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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
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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20th Century String Quartets - Debussy, Ravel, Toldra & Zemlinsky / Cuarteto Casals
Release Date: 07/10/2012   Label: Harmonia Mundi  
Catalog: 508390   Number of Discs: 2
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Debussy, Ravel: String Quartets, Etc / Kodaly Quartet
Release Date: 02/15/1994   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8550249   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: La valse

Browse 176-200 of 231 Available Recordings
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  • 176.
    Evening With The Royal Ballet / Fonteyn, Nureyev
    Label: Kultur Video   Catalog: 1182 Release Date: 07/31/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Frédéric Chopin,  Adolphe Adam
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  • 177.
    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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  • 178.
    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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  • 179.
    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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  • 180.
    Presenting Francesco Libetta
    Label: Vai Audio   Catalog: 1196 Release Date: 03/13/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anonymous,  Vincenzo Galilei,  Federico Mompou,  Camille Saint-Saëns  ... 
    Performer:  Francesco Libetta
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  • 181.
    Ravel: Boléro, La Valse, Etc / Casadesus, Pludermacher
    Label: Harmonia Mundi Musique D'abord   Catalog: 1951434 Release Date: 11/14/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Georges Pludermacher
    Conductor:  Jean-Claude Casadesus
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lille National Orchestra
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  • 182.
    French Favourites - Ravel, Milhaud, Debussy / Järvi, Detroit
    Label: Chandos Collect   Catalog: 6615 Release Date: 09/26/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Darius Milhaud,  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Neeme Järvi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Detroit Symphony Orchestra
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  • 183.
    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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  • 184.
    Invitation To The Dance / Lara Downes
    Label: Postcards   Catalog: 7720012 Release Date: 06/27/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Samuel Barber,  Frédéric Chopin,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Lara Downes
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  • 185.
    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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  • 186.
    Mussorgsky: Pictures At An Exhibition;  Ravel /Maazel, Et Al
    Label: Emi Seraphim   Catalog: 73567 Release Date: 10/19/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky,  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 187.
    Ballets Français Du Début Du Siècle / Armin Jordan, Et Al
    Label: Cascavelle   Catalog: 5004 Release Date: 10/12/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Paul Dukas,  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Armin Jordan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra
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  • 188.
    Ravel: Daphnis Et Chloé, Etc / Dutoit, Montreal So
    Label: London/Decca Legends   Catalog: 458605 Release Date: 09/14/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Montreal Symphony Orchestra,  Montreal Symphony Chorus
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  • 189.
    French Orchestral Favorites - Dukas, Debussy, Satie / Pretre, Ortf National Orchestra
    Label: Emi Seraphim   Catalog: 73427 Release Date: 06/15/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Erik Satie,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  André Gantiez,  Michèle Boussinot,  Philippe Pierlot
    Conductor:  Georges Prêtre
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  ORTF National Orchestra
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  • 190.
    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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  • 191.
    Piano Xx Vol 1 - Ravel, Janácek, Scriabin, Et Al / Damerini
    Label: Arts Music   Catalog: 47215 Release Date: 10/20/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Karol Szymanowski,  Charles Ives,  George Gershwin,  Igor Stravinsky  ... 
    Performer:  Massimiliano Damerini
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  • 192.
    Dances For Two Pianos / Earl Wild, Christian Steiner
    Label: Ivory Classics   Catalog: 70803 Release Date: 09/15/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Earl Wild,  Christian Steiner
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  • 193.
    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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  • 194.
    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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  • 195.
    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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  • 196.
    Strauss, Ravel, Dukas / Argerich, Rabinovitch
    Label: Teldec   Catalog: 96435 Release Date: 02/27/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Paul Dukas,  Richard Strauss,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Alexandre Rabinovitch,  Martha Argerich
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  • 197.
    Label: Danacord   Catalog: 479 Release Date: 09/01/1997   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Francis Poulenc,  Sigfrid Karg-Elert,  Frank Bridge,  Percy Aldridge Grainger  ... 
    Performer:  Kathryn Stott,  Piers Lane,  Marc-André Hamelin,  Hamish Milne  ... 
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  • 198.
    The Classic Sound - Ravel: Boléro, La Valse, Etc / Ansermet
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 448576 Release Date: 07/15/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Emmanuel Chabrier,  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel,  Paul Dukas  ... 
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra
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  • 199.
    Ravel: La Valse, Etc;  Debussy, Satie / Ormandy, Szell, Etc
    Label: Sony Classical Essential Classics   Catalog: 63056 Release Date: 07/01/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Claude Debussy,  Erik Satie
    Performer:  Alice Chalifoux,  Robert Marcellus,  Maurice Sharp
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy,  Louis Lane,  George Szell,  Michael Tilson Thomas
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra,  Cleveland Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 200.
    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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