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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: Daphnis Et Chloé / Petitgirard, Bordeaux Aquitaine
Release Date: 11/21/2006   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8570075   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: Rapsodie Espagnole, Pavane, Etc / Kenneth Jean
Release Date: 02/15/1994   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8550424   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Rapsodie espagnole

Browse 26-50 of 143 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    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
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  • 27.
    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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  • 28.
    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
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  • 29.
    Handel: Concerto Grosso; R. Strauss: Til Eulenspiegels; Don Juan; Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No. 3; Ravel: Rhapsodie Espagnole
    Label: Somm   Catalog: 3100 Release Date: 03/13/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Richard Strauss,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
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  • 30.
    Bolero - Best Of Ravel
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 7317132 Release Date: 02/14/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
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  • 31.
    The Spanish Experience
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 671885 Release Date: 11/15/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Joaquin Rodrigo,  Enrique Granados,  Francisco Tarrega,  Manuel de Falla  ... 
    Performer:  Sharon Isbin,  Jean-François Heisser,  Wolfgang Lendle,  Jennifer Larmore  ... 
    Conductor:  José Serebrier,  Armin Jordan,  Giuseppe Sinopoli,  Alain Lombard  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pro Cantione Antiqua
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  • 32.
    Bbc Legends: Stokowski
    Label: Bbc Legends   Catalog: 50072 Release Date: 09/27/2011   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler,  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Otto Klemperer  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Janet Baker,  Rae Woodland
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Goldsmiths' Choral Union,  BBC Choral Society  ... 
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  • 33.
    Ravel: Daphnis Et Chloe Suite No. 2; Rapsodie Espagnole; Bolero; Une Barque Sur L'ocean
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 97987 Release Date: 08/09/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Murray Panitz
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti
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  • 34.
    Ravel: Orchestral Works / Haitink, Concertgebouw
    Label: Newton Classics   Catalog: 8802068 Release Date: 06/28/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
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  • 35.
    Celibidache - The Complete Rias Recordings
    Label: Audite   Catalog: 21406 Release Date: 05/31/2011   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  George Gershwin,  Ferruccio Busoni,  Luigi Cherubini,  Paul Hindemith  ... 
    Performer:  Gerhard Puchelt,  Siegfried Borries,  Gustav Scheck
    Conductor:  Sergiu Celibidache
    CD: $29.99
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  • 36.
    Ravel: Bolero, La Valse, Rapsodie Espagnole / Maazel, Orchestre National De France
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 7710922 Release Date: 03/29/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  ORTF National Orchestra
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  • 37.
    Ravel: Complete Works For Piano Duet / Thorson, Thurber
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94176 Release Date: 03/22/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Ingryd Thorson,  Julien Thurber
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  • 38.
    Ravel: Music For Two Pianos / Stephen Coombs And Christopher Scott
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 1356 Release Date: 02/22/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Stephen Coombs,  Christopher Scott,  Yuki Matsuzawa
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  • 39.
    A Festival Of Ballet
    Label: Tgg Direct   Catalog: 60207 Release Date: 02/15/2011   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Alexander Borodin,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Paul Dukas  ... 
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  • 40.
    A Tribute To Spain / Ansermet, Rubinstein, Suisse Romande
    Label: Cascavelle   Catalog: 3134 Release Date: 01/11/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Manuel de Falla,  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Artur Rubinstein
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra
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  • 41.
    One Piano Four Hands / York2
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 5866 Release Date: 01/11/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky,  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Fiona York,  John York
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  York2 Piano Duo
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  • 42.
    Ravel, Debussy: Piano Music For 4 Hands / Kontarsky Duo
    Label: Dg Galleria   Catalog: 427259 Release Date: 11/23/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Alfons Kontarsky,  Aloys Kontarsky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kontarsky Duo
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  • 43.
    Martha Argerich - The Collection 3 - Chamber Ensembles
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001476502 Release Date: 10/12/2010   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Johannes Brahms,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Martha Argerich,  Nelson Freire,  Mikhail Pletnev,  Gidon Kremer  ... 
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  • 44.
    Iduo Plays Rachmaninoff, Ravel, Debussy
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 3405 Release Date: 09/28/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  iDuo
    CD: $17.99
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  • 45.
    Giulini In America I
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001456002 Release Date: 09/14/2010   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Claude Debussy,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 46.
    Debussy: Iberia; Ravel: Alborada Del Gracioso, Rapsodie Espagnole / Celibidache
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 453196 Release Date: 06/28/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Claude Debussy
    Conductor:  Sergiu Celibidache
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 47.
    Eduardo Mata Edition Vol 3 - Ravel
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 30979 Release Date: 05/13/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Tedd Joselson
    Conductor:  Eduardo Mata
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dallas Symphony Orchestra,  Dallas Symphony Chorus
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  • 48.
    Argerich & Friends Live From Lugano 2009
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 07367 Release Date: 04/06/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Manuel de Falla,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Mikhail Glinka  ... 
    Performer:  Karin Lechner,  Sergio Tiempo,  Martha Argerich,  Alexander Mogilevsky  ... 
    Conductor:  Alexander Vedernikov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Switzerland Radio/TV Orchestra
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  • 49.
    Icon - Leopold Stokowski - The Maverick Conductor
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 98555 Release Date: 10/20/2009   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Pietro Antonio Cesti,  Ernest Bloch,  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Giovanni Palestrina  ... 
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
    CD: $74.49
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  • 50.
    Ravel: Bolero, Alborada Del Gracioso, Etc / Maazel
    Label: Cbs Masterworks   Catalog: 37289 Release Date: 03/27/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  ORTF National Orchestra
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