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: Chansons Madecasses, Sites Auriculaires / DeGaetani, Kalish, Jacobs
Release Date: 05/07/1992   Label: Nonesuch  
Catalog: 71355   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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Ravel: Piano Works / Vlado Perlemuter
Release Date: 05/07/1996   Label: Nimbus  
Catalog: 7713   Number of Discs: 2
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Ravel: Trio; Faure: Trio; Debussy: Violin Sonata; Cello Sonata
Release Date: 10/08/2013   Label: Nimbus  
Catalog: 5905   Number of Discs: 1
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Ravel: Gaspard, Valses Nobles Et Sentimentales, Tombeau De Couperin / Neuburger
Release Date: 03/11/2014   Label: Mirare  
Catalog: 232   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Rapsodie espagnole

Browse 1-25 of 159 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    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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  • 2.
    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
    CD: $78.99
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  • 3.
    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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  • 4.
    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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  • 5.
    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  ... 
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  • 6.
    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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  • 7.
    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  ... 
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  • 8.
    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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  • 9.
    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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  • 10.
    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
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  • 11.
    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: $175.49
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  • 12.
    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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  • 13.
    Rapsodie Espagnole / Trio Hoboken
    Label: Anima Records (Classical)   Catalog: 121000001 Release Date: 03/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Joaquin Turina,  Emmanuel Chabrier
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hoboken Trio
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  • 14.
    Paris 1913
    Label: Wide Bench Records   Catalog: 5638086994 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky,  Erik Satie,  Francis Poulenc,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  4HandsLA
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  • 15.
    Stravinsky: Le Sacre Du Printemps; Hindemith: Sonate For Piano Hour Hands; Ravel: Rhapsodie Espagnole
    Label: Odradek   Catalog: 301 Release Date: 02/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky,  Paul Hindemith,  Maurice Ravel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Duo Miho & Masumi Hio (Piano Duo)
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  • 16.
    Icon - Constantin Silvestri [15-CD Set]
    Label: Warner 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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  • 17.
    Pas De Deux - French Music For Piano Duo / Mona & Rica Bard
    Label: Audite   Catalog: 92672 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Darius Milhaud,  Maurice Ravel,  Georges Bizet,  Francis Poulenc
    Performer:  Mona Bard,  Rica Bard
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  • 18.
    Ravel: Orchestral Music, Vol. 1 / Slatkin, Orchestre National De Lyon
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8572887 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lyon National Orchestra
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  • 19.
    Ravel: Orchestral Music, Vol. 1 / Slatkin, Orchestre National De Lyon [blu-ray Audio]
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 30 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lyon National Orchestra
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  • 20.
    Eugene Ormandy Conducts 20th Century Classics
    Label: Sony (Nax615)   Catalog: 417202 Release Date: 11/06/2012   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Gustav Holst,  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel,  Modest Mussorgsky  ... 
    Performer:  John Williams,  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Van Cliburn,  Isaac Stern  ... 
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra,  Mendelssohn Club Chorus Philadelphia,  Rutgers University Chorus
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  • 21.
    Ravel Complete Edition [14-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001728702 Release Date: 10/09/2012   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  François-Joël Thiollier,  Jean-Yves Thibaudet,  Pierre-Laurent Aimard,  Ivo Pogorelich  ... 
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle,  Charles Dutoit,  Ernest Ansermet,  John Eliot Gardiner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Melos Ensemble London,  Nash Ensemble,  Melos String Quartet Stuttgart  ... 
    CD: $83.49
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  • 22.
    Ravel: Bolero; Rapsodie Espagnole
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001702602 Release Date: 07/24/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa
    CD: $8.99
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  • 23.
    Sergiu Celibidache / Celibidache, Munchner Philharmoniker
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2059118 Release Date: 05/29/2012   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Johannes Brahms,  Antonín Dvorák  ... 
    Conductor:  Sergiu Celibidache
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Philharmonic Orchestra,  Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra
    DVD: $39.99
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  • 24.
    Ravel, Debussy / Pierre Boulez [6-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001676802 Release Date: 05/08/2012   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Franklin Cohen,  Anne Sofie von Otter,  Lisa Wellbaum,  Alison Hagley  ... 
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra,  Cleveland Orchestra Chorus,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 25.
    Eduard Van Beinum Conducts Haydn, Brahms & Ravel
    Label: Dutton Laboratories/Vocalion   Catalog: 9812 Release Date: 04/10/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Johannes Brahms,  Maurice Ravel,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Eduard Van Beinum
    CD: $12.99
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