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
Gershwin, Ravel, Debussy / O'Riley, Wordsworth, Royal PO
Release Date: 08/11/2009   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 28050   Number of Discs: 1
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Mussorgsky: Pictures At An Exhibition; Ravel: Daphnis Et Chloe, La Valse / Casadesus
Release Date: 05/10/2011   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 28180   Number of Discs: 1
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Ravel: L'heure Espagnole, L'enfant Et Les Sortileges / Gadelia, Gay, Oustrac, Madore, Ono
Release Date: 11/12/2013   Label: Fra Musica  
Catalog: 8   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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Franck: Sonata For Violin & Piano; Ravel: Piano Trio / Bieber, Dinnebier, Lang
Release Date: 11/12/2005   Label: Genuin Musikproduction  
Catalog: 85512   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Valses nobles et sentimentales

Browse 1-25 of 144 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    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
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  • 2.
    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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  • 3.
    Ravel: Piano Works / Vanessa Wagner
    Label: Aparte   Catalog: 62 Release Date: 04/01/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Vanessa Wagner
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  • 4.
    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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  • 5.
    Ravel: Gaspard, Valses Nobles Et Sentimentales, Tombeau De Couperin / Neuburger
    Label: Mirare   Catalog: 232 Release Date: 03/11/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Jean-Frédéric Neuburger
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  • 6.
    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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  • 7.
    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
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  • 8.
    Salzburg Festival Opening Concerts / Boulez, Barenboim, Harnoncourt
    Label: C Major   Catalog: 713608 Release Date: 09/24/2013   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky,  Béla Bartók,  Maurice Ravel,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Daniel Barenboim,  Klaus Florian Vogt,  Elina Garanca,  René Pape  ... 
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez,  Nikolaus Harnoncourt,  Daniel Barenboim
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus
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  • 9.
    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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  • 10.
    The Impressionists / Mary Towse-Beck
    Label: Cd Baby   Catalog: 5638131362 Release Date: 08/02/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Charles Tomlinson Griffes,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Mary Towse-beck
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  • 11.
    Leon Fleisher - The Complete Album Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 545997 Release Date: 07/16/2013   Number of Discs: 23
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  César Franck,  Frederick Delius  ... 
    Performer:  Leon Fleisher,  Jules Eskin,  Benita Valente,  Harold Wright  ... 
    Conductor:  George Szell,  Seiji Ozawa,  Leon Fleisher,  Szymon Goldberg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra,  Juilliard String Quartet,  Boston Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 12.
    Ravel: Gaspard, Sonatine, Menuet Antique, Etc / A Laplante
    Label: Elan Recordings   Catalog: 22322 Release Date: 07/16/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  André Laplante
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  • 13.
    Ravel / Samson Francois
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 287982 Release Date: 06/18/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Samson François
    Conductor:  André Cluytens
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris
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  • 14.
    Ashkenazy - 50 Years on Decca
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001820202 Release Date: 04/02/2013   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Robert Schumann,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Boris Belkin,  Daniel Barenboim,  Fou Ts'ong  ... 
    Conductor:  Kiril Kondrashin,  Anatole Fistoulari,  Lorin Maazel,  Uri Segal  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Wind Soloists  ... 
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  • 15.
    Beethoven: Piano Sonata No 3; Ravel, Chopin / Arthur Rubinstein
    Label: Ica Classics   Catalog: 5095 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Maurice Ravel,  Frédéric Chopin
    Performer:  Artur Rubinstein
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  • 16.
    Debussy Plays Debussy, Ravel Plays Ravel
    Label: Melodiya   Catalog: 1002063 Release Date: 03/05/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Maurice Ravel,  Claude Debussy
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  • 17.
    Debussy, Ravel: Piano Music / Ilja Hurnik
    Label: Supraphon   Catalog: 4119 Release Date: 01/22/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Ilja Hurník
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  • 18.
    Ravel: Gaspard De La Nuit; Piano Concerto In G; Valses Nobles Et Sentimentales; Debussy: Children's Corner
    Label: Praga   Catalog: 350091 Release Date: 01/08/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli
    Conductor:  Ettore Gracis
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  • 19.
    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  ... 
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  • 20.
    Mussorgsky: Pictures At An Exhibition; Night On Bald Mountain; Ravel: Valses Nobles Et Sentimentales
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001697702 Release Date: 07/24/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky,  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Giuseppe Sinopoli
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  • 21.
    John Mcabe Farewell Recital
    Label: Toccata Classics   Catalog: 139 Release Date: 07/10/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Emily Howard,  John Casken,  John McCabe  ... 
    Performer:  John McCabe
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  • 22.
    The Art Of Giuseppe Sinopoli - Orchestral Works
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 1986056 Release Date: 05/29/2012   Number of Discs: 16
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Modest Mussorgsky  ... 
    Performer:  Alan Titus,  Thomas Moser,  Felicity Palmer,  Solveig Kringelborn  ... 
    Conductor:  Giuseppe Sinopoli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden State Opera Chorus,  Dresden Staatskapelle,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 23.
    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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  • 24.
    Ravel: Complete Piano Works / Alice Ader
    Label: Fuga Libera   Catalog: 592 Release Date: 05/08/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Alice Ader
    CD: $27.49
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  • 25.
    Ravel: Piano Concertos / Samson Francois
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 6783182 Release Date: 03/26/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Samson François
    Conductor:  André Cluytens
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