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 sortilčges, 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: Daphnis Et Chloe / Haitink, London Philharmonic
Release Date: 03/27/2012   Label: Lpo  
Catalog: 59   Number of Discs: 1
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Ravel Orchestrations - Pictures At An Exhibition, Etc / Oue
Release Date: 09/23/1997   Label: Reference Recordings  
Catalog: 79   Number of Discs: 1
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20th Century Miniatures Vol 2 - Ravel, Et Al / Hahn, Parkin
Release Date: 01/23/2001   Label: Somm  
Catalog: 18   Number of Discs: 1
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Ravel: Music For Two Pianos / Micallef-inanga Piano Duo
Release Date: 07/16/2002   Label: Somm  
Catalog: 25   Number of Discs: 1
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Beethoven, Mozart, Ravel / Imogen Cooper
Release Date: 11/06/2007   Label: Wigmore Hall Live  
Catalog: 18   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Rapsodie espagnole

Browse 1-25 of 119 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Maurice Ravel / Svetlanov, USSR State Academic Symphony
    Label: Melodiya   Catalog: MELCD1002338 Release Date: 06/10/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Yevgeny Svetlanov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  USSR State Academic Symphony Orchestra
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  • 2.
    Un siecle de musique francaise (A Century of French Music)
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88875192862 Release Date: 05/13/2016   Number of Discs: 25
    Composer:  Hector Berlioz,  Pierre Boulez,  Emmanuel Chabrier,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Michel Dalberto,  Jean-Guihen Queyras,  Mathieu Dufour,  Eric Le Sage  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Munch,  Pierre Boulez,  Leonard Bernstein,  Hans Graf  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Trinity College Choir,  Cambridge Trinity College Choir,  Ensemble Incanto  ... 
    CD: $39.99
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  • 3.
    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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  • 4.
    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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  • 5.
    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
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  • 6.
    Pierre Boulez conducts Ravel
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88875108732 Release Date: 11/13/2015   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Philippe Entremont,  Jill Gomez,  Jessye Norman,  José Van Dam  ... 
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez,  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  Camerata Singers,  Cleveland Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $22.99
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  • 7.
    Martha Argerich: The Complete Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002364402 Release Date: 09/25/2015   Number of Discs: 48
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Johannes Brahms,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Martha Argerich,  Guy Touvron,  Gidon Kremer,  Alexandre Gurning  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Charles Dutoit,  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Jörg Faerber  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 8.
    Jean Martinon - The Complete CSO Recordings
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 88843062752 Release Date: 07/31/2015   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Georges Bizet,  Robert Casadesus,  Paul Hindemith  ... 
    Conductor:  Jean Martinon
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
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  • 9.
    Pierre Boulez - 20th Century
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002250902 Release Date: 02/10/2015   Number of Discs: 44
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Alban Berg,  Harrison Birtwistle,  Pierre Boulez  ... 
    Performer:  John Tomlinson,  John Aler,  Krystian Zimerman,  Leif Ove Andsnes  ... 
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez,  Martyn Brabbins
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Chorus,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $279.49
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  • 10.
    Claudio Abbado New Years Eve Concerts Box [3 Blu-rays]
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2013504 Release Date: 01/27/2015   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Pablo de Sarasate,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Anne Sofie von Otter,  Bryn Terfel,  Roberto Alagna,  Mikhail Pletnev  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Swedish Radio Chorus
    Blu-ray Video: $88.99
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  • 11.
    Karajan - 1980s
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002187902 Release Date: 12/09/2014   Number of Discs: 78
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Anton Bruckner,  Johannes Brahms,  Jacques Offenbach  ... 
    Performer:  David Bell,  José Van Dam,  Barbara Hendricks,  Gösta Winbergh  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Domenico Bartolucci
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein  ... 
    CD: $245.99
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  • 12.
    Pierre Boulez: The Complete Columbia Album Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 301333 Release Date: 11/24/2014   Number of Discs: 67
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Alexander Scriabin,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Alban Berg  ... 
    Performer:  Karl Dönch,  Isabel Strauss,  Walter Berry,  Fritz Uhl  ... 
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez,  Anton Webern
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  Camerata Singers,  Schola Cantorum New York  ... 
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  • 13.
    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  ... 
    CD: $21.99
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  • 14.
    Karajan: Orchestra Spectaculars From Handel To Bartok
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 633621 Release Date: 05/27/2014   Number of Discs: 13
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius,  Benjamin Britten,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 15.
    Ravel: Boléro, Etc / Skrowaczewski, Minnesota Orchestra
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 1206 Release Date: 05/12/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Stanislaw Skrowaczewski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Minnesota Orchestra
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  • 16.
    Ravel: Orchestral Works - Saint-Saens: Organ Symphony / Morlot, Seattle Symphony
    Label: Seattle Symphony Orchestra   Catalog: 1002 Release Date: 04/29/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Camille Saint-Saëns
    Performer:  Joseph Adam
    Conductor:  Ludovic Morlot
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Seattle Symphony Orchestra
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  • 17.
    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  ... 
    Recommendation
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  • 18.
    Teldec - 50-CD Collection
    Label: Teldec   Catalog: 643851 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Antonín Dvorák,  Franz Joseph Haydn  ... 
    Performer:  András Schiff,  Josef Protschka,  Barbara Bonney,  Edita Gruberova  ... 
    Conductor:  Iván Fischer,  Nikolaus Harnoncourt,  Carlo Rizzi,  Reinbert De Leeuw  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Budapest Festival Orchestra,  Chamber Orchestra of Europe,  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $299.98
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  • 19.
    Ernest Ansermet - French Music
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 4807898 Release Date: 11/12/2013   Number of Discs: 32
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Hector Berlioz  ... 
    Performer:  Robert Gugolz,  Marie-Luise de Montmollin,  Nancy Waugh,  Suzanne Danco  ... 
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  Union Chorale de la Tour-de-Peilz,  Geneva Motet Choir  ... 
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  • 20.
    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 Denčve
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  • 21.
    Fritz Reiner - The Complete RCA Album Collection
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 370198 Release Date: 10/15/2013   Number of Discs: 63
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Johannes Brahms,  Rolf Liebermann,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Artur Rubinstein,  Jascha Heifetz,  Emil Gilels,  Inge Borkh  ... 
    Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Chicago Lyric Theatre Chorus,  Studio Orchestra
    Recommendation
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  • 22.
    Milhaud, Brahms, De Falla, Ravel
    Label: Maguelone   Catalog: 111151 Release Date: 08/27/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Darius Milhaud,  Johannes Brahms,  Manuel de Falla,  Maurice Ravel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Duo Scaramouche (Piano Duo)
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  • 23.
    Debussy: La mer, Prelude a l'apres-midi d'un faune; Ravel, Saint-Saens / Pascal & Ami Roge
    Label: Onyx   Catalog: 4117 Release Date: 07/09/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel,  Camille Saint-Saëns
    Performer:  Ami Rogé,  Pascal Rogé
    CD: $20.99
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  • 24.
    Mercury Living Presence - The Collector's Edition Vol 2
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001831802 Release Date: 06/04/2013   Number of Discs: 55
    Composer:  Arnold Schoenberg,  Anton Webern,  Alban Berg,  Ottorino Respighi  ... 
    Performer:  Helga Pilarczyk,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Mihaly Székely,  Olga Szönyi  ... 
    Conductor:  Antal Doráti,  Rafael Kubelik,  Anatole Fistoulari,  Frederick Fennell  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Hungarica  ... 
    CD: $181.49
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  • 25.
    Maurice Ravel: Rapsodie Espagnole; Pavane Pour Une Infante Defunte; Daphnis & Chloe
    Label: Praga   Catalog: 350073 Release Date: 05/14/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Pierre Monteux
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