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
Ravel: Complete Orchestral Works / Bringuier, Tonhalle-Orchester Zurich
Release Date: 04/15/2016   Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 002463002   Number of Discs: 4
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Ravel: Music For Four Hands / Louis Lortie, Hélène Mercier
Release Date: 10/28/1992   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 8905   Number of Discs: 1
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French Favourites - Ravel, Milhaud, Debussy / Järvi, Detroit
Release Date: 09/26/2000   Label: Chandos Collect  
Catalog: 6615   Number of Discs: 1
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Ravel: Piano Trio; Debussy: Sonatas / Borodin Trio
Release Date: 10/28/1992   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 8458   Number of Discs: 1
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Ravel: Piano Concertos;  Fauré: Ballade / Louis Lortie
Release Date: 10/28/1992   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 8773   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Rapsodie espagnole

Browse 51-75 of 124 Available Recordings
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  • 51.
    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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  • 52.
    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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  • 53.
    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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  • 54.
    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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  • 55.
    Iduo Plays Rachmaninoff, Ravel, Debussy
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 3405 Release Date: 09/28/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel,  Sergey Rachmaninov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  iDuo
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  • 56.
    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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  • 57.
    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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  • 58.
    Eduardo Mata Edition Vol 3 - Ravel
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 30979 Release Date: 05/05/2010   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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  • 59.
    Rodrigo: Concierto De Aranjuez;  Falla, Turina, Ravel
    Label: Emi Seraphim   Catalog: 68532 Release Date: 01/28/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Joaquin Rodrigo,  Joaquin Turina,  Manuel de Falla,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Alfonso Moreno,  Aldo Ciccolini,  Victoria de los Angeles
    Conductor:  Enrique Bátiz,  Carlo Maria Giulini,  André Previn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 60.
    Ravel: Orchestral Music / Cluytens, Paris Conservatory Orch
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 69165 Release Date: 11/17/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  André Cluytens
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris
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  • 61.
    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
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  • 62.
    Ravel: Bolero, Alborada Del Gracioso, Etc / Maazel
    Label: Cbs Masterworks   Catalog: 37289 Release Date: 03/11/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  ORTF National Orchestra
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  • 63.
    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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  • 64.
    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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  • 65.
    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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  • 66.
    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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  • 67.
    Karajan - Complete Emi Recordings 1946-84 Vol 1 - Orchestral Works
    Label: Warner 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
    CD: $194.99
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  • 68.
    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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  • 69.
    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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  • 70.
    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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  • 71.
    Silvestri - Artist Profile - Tchaikovsky, Elgar, Et Al
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 68229 Release Date: 11/27/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Maurice Ravel,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Antonín Dvorák  ... 
    Conductor:  Constantin Silvestri
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 72.
    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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  • 73.
    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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  • 74.
    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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  • 75.
    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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