
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Chorus
    SuperAudio CD: $18.99
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  • 24.
    Ravel: Bolero / Cleveland Orchestra, Dohnanyi
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 553998 Release Date: 01/29/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Christoph von Dohnányi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
    CD: $13.99
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  • 25.
    The Decca Sound [Repackaged Edition]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002434502 Release Date: 01/29/2016   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Manuel de Falla,  Claude Debussy,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Enrique Granados  ... 
    Performer:  Teresa Berganza,  Alfredo Campoli,  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Cecilia Bartoli  ... 
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet,  Ataulfo Argenta,  Anatole Fistoulari,  Vladimir Ashkenazy  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $181.49
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