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

Debussy, Ravel: Music for Two Pianos / Ashkenazys
Release Date: 08/25/2009   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 001312902   Number of Discs: 1
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Ravel: Piano Concertos, Gaspard de la Nuit / Francois
Release Date: 01/12/1999   Label: Emi Great Recordings Of The Century  
Catalog: 66957   Number of Discs: 1
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Martha Argerich Vol 2 - Liszt, Prokofiev, Ravel
Release Date: 06/10/2014   Label: Doremi Records  
Catalog: 6029   Number of Discs: 1
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Debussy & Ravel On The Organ / Gunnar Idenstam
Release Date: 07/08/2014   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 2049   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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Work: Boléro

Browse 201-225 of 267 Available Recordings
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  • 201.
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 946089 Release Date: 07/03/2000   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Edvard Grieg,  Johann Pachelbel,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Gabriel Fauré  ... 
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  • 202.
    Ravel: Bolero / Fiedler, Koussevitsky, Munch, Tomita, Et Al
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 63670 Release Date: 06/06/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Mario Braggiotti,  Jacques Fray,  Evelyn Glennie,  Morton Gould  ... 
    Conductor:  Eduardo Mata,  Nathaniel Shilkret,  Barry Wordsworth,  Morton Gould  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dallas Symphony Orchestra,  Nathaniel Shilkret Orchestra,  National Philharmonic Orchestra London  ... 
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  • 203.
    Tchaikovsky: Capriccio Italien, Etc / Mata, Dallas Symphony
    Label: Rca Red Seal Hp   Catalog: 63586 Release Date: 06/06/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  George Enescu,  Paul Dukas,  Modest Mussorgsky  ... 
    Conductor:  Eduardo Mata
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dallas Symphony Orchestra
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  • 204.
    The Best of Ravel / Mehta, Monteux, et al
    Label: Eloquence   Catalog: 4666672 Release Date: 05/29/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Pierre Monteux
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 205.
    Bolero! - Orchestral Fireworks / Oue, Minnesota Orchestra
    Label: Reference Recordings   Catalog: 92 Release Date: 03/14/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Emmanuel Chabrier,  Franz Liszt,  Antonín Dvorák,  Otto Klemperer  ... 
    Conductor:  Eiji Oue
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Minnesota Orchestra
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  • 206.
    Ravel: Bolero, La Valse, Daphnis Et Chloe, Suite No. 1, Rhapsodie Espagnole
    Label: Capriccio Records   Catalog: 51162 Release Date: 01/01/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
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  • 207.
    Ravel: Boléro, La Valse, Pavane, Etc / Dutoit, Montreal So
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 460214 Release Date: 11/09/1999   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Montreal Symphony Orchestra
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  • 208.
    Mussorgsky: Pictures At An Exhibition;  Ravel /Maazel, Et Al
    Label: Emi Seraphim   Catalog: 73567 Release Date: 10/19/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky,  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 209.
    Class Brass - Firedance / Empire Brass
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80493 Release Date: 05/25/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Traditional,  Leonard Bernstein,  Antonín Dvorák,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Mark Hetzler,  Rick Tiven,  Richard Flanagan,  Gregory Miller  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Empire Brass
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  • 210.
    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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  • 211.
    Ravel: Bolero, Daphnis Et Chloé / André Previn, London So
    Label: Emi Seraphim   Catalog: 73293 Release Date: 04/20/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  André Previn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 212.
    Classics For The Occasion - Sultry Classics
    Label: Columbia River Entertainment   Catalog: 1053 Release Date: 03/31/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Carl Orff
    Performer:  Sylvia Stahlman,  John Ferrante,  Morley Meredith
    Conductor:  Serge Baudo,  Fritz Mahler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Czech Philharmonic Orchestra,  Chorus,  Hartford Symphony Orchestra
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  • 213.
    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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  • 214.
    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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  • 215.
    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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  • 216.
    Classic Romance - Piano Music / Anthony & Joseph Paratore
    Label: Four Winds   Catalog: 3005 Release Date: 02/17/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Maurice Ravel,  Claude Debussy,  Alexander Scriabin  ... 
    Performer:  Anthony Paratore,  Joseph Paratore
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  • 217.
    25 Classical Dance Favorites
    Label: Vox Cameo Classics   Catalog: 8841 Release Date: 07/01/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Maurice Ravel,  Charles Gounod,  Heitor Villa-Lobos  ... 
    Performer:  Manuel Barrueco
    Conductor:  Carl Michalski,  Peter Falk,  Stanislaw Skrowaczewski,  Alfred Scholz  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Volksoper Orchestra,  Minnesota Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 218.
    Ravel: Bolero, La Valse, Etc / Lorin Maazel, Vienna Po
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 668600 Release Date: 05/20/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 219.
    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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  • 220.
    Ravel: Bolero;  Debussy: L'apres-midi;  Stravinsky / Solti
    Label: London/Decca Jubilee   Catalog: 417704 Release Date: 10/30/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel,  Igor Stravinsky
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
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  • 221.
    Ravel: Bolero, Rapsodie Espagnole, Etc / Abbado, London So
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 415972 Release Date: 08/04/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 222.
    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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  • 223.
    Ravel: Boléro, Daphnis Et Chloë, Pavane / Joó, London So
    Label: Arts Music   Catalog: 47243 Release Date: 06/18/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Arpád Joó
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Ambrosian Singers
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  • 224.
    Ravel: Bolero;  Debussy, Mussorgsky / Karajan, Berlin Po
    Label: Dg The Originals   Catalog: 447426 Release Date: 02/13/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 225.
    Sensual Moments - Classics For Lovers
    Label: Sony Classical Infinity Digital   Catalog: 61976 Release Date: 11/14/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Prokofiev,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco,  Antonín Dvorák  ... 
    Performer:  Nodar Gabunia,  Marcos Tsessos,  Nelly Lee,  Vladimir Shakin
    Conductor:  Alexander Titov,  Vladimir Altschuler,  Arnold Kaz,  Jahni Mardjani  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Petersburg New Classical Orchestra,  St. Petersburg Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra,  Novosibirsk Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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