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: L'Heure espagnole & Don Quichotte a Dulcinee / Slatkin
Release Date: 02/12/2016   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8660337   Number of Discs: 1
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Ravel: L'Enfant et les sortileges; Ma Mere l'Oye - Complete Ballet
Release Date: 10/09/2015   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8660336   Number of Discs: 1
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Ravel: Complete Orchestral Works / Bringuier, Tonhalle-Orchester Zurich
Release Date: 04/15/2016   Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 002463002   Number of Discs: 4
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Ravel: Daphnis et Chloe / Nezet-Seguin
Release Date: 04/14/2015   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 1850   Number of Discs: 1
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Liszt, Ravel, Saint-saens / Yevgeny Sudbin
Release Date: 11/27/2012   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 1828   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Concerto for Piano in G major

Browse 1-25 of 90 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Simon Rattle & His Soloists: The CBSO Years
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 555058 Release Date: 04/29/2016   Number of Discs: 15
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Franz Liszt,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Jean Sibelius  ... 
    Performer:  Cécile Ousset,  Nigel Kennedy,  Lynn Harrell,  Marielle Labčque  ... 
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra,  London Sinfonietta
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  • 2.
    Ravel: Complete Orchestral Works / Bringuier, Tonhalle-Orchester Zurich
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002463002 Release Date: 04/15/2016   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Ray Chen,  Yuja Wang
    Conductor:  Lionel Bringuier
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra
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  • 3.
    Deutsche Grammophon: The Mono Era (1948-1957)
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002457272 Release Date: 03/18/2016   Number of Discs: 51
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Frédéric Chopin,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Stefan Askenase,  Shura Cherkassky,  Halina Czerny-Stefanska,  Basile Bolotine  ... 
    Conductor:  Karel Ancerl,  Karl Böhm,  Serge Jaroff,  Leopold Ludwig  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amadeus Quartet,  Czech Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 4.
    Decca Sound – Dutoit: The Montreal Years
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002449102 Release Date: 02/19/2016   Number of Discs: 35
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Ernest Chausson,  Manuel de Falla  ... 
    Performer:  Pascal Rogé,  Timothy Hutchins,  Beverly Hoch,  Stanford Olsen  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Montreal Symphony Orchestra,  Montreal Symphony Chorus
    CD: $117.99
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  • 5.
    The Decca Sound [Repackaged Edition]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002434502 Release Date: 01/29/2016   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Manuel de Falla,  Claude Debussy,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Enrique Granados  ... 
    Performer:  Teresa Berganza,  Alfredo Campoli,  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Cecilia Bartoli  ... 
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet,  Ataulfo Argenta,  Anatole Fistoulari,  Vladimir Ashkenazy  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $181.49
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  • 6.
    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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  • 7.
    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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  • 8.
    Ravel, Schmitt: Piano Concertos
    Label: Ars Produktion   Catalog: 38178 Release Date: 10/30/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Florent Schmitt
    Performer:  Vincent Larderet
    Conductor:  Daniel Kawka
    SuperAudio CD: $19.99
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  • 9.
    Ravel: Piano Concertos; Faure: Ballade / Yuja Wang
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002393102 Release Date: 10/09/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Gabriel Fauré
    Performer:  Yuja Wang
    Conductor:  Lionel Bringuier
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra
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  • 10.
    Martha Argerich: The Complete Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002364402 Release Date: 09/25/2015   Number of Discs: 48
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Johannes Brahms,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Martha Argerich,  Guy Touvron,  Gidon Kremer,  Alexandre Gurning  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Charles Dutoit,  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Jörg Faerber  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 11.
    Argerich & Ricci  - Leningrad 1961
    Label: Doremi Records   Catalog: 8040 Release Date: 07/10/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Spoken Word,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Béla Bartók  ... 
    Performer:  Martha Argerich,  Ruggiero Ricci
    Conductor:  Ernest Bour
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  • 12.
    Broadway-Lafayette - Ravel, Lasser, Gershwin / Simone Dinnerstein
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 503245 Release Date: 02/24/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Philip Lasser,  George Gershwin
    Performer:  Simone Dinnerstein
    Conductor:  Kristjan Järvi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Middle German Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 13.
    Pierre Boulez - 20th Century
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002250902 Release Date: 02/10/2015   Number of Discs: 44
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Alban Berg,  Harrison Birtwistle,  Pierre Boulez  ... 
    Performer:  John Tomlinson,  John Aler,  Krystian Zimerman,  Leif Ove Andsnes  ... 
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez,  Martyn Brabbins
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Chorus,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $279.49
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  • 14.
    Argerich & Abbado - Complete Concerto Recordings
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002250602 Release Date: 01/20/2015   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Sergei Prokofiev,  Maurice Ravel,  Frédéric Chopin,  Franz Liszt  ... 
    Performer:  Martha Argerich
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Mahler Chamber Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $26.99
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  • 15.
    Piano Concertos By Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schumann, Ravel / Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli
    Label: Urania Records   Catalog: 121217 Release Date: 12/09/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Maurice Ravel,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli
    Conductor:  Mario Rossi,  Hermann Scherchen,  Nino Sanzogno,  Massimo Freccia
    CD: $29.99
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  • 16.
    Helene Grimaud: The Complete Warner Classics Recordings
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 4622737 Release Date: 11/11/2014   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Richard Strauss,  Johannes Brahms,  George Gershwin  ... 
    Performer:  Hélčne Grimaud
    Conductor:  David Zinman,  Kurt Sanderling,  Kurt Masur,  Vladimir Ashkenazy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin,  Berlin Staatskapelle Orchestra,  Baltimore Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $35.99
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  • 17.
    Leonard Bernstein Edition - Concertos & Orchestral Works
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 301330 Release Date: 10/27/2014   Number of Discs: 80
    Composer:  Samuel Barber,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Béla Bartók  ... 
    Performer:  Isaac Stern,  Leonard Bernstein,  Harold Gomberg,  William Heim  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Seiji Ozawa,  Maurice Peress
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  New York Philharmonic members,  Columbia Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 18.
    The Originals - Legendary Recordings from DG
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002171502 Release Date: 10/27/2014   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  David Oistrakh,  Igor Oistrakh,  Pierre Fournier,  Walter Berry  ... 
    Conductor:  David Oistrakh,  Sir Eugene Goossens,  Franz Konwitschny,  Carlos Kleiber  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Dresden Staatskapelle  ... 
    CD: $175.49
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  • 19.
    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  ... 
    CD: $21.99
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  • 20.
    Ravel, Debussy, Faure / Anne Queffelec
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 629907 Release Date: 06/10/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Claude Debussy,  Gabriel Fauré
    Performer:  Anne Queffélec,  Pierre Amoyal
    Conductor:  Alain Lombard,  Armin Jordan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra,  Monte Carlo Opera Orchestra
    CD: $27.99
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  • 21.
    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
    CD: $18.99
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  • 22.
    Ravel: Piano Concertos; Falla: Nights In The Gardens Of Spain
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002050502 Release Date: 05/27/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Manuel de Falla
    Performer:  Alicia De Larrocha
    Conductor:  Lawrence Foster,  Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 23.
    Istvan Kertesz: The London Years
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002033602 Release Date: 04/15/2014   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Johannes Brahms,  Anton Bruckner,  Antonín Dvorák  ... 
    Performer:  Walter Berry,  Christa Ludwig,  Pilar Lorengar,  Erzsébet Komlossy  ... 
    Conductor:  István Kertész
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Ambrosian Singers,  Brighton Festival Chorus  ... 
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  • 24.
    Erato - 50 CD Collection
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 46441 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Tomaso Albinoni,  Giuseppe Tartini,  Georg Philipp Telemann,  Giuseppe Torelli  ... 
    Performer:  Maurice André,  Pierre Pierlot,  Paul Hongne,  Jacques Chambon  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Jean-François Paillard,  Frigyes Sándor,  Kent Nagano  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Ens.,  Paillard Chamber Orchestra,  Vienna Soloists  ... 
    On sale! $299.98
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  • 25.
    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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    CD: $109.99
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