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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
Faure; Lekeu; Ravel / Tasmin Little, Martin Roscoe
Release Date: 11/18/2014   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 10812   Number of Discs: 1
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Ravel, Debussy / Pierre Boulez [6-CD Set]
Release Date: 05/08/2012   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 001676802   Number of Discs: 6
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Ravel, Chausson: Piano Trios / Wanderer Trio
Release Date: 03/20/2007   Label: Harmonia Mundi Musique D'abord  
Catalog: 1951967   Number of Discs: 1
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Reflections - Ravel, Decaux, Schonberg / Frederic Chiu
Release Date: 02/14/2012   Label: Harmonia Mundi  
Catalog: 1957166   Number of Discs: 1
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Ravel: Daphnis Et Chloé / Petitgirard, Bordeaux Aquitaine
Release Date: 11/21/2006   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8570075   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Rapsodie espagnole

Browse 101-125 of 143 Available Recordings
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  • 101.
    The Monet Collection - Romantic Melodies
    Label: Lifestyles   Catalog: 315018 Release Date: 06/05/2001   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  David Odselashvilli
    Conductor:  Vakhtang Kakhidze,  Jansug Kakhidze,  Stanislav Gorkovenko
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tbilisi Festival Choir,  Tbilisi Symphony Orchestra,  Russian Radio/TV Orchestra of St. Petersburg
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  • 102.
    Durufle: Trois Dances, Et Al / Goldina, Loumbrozo
    Label: Phoenix Usa   Catalog: 135 Release Date: 05/23/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Robert Casadesus,  Maurice Duruflé
    Performer:  Arianna Goldina,  Rémy Loumbrozo
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  • 103.
    Eloquence - Ravel: Boléro, Pavane, Etc / Ozawa, Boston So
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 469628 Release Date: 05/08/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Charles Kavalovski
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
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  • 104.
    French Romance / Anthony Paratore, Joseph Paratore
    Label: Four Winds   Catalog: 3014 Release Date: 03/06/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Darius Milhaud,  Maurice Ravel,  Claude Debussy,  Francis Poulenc
    Performer:  Joseph Paratore,  Anthony Paratore
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  • 105.
    Viva Espana - Tarrega, Bizet, Albeniz, Et Al / Ozawa, Et Al
    Label: Dg Panorama   Catalog: 469253 Release Date: 01/23/2001   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Isaac Albeniz,  Emmanuel Chabrier,  Manuel de Falla,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Narciso Yepes,  Jean-Marc Luisada,  Dino Ciani,  Sviatoslav Richter
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa,  Lorin Maazel,  Ernest Ansermet,  Louis Frémaux  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Suisse Romande Orchestra  ... 
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  • 106.
    Ravel: Bolero, La Valse, Etc / Karajan, Boulez, Et Al
    Label: Dg Panorama   Catalog: 469184 Release Date: 09/26/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Salvatore Accardo,  Martha Argerich
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Seiji Ozawa,  Pierre Boulez,  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Beaux Arts Trio,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Boston Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 107.
    Ravel: Rapsodie Espagnole, Etc / Martinon, Chicago Symphony
    Label: Rca Red Seal Hp   Catalog: 63683 Release Date: 06/06/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Edward Druzinsky,  Donald Peck,  Clark Brody
    Conductor:  Jean Martinon
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
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  • 108.
    Junge Deutsche Philharmonie - Zender, Debussy, Ravel
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 2159 Release Date: 02/22/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Claude Debussy,  Hans Zender
    Conductor:  Kiril Kondrashin,  Pierre Boulez,  Hans Zender
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  German Youth Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra
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  • 109.
    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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  • 110.
    Ravel: L'heure Espagnole, Etc / Previn, London So
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 457590 Release Date: 07/20/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Georges Gautier,  Kurt Ollmann,  David Wilson-Johnson,  John Mark Ainsley  ... 
    Conductor:  André Previn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 111.
    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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  • 112.
    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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  • 113.
    Ravel: Ma Mère L'oye, Rhapsodie Espagnole / Haitink
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 454452 Release Date: 07/14/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
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  • 114.
    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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  • 115.
    The Berlin Gala - A Salute To Carmen / Abbado, Von Otter, Terfel, Pletnev, Shaham, Bpo
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 457583 Release Date: 06/09/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Pablo de Sarasate,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Mikhail Pletnev,  Gil Shaham,  Anne Sofie von Otter,  Bryn Terfel  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Orféon Donostiarra,  South Tirol Children's Choir
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  • 116.
    Martha Argerich Collection Vol 3
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 453576 Release Date: 04/22/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Edgar Guggeis,  Nelson Freire,  Martha Argerich,  Peter Sadlo  ... 
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  • 117.
    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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  • 118.
    Debussy, Rachmaninov, Ravel / Wolfgang Manz, Rolf Plagge
    Label: Thorofon   Catalog: 2297 Release Date: 04/16/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Rolf Plagge,  Wolfgang Manz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Queen Elisabeth Duo
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  • 119.
    Ravel: Valses Nobles Et Sentimentales, Etc / Kent Nagano
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 98479 Release Date: 02/13/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Kent Nagano
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 120.
    Orchestre Des Concerts Lamoureux - Albert Wolff
    Label: Timpani   Catalog: 4024 Release Date: 12/01/1995   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Etienne-Nicolas Méhul,  Hector Berlioz,  Edouard Lalo,  Camille Saint-Saëns  ... 
    Performer:  Jeanne-Marie Darré
    Conductor:  Albert Wolff
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lamoureux Concerts Association Orchestra
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  • 121.
    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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  • 122.
    Ravel: Rhapsodie Espagnole; La Valse; Etc.
    Label: Zyx Records   Catalog: 4195 Release Date: 02/21/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Milan Horvat,  Henry Adolph,  Loic Bertrand
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  • 123.
    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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  • 124.
    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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  • 125.
    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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