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
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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Ravel: L'enfant Et Sortileges, L'heure Espagnole / Rattle, Edwards
Release Date: 06/30/2009   Label: Kultur Video  
Catalog: 4461   Number of Discs: 1
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Ravel: The Complete Solo Piano Music / Angela Hewitt
Release Date: 05/14/2002   Label: Hyperion  
Catalog: 67341/2   Number of Discs: 2
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Ravel, Strauss / Jurowski, Grimaud, Chamber Orchestra of Europe
Release Date: 07/27/2010   Label: Euroarts  
Catalog: 3078738   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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Work: Daphnis et Chloé Suite no 2

Browse 26-50 of 99 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Arturo Toscanini Conducts Schumann & Ravel
    Label: Opus Kura   Catalog: 7052 Release Date: 10/12/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Ottorino Respighi,  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
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  • 27.
    Arturo Toscanini - The XX Century
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 416 Release Date: 07/27/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ferde Grofé,  Zoltán Kodály,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Richard Strauss  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
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  • 28.
    Ravel: Bolero, Daphnis & Chloe, Mother Goose, La Valse / Fremaux
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 1087 Release Date: 07/13/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Louis Frémaux
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 29.
    Ravel: Daphnis Et Chloe, Le Tombeau De Couperin, La Valse / Celibidache
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 453197 Release Date: 06/28/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Sergiu Celibidache
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 30.
    Markevitch Conducts Ravel, Stravinsky & Honegger
    Label: Audite   Catalog: 95605 Release Date: 02/09/2010  
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky,  Maurice Ravel,  Arthur Honegger
    Conductor:  Igor Markevitch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  RIAS Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin RIAS Chamber Chorus
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  • 31.
    Ravel: Daphnis et Chloe, La Valse / Nezet-Seguin, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 66342 Release Date: 01/12/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Yannick Nézet-Séguin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 32.
    111 Years Of Deutsche Grammophon [55-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001341002 Release Date: 10/20/2009   Number of Discs: 55
    Composer:  Franz Liszt,  Franz Schubert,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Krystian Zimerman,  Fritz Wunderlich,  Hubert Giesen,  Helmut Walcha  ... 
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa,  Daniele Callegari,  Herbert von Karajan,  Karl Richter  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  Verdi Grand Symphonic Orchestra Milan,  Verdi Chorus Milan  ... 
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  • 33.
    La Belle Epoque / Duo Lechner Tiempo
    Label: Avanti Classic   Catalog: 10312 Release Date: 10/13/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Gabriel Fauré,  Darius Milhaud,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Karin Lechner,  Sergio Tiempo
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Duo Lechner Tiempo
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  • 34.
    Sergiu Celibidache - Portrait
    Label: Orfeo D'or   Catalog: 725085 Release Date: 04/28/2009   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Maurice Ravel,  Boris Blacher,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Conductor:  Sergiu Celibidache
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne West German Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 35.
    Debussy: La Mer; Ravel / Ormandy, Philadelphia Orchestra
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 38055 Release Date: 04/24/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra,  Mendelssohn Club Chorus Philadelphia
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  • 36.
    20th Century Classics - Ravel
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 37671 Release Date: 03/10/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Andrei Gavrilov,  Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli,  Dame Janet Baker
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  • 37.
    Bernstein, Gershwin, Ravel, Wagner / Barenboim, Chicago Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 69816 Release Date: 02/25/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Maurice Ravel,  Leonard Bernstein,  George Gershwin
    Performer:  Donald Peck
    Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
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  • 38.
    Debussy: La Mer, L'apres-midi;  Ravel / Leopold Stokowski
    Label: London/Decca Jubilee   Catalog: 417779 Release Date: 05/13/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 39.
    Ravel: Bolero, Daphnis Et Chloe Suite No 2;  Debussy: La Mer
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 427644 Release Date: 04/18/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Giuseppe Sinopoli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 40.
    Martha Argerich And Friends - Live From The Lugano Festival 2007
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 18333 Release Date: 04/01/2008   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Ferruccio Busoni,  Robert Schumann,  Olivier Messiaen  ... 
    Performer:  Sergio Tiempo,  Karin Lechner,  Alexander Mogilevsky,  Martha Argerich  ... 
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  • 41.
    Debussy: La Mer, Etc;  Ravel: Bolero, Etc / Karajan, Et Al
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001050902 Release Date: 02/12/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Claude Debussy
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 42.
    Herbert von Karajan - Master Recordings
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001050702 Release Date: 02/12/2008   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Pietro Mascagni,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari,  Francesco Cilèa  ... 
    Performer:  Anne-Sophie Mutter,  Michel Schwalbé,  Wolfgang Meyer,  Mstislav Rostropovich  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Symphony Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein
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  • 43.
    Charles Munch In New York - Debussy, Ravel, Roussel
    Label: Music & Arts Programs Of America   Catalog: 1208 Release Date: 11/27/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel,  Albert Roussel
    Conductor:  Charles Munch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra
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  • 44.
    Brahms: Symphony No 1; Ravel: Daphnis Et Chloe / Munch
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 06772 Release Date: 11/06/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Charles Munch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  French National Radio Orchestra
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  • 45.
    Debussy: Nocturnes;  Ravel, Scriabin / Abbado, Boston So
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 415370 Release Date: 09/11/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel,  Alexander Scriabin
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  New England Conservatory Chorus
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  • 46.
    Dg Concerts - 2006/2007 - Ravel, Stravinsky / Maazel, Nypo
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000977202 Release Date: 09/11/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Igor Stravinsky
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
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  • 47.
    Debussy: La Mer;  Ravel, Strauss / Leinsdorf, Los Angeles
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 65425 Release Date: 08/06/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel,  Richard Strauss
    Conductor:  Erich Leinsdorf
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 48.
    Toscanini Collection Vol 39 - Ravel, Dukas, Berlioz, Et Al
    Label: Rca Victor Gold Seal   Catalog: 60322 Release Date: 06/11/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  César Franck,  Paul Dukas,  Camille Saint-Saëns  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
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  • 49.
    Ravel: Five O'clock Foxtrot, Etc / Simon, Et Al
    Label: Cala Records   Catalog: 4027 Release Date: 05/29/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Stephanie Chase,  Han de Vries
    Conductor:  Geoffrey Simon
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 50.
    Ravel: Boléro, Etc / Skrowaczewski, Minnesota Orchestra
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 1206 Release Date: 04/24/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Stanislaw Skrowaczewski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Minnesota Orchestra
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