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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 51-75 of 143 Available Recordings
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  • 51.
    Ravel: Bolero, La Valse, Daphnis et Chloe / Ansermet
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 468564 Release Date: 09/02/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  Suisse Romande Chorus
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  • 52.
    Poulenc, Faure, Ravel: Sonatas For Violin And Piano / Steinbacher, Kulek
    Label: Orfeo   Catalog: 739081 Release Date: 07/29/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Gabriel Fauré,  Francis Poulenc
    Performer:  Arabella Steinbacher,  Robert Kulek
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  • 53.
    Label: Pavane   Catalog: 7522 Release Date: 06/24/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel,  Gabriel Fauré,  Darius Milhaud
    Performer:  Pierre-Alain Volondat,  Jean-Claude Vanden Eynden
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  • 54.
    Celibidache Conducts Ravel & Debussy
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 3077968 Release Date: 04/29/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Sergiu Celibidache
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 55.
    Karajan - Complete Emi Recordings 1946-84 Vol 1 - Orchestral Works
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 12038 Release Date: 04/01/2008   Number of Discs: 88
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Josef Strauss,  E. Nikolaus von Reznicek,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Karl Leister,  Elisabeth Schwarzkopf,  Ernst Haefliger,  Anne-Sophie Mutter  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
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  • 56.
    Ravel: Boléro, Concerto For The Left Hand / Immerseel, Chevallier
    Label: Zig Zag   Catalog: 60901 Release Date: 02/12/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Claire Chevallier
    Conductor:  Jos van Immerseel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Anima Eterna Orchestra
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  • 57.
    Ravel: Favorite Flavours / Genova & Dimitrov Piano Duo
    Label: Cpo   Catalog: 777283 Release Date: 01/29/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Genova & Dimitrov Piano Duo
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  • 58.
    Ravel: Eden - Tamir
    Label: Crd Records   Catalog: 3424 Release Date: 01/01/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Alexander Wolkovski,  Bracha Eden
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  • 59.
    Basics - Spanish Classics - Falla, Et Al / Weigle, Et Al
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 4904 Release Date: 12/11/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Manuel de Falla,  Joaquin Rodrigo,  Isaac Albeniz,  Enrique Granados  ... 
    Performer:  Jutta Czapski,  Barbara Richter,  Dieter Rumstig,  Nora Koch  ... 
    Conductor:  Günther Herbig,  Jörg-Peter Weigle
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Symphony Orchestra,  Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 60.
    The Kondrashin Recordings - Ravel, Gershwin
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 438282 Release Date: 11/13/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  George Gershwin
    Conductor:  Kiril Kondrashin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
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  • 61.
    Moods - Classics In Heaven - Liszt, Etc / Weigle, Pistorius
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 1261 Release Date: 10/23/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Karol Szymanowski,  Edvard Grieg,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Walter Olbertz,  Siegfried Stöckigt,  Peter Rösel,  Egon Morbitzer  ... 
    Conductor:  Jörg-Peter Weigle,  Kurt Masur,  Siegfried Kurz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Music School Orchestra,  Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra,  Dresden Staatskapelle  ... 
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  • 62.
    Moods - Floating Harmony / Kegel, Weigle, Et Al
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 1262 Release Date: 10/23/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Frédéric Chopin,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Valentin Gheorghiu,  Manfred Schumann,  Siegfried Schramm,  Bernd Casper  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert Kegel,  Kurt Masur,  Herbert Blomstedt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra,  Suske String Quartet  ... 
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  • 63.
    Ravel: Orchestral Works / Martinon, Orchestre De Paris
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 892 Release Date: 10/02/2007   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Jean Martinon
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de Paris
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  • 64.
    Ravel, Albeniz, Falla / Jörg-peter Weigle, Et Al
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 1390 Release Date: 09/18/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Isaac Albeniz,  Manuel de Falla
    Conductor:  Jörg-Peter Weigle
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 65.
    Dg Concerts - 2006/2007 - Ravel, Stravinsky / Maazel, Nypo
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000977202 Release Date: 09/11/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Igor Stravinsky
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
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  • 66.
    Ravel: Bolero, Alborada Del Gracioso, Etc / Mata, Dallas So
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 14438 Release Date: 06/25/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Eduardo Mata
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dallas Symphony Orchestra
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  • 67.
    Ravel: Valley Of The Bells, Etc / Simon, Et Al
    Label: Cala Records   Catalog: 4026 Release Date: 05/29/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Gwendolyn Mok,  Sally Burgess
    Conductor:  Geoffrey Simon
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 68.
    Ravel / Katia Labeque, Marielle Labeque
    Label: Kml Recordings   Catalog: 1111 Release Date: 05/08/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Marielle Labèque,  Katia Labèque
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  • 69.
    Klemperer, Ravel, Brahms, Etc / Stokowski
    Label: Bbc Legends   Catalog: 4205 Release Date: 04/24/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Maurice Ravel,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Otto Klemperer  ... 
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 70.
    Ravel: Boléro, Etc / Skrowaczewski, Minnesota Orchestra
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 1206 Release Date: 04/24/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Stanislaw Skrowaczewski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Minnesota Orchestra
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  • 71.
    A Celebration of Duo-Piano Music / Forte, Parkinson
    Label: Roméo Records   Catalog: 7252 Release Date: 07/25/2006   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Francis Poulenc,  Maurice Ravel,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Madeleine Forte,  Del Parkinson
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  • 72.
    Ravel: Orchestral Works, Concertos, Etc / Roge, Dutoit
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000639702 Release Date: 07/04/2006   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Timothy Hutchins,  John Zirbel,  Pascal Rogé,  Marie-Francoise Lefort  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Montreal Symphony Chorus,  Montreal Symphony Orchestra
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  • 73.
    Classical Lounge
    Label: Denon Records   Catalog: 17609 Release Date: 06/27/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Susanna Mildonian,  Maxence Larrieu,  John Holloway,  Hans Otto  ... 
    Conductor:  Andrew Parrott,  Emmanuel Krivine,  Sir Charles Groves,  Vassil Kazandjiev  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Taverner Players,  Bamberg Symphony Orchestra,  Prague Chamber Orchestra  ... 
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  • 74.
    Four Hand Reflections - Mozart, Etc / Aebersold, Neiweem
    Label: Summit Records   Catalog: 456 Release Date: 06/13/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Patrick Byers,  Ottorino Respighi,  Franz Liszt,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Claire Aebersold,  Ralph Neiweem
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  • 75.
    Ravel: Daphnis Et Chloé / Pierre Monteux, London Symphony
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000624802 Release Date: 04/11/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Pierre Monteux
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus,  London Symphony Orchestra
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