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 / Cluytens, Francois, Paris Conservatoire Orchestra
Release Date: 07/29/2016   Label: Urania Records  
Catalog: WS121.268   Number of Discs: 2
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Ravel: Daphnis et Chloe; Bolero / Rattle, CBSO
Release Date: 04/24/2012   Label: Warner Classics  
Catalog: 02315   Number of Discs: 1
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Ravel: Dances & Fairy Tales / Joint Venture Percussion Duo
Release Date: 08/12/2016   Label: Bis  
Catalog: BIS-9054   Number of Discs: 1
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Brahms, Ravel & Poulenc: Piano Works / Trpceski
Release Date: 08/05/2016   Label: Wigmore Hall Live  
Catalog: 81   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: La valse

Browse 26-50 of 224 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    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
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  • 27.
    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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  • 28.
    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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  • 29.
    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  ... 
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  • 30.
    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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  • 31.
    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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  • 32.
    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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  • 33.
    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
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  • 34.
    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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  • 35.
    La Valse / Sean 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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  • 36.
    Masques: Theatrical Reminiscences
    Label: Genuin Classics   Catalog: 14295 Release Date: 02/25/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky,  Maurice Ravel,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Franz Liszt  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pianoduo Chipak-Kushnir
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  • 37.
    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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  • 38.
    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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  • 39.
    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
    CD: $12.99
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  • 40.
    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
    Blu-ray Audio: $19.99
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  • 41.
    Ernest Ansermet - French Music
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 4807898 Release Date: 11/12/2013   Number of Discs: 32
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Hector Berlioz  ... 
    Performer:  Robert Gugolz,  Marie-Luise de Montmollin,  Nancy Waugh,  Suzanne Danco  ... 
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  Union Chorale de la Tour-de-Peilz,  Geneva Motet Choir  ... 
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  • 42.
    Ravel: Orchestral Works Vol 1 / Deneve, Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 93305 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Stéphane Denčve
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  • 43.
    Bernard Haitink - The Philips Years
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001903502 Release Date: 09/24/2013   Number of Discs: 20
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Henryk Szeryng,  Herman Krebbers,  Menahem Pressler,  Isidore Cohen  ... 
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Beaux Arts Trio  ... 
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  • 44.
    Martha Argerich & Friends - A Concert From The Munich Klaviersommer 1982
    Label: Arthaus Musik   Catalog: 101671 Release Date: 09/24/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Frédéric Chopin,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Martha Argerich,  Nelson Freire,  Nicolas Economou,  Mischa Maisky
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  • 45.
    Maurice Ravel: La Valse; Ma Mere L'oye; Tzigane; Bolero; Pavane
    Label: Tacet   Catalog: 207 Release Date: 09/24/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Gordan Nikolic
    Conductor:  Carlo Rizzi
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  • 46.
    Ravel: Bolero
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001875302 Release Date: 09/03/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Myron Bloom,  Michel Debost
    Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim
    CD: $7.99
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  • 47.
    Ravel: Bolero - Orchestral Masterpieces
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 2564651447 Release Date: 08/27/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Francois-René Duchable,  Pierre Amoyal,  Rachel Yakar,  Jean-Claude Hermengat  ... 
    Conductor:  Armin Jordan
    CD: $24.99
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  • 48.
    Ravel: Complete Piano Music / Francois Dumont
    Label: Piano Classics   Catalog: 55 Release Date: 08/27/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Francois Dumont
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  • 49.
    Works For Two Pianos  / Martha Argerich, Gabriele Baldocci
    Label: Dynamic   Catalog: 7663 Release Date: 07/30/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Darius Milhaud  ... 
    Performer:  Martha Argerich,  Gabriele Baldocci
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  • 50.
    Tanglewood 75th Anniversary Celebration
    Label: C Major   Catalog: 713208 Release Date: 06/25/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Aaron Copland,  Leonard Bernstein,  Various,  Franz Joseph Haydn  ... 
    Performer:  James Taylor,  Emanuel Ax,  Anne-Sophie Mutter,  Peter Serkin
    Conductor:  Keith Lockhart,  John T. Williams,  Stefan Asbury,  Andris Nelsons  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops,  Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra,  Boston Symphony Orchestra
    DVD: $24.99
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