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
Hohes Lied - Daniel-lesur, Ravel, Debussy, Fasch, Schumann / Bernius, Et Al
Release Date: 07/14/2009   Label: Carus  
Catalog: 83222   Number of Discs: 1
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Bloch: Schelomo; Voice In The Wilderness; Caplet: Epiphanie; Ravel: Kaddish
Release Date: 04/08/2014   Label: Nimbus  
Catalog: 5913   Number of Discs: 1
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Ravel: Complete Solo Piano Works
Release Date: 08/12/2014   Label: Hänssler Classic  
Catalog: 93318   Number of Discs: 3
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Work: La valse

Browse 26-50 of 248 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Mercury Living Presence - The Collector's Edition Vol 2
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001831802 Release Date: 06/04/2013   Number of Discs: 55
    Composer:  Arnold Schoenberg,  Anton Webern,  Alban Berg,  Ottorino Respighi  ... 
    Performer:  Helga Pilarczyk,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Mihaly Székely,  Olga Szönyi  ... 
    Conductor:  Antal Doráti,  Rafael Kubelik,  Anatole Fistoulari,  Frederick Fennell  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Hungarica  ... 
    CD: $175.49
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  • 27.
    Ravel: Mother Goose; La Valse; Stravinsky: The Rite Of Spring
    Label: Signum U.k.   Catalog: 330 Release Date: 05/01/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky,  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Yuri Temirkanov
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  • 28.
    Edition Klavier-festival Ruhr, Vol. 29: Frankreich, Amerika & Neue Musik
    Label: Cavi Music   Catalog: 8553273 Release Date: 04/09/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  George Gershwin,  Earl Wild,  John Cage  ... 
    Performer:  Bertrand Chamayou,  Ya-Fei Chuang,  Robert D. [American Pianist] Levin,  Eva Vogel  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gershwin Quartett (String Quartet)
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  • 29.
    Maurice Ravel: La Valse; Ma Mere L'oye; Tzigane; Bolero; Pavane
    Label: Tacet   Catalog: 207 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Gordan Nikolic
    Conductor:  Carlo Rizzi
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  • 30.
    Piano Duets / Christina & Michelle Naughton
    Label: Orfeo   Catalog: 859121 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Johannes Brahms,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Christina Naughton,  Michelle Naughton
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  • 31.
    20th Century Masterpieces, Vol. 2 / Votapek
    Label: Blue Griffin   Catalog: 263 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Isaac Albeniz,  Maurice Ravel,  Charles Tomlinson Griffes,  Nikolai Kapustin
    Performer:  Ralph Votapek
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  • 32.
    Gary Bertini Conducts Strauss, Mahler, Ravel, Debussy, Berlioz
    Label: Capriccio Records   Catalog: 7136 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Hector Berlioz,  Maurice Ravel,  Claude Debussy,  Gustav Mahler  ... 
    Performer:  Martha Argerich,  Hĺkan Hagegĺrd,  Thomas Quasthoff,  Elisabeth Leonskaja
    Conductor:  Gary Bertini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 33.
    Israel Philharmonic Orchestra - Anniversary Edition
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2059458 Release Date: 10/30/2012   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Frédéric Chopin,  Ernest Chausson  ... 
    Performer:  Julian Rachlin,  Vadim Repin,  Evgeni Kissin,  Pinchas Zukerman  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 34.
    Mozart: Rondo; Brahms: Sonata; Ravel: La Valse
    Label: Claudio   Catalog: 60022 Release Date: 10/30/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Mami Shikimori
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  • 35.
    Ravel Complete Edition [14-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001728702 Release Date: 10/09/2012   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  François-Joël Thiollier,  Jean-Yves Thibaudet,  Pierre-Laurent Aimard,  Ivo Pogorelich  ... 
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle,  Charles Dutoit,  Ernest Ansermet,  John Eliot Gardiner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Melos Ensemble London,  Nash Ensemble,  Melos String Quartet Stuttgart  ... 
    CD: $83.49
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  • 36.
    Ravel: Bolero; La Valse; Sheherazade / Deshayes, Krivine, Luxembourg Philharmonic
    Label: Zig Zag   Catalog: 311 Release Date: 10/09/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Karine Deshayes
    Conductor:  Emanuel Krivine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 37.
    Live In Concert
    Label: Lp Classics   Catalog: 5637992628 Release Date: 08/15/2012  
    Composer:  Nikolai Medtner,  Robert Schumann,  Johannes Brahms,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Vassily Primakov
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  • 38.
    Neeme Jarvi - Highlights From A Remarkable 30 Year Recording Career
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 24144 Release Date: 07/31/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák,  Johan Halvorsen,  Gustav Mahler,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Melina Madozzi,  Linda Finnie,  Felicity Lott,  Suzanne Murphy  ... 
    Conductor:  Neeme Järvi
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  • 39.
    Ravel: Bolero; Rapsodie Espagnole
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001702602 Release Date: 07/24/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa
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  • 40.
    Debut / Joseph Rackers
    Label: Msr   Catalog: 1364 Release Date: 06/12/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Béla Bartók,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Joseph Rackers
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  • 41.
    Essential Ballroom Classics
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 27856 Release Date: 06/05/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Aram Khachaturian,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Charles Danvers,  Ernie Erdman / Billy Meye  ... 
    Performer:  Jose Alberto Giaimo,  Raul Garello,  Julio Pane,  Gareth Morris  ... 
    Conductor:  Efrem Kurtz,  Herbert von Karajan,  Willi Boskovsky,  Simon Rattle  ... 
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  • 42.
    Martha Argerich & Friends -  Live From Lugano 2011
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 44701 Release Date: 06/05/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Martha Argerich,  Renaud Capuçon,  Cristina Marton,  Alissa Margulis  ... 
    Conductor:  Jacek Kaspszyk
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Switzerland Radio/TV Orchestra
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  • 43.
    The Celebrated New York Concerts, Vol. 6
    Label: Cembal D'amour   Catalog: 166 Release Date: 05/15/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Czerny,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Johannes Brahms,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Mordecai Shehori
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  • 44.
    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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  • 45.
    Darkness Visible / Inon Barnatan
    Label: Avie   Catalog: 2256 Release Date: 04/10/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Thomas Adčs,  Claude Debussy,  Ronald Stevenson
    Performer:  Inon Barnatan
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  • 46.
    Debussy: La Mer; Ravel: La Valse, Ma Mere L'oye /   Chung, Seoul Philharmonic
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 4764498 Release Date: 04/10/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Myung-Whun Chung
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 47.
    Music From The Machine Age
    Label: Onyx   Catalog: 4086 Release Date: 03/13/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Gustav Holst,  Maurice Ravel,  Sergei Prokofiev  ... 
    Conductor:  Sascha Goetzel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 48.
    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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  • 49.
    Rimsky-korsakov: Scheherazade; Ravel: Daphnis Et Chloe, Suite I; La Valse; Alborada Del Gracioso
    Label: Archipel   Catalog: ARPCD0213 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Maurice Ravel
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  • 50.
    Icon: William Steinberg
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 26486 Release Date: 10/11/2011   Number of Discs: 20
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Nathan Milstein,  Rudolf Firkusny
    Conductor:  William Steinberg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $63.99
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