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: Daphnis Et Chloe / Haitink, London Philharmonic
Release Date: 03/27/2012   Label: Lpo  
Catalog: 59   Number of Discs: 1
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Traveling Sonata: European Music For Flute & Guitar
Release Date: 11/13/2012   Label: Reference Recordings  
Catalog: 128   Number of Discs: 1
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Ravel Orchestrations - Pictures At An Exhibition, Etc / Oue
Release Date: 09/23/1997   Label: Reference Recordings  
Catalog: 79   Number of Discs: 1
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20th Century Miniatures Vol 2 - Ravel, Et Al / Hahn, Parkin
Release Date: 01/23/2001   Label: Somm  
Catalog: 18   Number of Discs: 1
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Ravel: Music For Two Pianos / Micallef-inanga Piano Duo
Release Date: 07/16/2002   Label: Somm  
Catalog: 25   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Daphnis et Chloé Suite no 2

Browse 1-25 of 79 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Maurice Ravel / Svetlanov, USSR State Academic Symphony
    Label: Melodiya   Catalog: MELCD1002338 Release Date: 06/10/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Yevgeny Svetlanov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  USSR State Academic Symphony Orchestra
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  • 2.
    Debussy: La mer - Ravel: Daphnis & Chloe / Karajan, Berliner Philharmoniker [Vinyl]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: B002475001 Release Date: 04/29/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
    LP: $25.49
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  • 3.
    Ravel: Bolero / Cleveland Orchestra, Dohnanyi
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 553998 Release Date: 01/29/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Christoph von Dohnányi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
    CD: $13.99
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  • 4.
    Transkriptionen: Liszt, Debussy, Ravel, Faure / Peter Kofler
    Label: Querstand   Catalog: 1402 Release Date: 01/08/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Gabriel Fauré,  Franz Liszt,  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Peter Kofler
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  • 5.
    111: The Collector's Editions [111 CDs]
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002422702 Release Date: 12/11/2015   Number of Discs: 111
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Maurice Ravel,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  David Oistrakh,  Igor Oistrakh,  Sviatoslav Richter,  Martha Argerich  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Daniel Barenboim,  Lorin Maazel,  Franz Konwitschny  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Amadeus Quartet,  Orchestre de Paris  ... 
    CD: $325.49
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  • 6.
    Pierre Boulez conducts Ravel
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88875108732 Release Date: 11/13/2015   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Philippe Entremont,  Jill Gomez,  Jessye Norman,  José Van Dam  ... 
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez,  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  Camerata Singers,  Cleveland Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $22.99
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  • 7.
    The History of Classical Music in 24 Hours
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002403602 Release Date: 11/13/2015   Number of Discs: 24
    Composer:  Anonymous,  Pérotin,  Guillaume de Machaut,  John Dunstable  ... 
    Performer:  Konrad Ragossnig,  Charles [Tenor Vocals] Daniels,  Susan Gritton,  Trevor Pinnock  ... 
    Conductor:  Pater Godehard Joppich,  David Munrow,  Josef Ulsamer,  Bruno Turner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Early Music Consort of London,  Ulsamer-Collegium,  Hamburger Bläserkreis für Alte Musik  ... 
    CD: $75.49
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  • 8.
    The Complete HMV Recordings / Markevitch
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 552546 Release Date: 09/25/2015   Number of Discs: 18
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Richard Strauss,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Jacques Neilz,  Denyse Gouarne,  Fernand Dufrene,  Henri Bronschwak  ... 
    Conductor:  Igor Markevitch
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    CD: $46.49
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  • 9.
    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
    Recommendation
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  • 10.
    Karajan - 1980s
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002187902 Release Date: 12/09/2014   Number of Discs: 78
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Anton Bruckner,  Johannes Brahms,  Jacques Offenbach  ... 
    Performer:  David Bell,  José Van Dam,  Barbara Hendricks,  Gösta Winbergh  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Domenico Bartolucci
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein  ... 
    CD: $245.99
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  • 11.
    Phase 4 Stereo - Stereo Concert Series
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002188302 Release Date: 10/27/2014   Number of Discs: 41
    Composer:  John Philip Sousa,  Charles A. Zimmerman,  Francis S. Van Boskerck,  George Norton  ... 
    Performer:  Stanley Black,  David Parkhouse,  Alan Loveday,  Robert Merrill  ... 
    Conductor:  Rodney Bashford,  Stanley Black,  Bernard Herrmann,  Edward Downes  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Grenadier Guards Band,  London Festival Orchestra,  London Festival Recording Ensemble  ... 
    CD: $168.99
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  • 12.
    Ravel: Bolero, Pavane, Daphnis et Chloe Suite No. 2 / Previn, London Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Hi-q Records   Catalog: 22 Release Date: 07/15/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  André Previn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 13.
    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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  • 14.
    Carlo Maria Giulini: The London Years
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 93739 Release Date: 12/03/2013   Number of Discs: 17
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Benjamin Britten,  César Franck  ... 
    Performer:  Sheila Armstrong,  Anna Reynolds,  Robert Tear,  John Shirley-Quirk
    Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 15.
    All Star Orchestra: Programs 1 & 2 - Stravinsky, Ravel, Beethoven / Gerard Schwarz
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 2110348 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky,  Maurice Ravel,  Bright Sheng,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  All Star Orchestra
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  • 16.
    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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  • 17.
    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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  • 18.
    Libor Pesek: The Gold Collection
    Label: Supraphon   Catalog: 4132 Release Date: 05/28/2013   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Claude Debussy,  Josef Suk,  Anton Bruckner  ... 
    Performer:  Michaela Fukacova,  Garrick Ohlsson,  Petr Skvor,  Eva Depoltová
    Conductor:  Libor Pesek
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Czech Philharmonic Orchestra,  Kühn Mixed Chorus,  Brno State Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $29.99
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  • 19.
    Lionel Bringuier & Nelson Freire - Live At The Royal Albert Hall
    Label: Bel Air Classiques   Catalog: 79 Release Date: 04/30/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hector Berlioz,  Maurice Ravel,  Albert Roussel,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  Nelson Freire
    Conductor:  Lionel Bringuier
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra
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  • 20.
    Lionel Bringuier & Nelson Freire - Live At The Royal Albert Hall [blu-ray]
    Label: Bel Air Classiques   Catalog: 479 Release Date: 04/30/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hector Berlioz,  Maurice Ravel,  Albert Roussel,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  Nelson Freire
    Conductor:  Lionel Bringuier
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra
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  • 21.
    Anthology Of The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Vol 7: 2000-2010
    Label: Rco Live   Catalog: 12004 Release Date: 02/12/2013   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Leos Janácek,  Richard Strauss,  Alphons Diepenbrock,  Igor Stravinsky  ... 
    Performer:  Vesko Eschkenazy,  Godfried Hoogeveen,  Lars Vogt,  Jorgen Van Rijen  ... 
    Conductor:  Mark Elder,  Lorin Maazel,  Claus Peter Flor,  Riccardo Chailly  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
    On sale! $246.98
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  • 22.
    French Flavours / Paul Carr
    Label: Regent   Catalog: 384 Release Date: 12/11/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Naji Hakim,  Gerald Hendrie,  Marcel Dupré,  Henry Purcell  ... 
    Performer:  Paul Carr
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  • 23.
    Khachaturian: Spartacus & Gayane Suites; Ravel: Daphnis Et Chloe 2 / Temirkanov
    Label: Signum U.k.   Catalog: 310 Release Date: 11/27/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Aram Khachaturian,  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Yuri Temirkanov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 24.
    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
    CD: $24.99
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  • 25.
    Ravel Meets Gershwin / Rattle, Reeves, Berlin Philharmonic
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2053648 Release Date: 08/30/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Gershwin,  Gabriel Fauré,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Reuben Rogers,  Dianne Reeves,  Peter Martin,  Greg Hutchinson
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
    DVD: $24.99
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