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 sortilčges, 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: Orchestral Works Vol 2 / Slatkin, Lyon
Release Date: 11/19/2013   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8572888   Number of Discs: 1
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Ravel: Orchestral Works, Vol. 5 / Slatkin, Orchestre National de Lyon
Release Date: 04/14/2017   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8573448   Number of Discs: 1
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Ravel, Fauré: String Quartets / Ad Libitum Quartet
Release Date: 05/16/2000   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8554722   Number of Discs: 1
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The Best Of Ravel
Release Date: 02/04/1997   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8556673   Number of Discs: 1
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French Music For Harp And Strings - Ravel, Et Al / Bodtker
Release Date: 09/18/2001   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8555328   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: La valse

Browse 26-50 of 215 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Jean Martinon - The Complete CSO Recordings
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 88843062752 Release Date: 07/31/2015   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Georges Bizet,  Robert Casadesus,  Paul Hindemith  ... 
    Conductor:  Jean Martinon
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
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  • 27.
    Mariss Jansons Live: The Radio Recordings, 1990-2014 [13-CDs & 1 DVD]
    Label: Rco Live   Catalog: 15002 Release Date: 06/30/2015   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Louis Andriessen,  Hector Berlioz,  Anton Bruckner,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Dmitri Sitkovetsky,  Frank Peter Zimmermann,  Ferruccio Furlanetto,  Leo van Doeselaar  ... 
    Conductor:  Mariss Jansons
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
    CD: $158.99
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  • 28.
    Ravel: Daphnis Et Chloe; La Valse
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 549669 Release Date: 05/26/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Philippe Jordan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Opera Orchestra
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  • 29.
    Pierre Boulez - 20th Century
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002250902 Release Date: 02/10/2015   Number of Discs: 44
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Alban Berg,  Harrison Birtwistle,  Pierre Boulez  ... 
    Performer:  John Tomlinson,  John Aler,  Krystian Zimerman,  Leif Ove Andsnes  ... 
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez,  Martyn Brabbins
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Chorus,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $279.49
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  • 30.
    Stravinsky, Ravel, Gershwin: Transcriptions And Original Piano Works
    Label: Grand Piano   Catalog: 696 Release Date: 02/10/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky,  Maurice Ravel,  George Gershwin
    Performer:  Eric Ferrand-N'Kaoua
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  • 31.
    Maurice Ravel, Paul Dukas, Claude Debussy, Emmanuel A. Chabrier
    Label: Tuxedo Music   Catalog: 1006 Release Date: 02/03/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Claude Debussy,  Paul Dukas,  Emmanuel Chabrier
    Conductor:  Edouard Van Remoortel
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  • 32.
    Pierre Boulez: The Complete Columbia Album Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 301333 Release Date: 11/24/2014   Number of Discs: 67
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Alexander Scriabin,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Alban Berg  ... 
    Performer:  Karl Dönch,  Isabel Strauss,  Walter Berry,  Fritz Uhl  ... 
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez,  Anton Webern
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  Camerata Singers,  Schola Cantorum New York  ... 
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  • 33.
    Scandale / Ott, Tristano
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002133302 Release Date: 09/09/2014  
    Composer:  Francesco Tristano,  Igor Stravinsky,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Alice Sara Ott,  Francesco Tristano
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  • 34.
    Ferenc Fricsay: Complete DG Recordings, Vol 1 - Orchestral Works
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002132602 Release Date: 09/02/2014   Number of Discs: 45
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  César Franck  ... 
    Performer:  Géza Anda,  Tibor Varga,  Helmut Krebs,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau  ... 
    Conductor:  Ferenc Fricsay
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin RIAS Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    Recommendation
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  • 35.
    Ravel: Complete Solo Piano Works
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 93318 Release Date: 08/12/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Florian Uhlig
    CD: $39.99
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  • 36.
    Verdi & Wagner - The Odeonsplatz Concert / Thomas Hampson, Ronaldo Villazon, Yannick Nezet-seguin
    Label: C Major   Catalog: 716708 Release Date: 07/29/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Jules Massenet,  Richard Wagner,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Thomas Hampson,  Rolando Villazón
    Conductor:  Yannick Nézet-Séguin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Bavarian Radio Chorus
    DVD: $24.99
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  • 37.
    Verdi & Wagner - The Odeonsplatz Concert / Thomas Hampson, Ronaldo Villazon, Yannick Nezet-seguin [blu-ray]
    Label: C Major   Catalog: 716804 Release Date: 07/29/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Jules Massenet,  Richard Wagner,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Thomas Hampson,  Rolando Villazón
    Conductor:  Yannick Nézet-Séguin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Bavarian Radio Chorus
    Blu-ray Video: $34.99
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  • 38.
    Berlioz, Franck, Debussy, Ravel, Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, Bartok, 1970-81 / Karajan
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 1158847 Release Date: 07/15/2014   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel,  Georges Bizet,  Emmanuel Chabrier  ... 
    Performer:  Karlheinz Zöller
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    CD: $44.49
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  • 39.
    Pierre Boulez: 3 Classic Albums [limited Edition]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002093202 Release Date: 07/15/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Krystian Zimerman
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Cleveland Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $21.99
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  • 40.
    Debussy & Ravel On The Organ / Gunnar Idenstam
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 2049 Release Date: 07/08/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Gunnar Idenstam
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  • 41.
    Ravel: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2
    Label: Melodiya   Catalog: 2160 Release Date: 05/27/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Yakov Zak,  Alexander Slobodyanik
    Conductor:  Yevgeny Svetlanov,  Vladimir Verbitsky
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  • 42.
    Ravel: Boléro, Etc / Skrowaczewski, Minnesota Orchestra
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 1206 Release Date: 05/12/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Stanislaw Skrowaczewski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Minnesota Orchestra
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  • 43.
    Ravel: Orchestral & Virtuoso Piano / Vincent Larderet
    Label: Ars Produktion   Catalog: 38146 Release Date: 04/29/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Vincent Larderet
    SuperAudio CD: $19.99
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  • 44.
    RCA Living Stereo Collection, Vol. 1
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 541497 Release Date: 04/15/2014   Number of Discs: 60
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Claude Debussy,  Jacques Ibert,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Berj Zamkochian,  John Weicher,  Philip Farkas,  Jascha Heifetz  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Munch,  Fritz Reiner,  Kiril Kondrashin,  Arthur Fiedler  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  New England Conservatory Chorus,  New England Conservatory Alumni Chorus  ... 
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  • 45.
    La Valse / Chen
    Label: Steinway & Sons   Catalog: 30029 Release Date: 03/25/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alexander Scriabin,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Sean Chen
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  • 46.
    Masques: Theatrical Reminiscences
    Label: Genuin Musikproduction   Catalog: 14295 Release Date: 02/25/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky,  Maurice Ravel,  Franz Liszt,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pianoduo Chipak-Kushnir
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  • 47.
    Ravel, Scriabin / HJ Lim
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 145092 Release Date: 02/11/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Alexander Scriabin
    Performer:  H.J. Lim
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  • 48.
    Maurice Ravel: La Valse; Ma Mere L'oye; Tzigane; Bolero; Pavane
    Label: Tacet   Catalog: 207 Release Date: 01/28/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Gordan Nikolic
    Conductor:  Carlo Rizzi
    Blu-ray Audio: $24.99
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  • 49.
    Ravel: Orchestral Works Vol 2 / Slatkin, Lyon
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8572888 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lyon National Orchestra
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  • 50.
    Ravel: Orchestral Works, Vol. 2
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 34 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lyon National Orchestra
    On sale! $19.99
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