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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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: Guitar Transcriptions / Anders Miolin
Release Date: 08/07/2000   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 886   Number of Discs: 1
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Märta Schéle Sings Debussy, Milhaud, Ravel, Britten, Et Al
Release Date: 12/12/1995   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 34   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Boléro

Browse 226-250 of 267 Available Recordings
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  • 226.
    Ravel: Bolero, Ma Mère L'oye, Etc / Sir Neville Marriner
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 98972 Release Date: 11/01/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
    CD: $12.99
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  • 227.
    An Evening With The Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 68860 Release Date: 10/17/1995   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Emmanuel Chabrier,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Emil Waldteufel  ... 
    Performer:  Michael Rabin,  Leonard Pennario
    Conductor:  Felix Slatkin,  Carmen Dragon,  Miklós Rózsa,  Earl Bernard Murray  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra
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  • 228.
    Art Of Classics - Beliebte Orchesterwerke
    Label: Intercord Klassische Diskothek   Catalog: 25920 Release Date: 05/23/1995   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Alexander Borodin,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Jean Sibelius  ... 
    Conductor:  Siegfried Köhler,  Yan Pascal Tortelier,  Günther Wich,  Gennadi Rozhdestvensky  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Hungarica,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra  ... 
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  • 229.
    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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  • 230.
    The Kiss - Music For Love & Passion
    Label: Intercord Klassische Diskothek   Catalog: 892923 Release Date: 04/18/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Maurice Ravel,  Otto Nicolai,  Franz Liszt  ... 
    Performer:  Jörg Demus,  Roland Keller,  Christian Favre
    Conductor:  Carl-August Bünte,  Ernest Bour,  George Randolph Warren,  Boris Mersson  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Symphony Orchestra,  Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 231.
    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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  • 232.
    Label: Zyx Records   Catalog: 4019 Release Date: 02/21/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Maurice Ravel
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  • 233.
    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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  • 234.
    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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  • 235.
    Ravel: Bolero; Daphnis Et Chloe; La Valse; Rapsodie Espagnole
    Label: Bescol   Catalog: 507 Release Date: 07/20/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
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  • 236.
    A Portrait Of France / Rene Leibowitz
    Label: Chesky Records   Catalog: 57 Release Date: 06/23/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jacques Offenbach,  Maurice Ravel,  Claude Debussy,  Charles Gounod  ... 
    Conductor:  René Leibowitz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris,  London Festival Orchestra
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  • 237.
    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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  • 238.
    Classical Music For People Who Hate Classical Music
    Label: Classical Heritage   Catalog: 1212 Release Date: 06/09/1994   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Johann Strauss Sr.  ... 
    Performer:  Hans-Christoph Becker-Foss,  Anna Lelkes,  Philippe Entremont,  Joseph Brezina  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Salzburg Camerata Academica,  London Festival Orchestra,  Vienna Volksoper Orchestra  ... 
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  • 239.
    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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  • 240.
    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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  • 241.
    Ravel: Works For 4 Hand Piano / Van Doeselaar, Jordans
    Label: Etcetera Records   Catalog: 1054 Release Date: 04/13/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Wyneke Jordans,  Leo van Doeselaar
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  • 242.
    Ravel: Music For Two Pianos / Dag Achatz, Yukie Nagai
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 489 Release Date: 03/25/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Inzuki "Yukie" Nagai,  Dag Achatz
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  • 243.
    Ravel: Bolero, Etc; Debussy: Images / Munch, Boston Symphony
    Label: Rca Victor Living Stereo   Catalog: 61956 Release Date: 03/15/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Charles Munch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
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  • 244.
    101 Great Orchestral Classics Vol 6
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 551146 Release Date: 02/15/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Robert Schumann,  Josef Strauss,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Jénö Jandó,  Takako Nishizaki
    Conductor:  Anthony Bramall,  András Ligeti,  Ondrej Lenárd,  Stephen Gunzenhauser  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra,  Budapest Symphony Orchestra,  Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 245.
    Orchestral Spectacular
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8550501 Release Date: 02/15/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Emmanuel Chabrier,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Maurice Ravel,  Modest Mussorgsky  ... 
    Conductor:  Adrian Leaper
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 246.
    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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  • 247.
    Classics For All Seasons - Summer
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80324 Release Date: 05/25/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Claude Debussy,  Gabriel Fauré,  Ernesto Lecuona  ... 
    Performer:  Yolanda Kondonassis,  Henryk Tritt
    Conductor:  Jesús Lopez-Cobos,  Leonard Slatkin,  Erich Kunzel,  Christoph von Dohnányi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra,  St. Louis Symphony Orchestra,  Cincinnati Pops  ... 
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  • 248.
    Karajan Gold - Mussorgsky: Pictures;  Ravel / Berlin Po
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 439013 Release Date: 02/01/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky,  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 249.
    Ravel: Music For Four Hands / Louis Lortie, Hélène Mercier
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 8905 Release Date: 10/28/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Helene Mercier,  Louis Lortie
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  • 250.
    Ravel: Bolero, Rapsodie Espagnole / Barenboim, Chicago So
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 45766 Release Date: 10/13/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Donald Peck
    Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
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