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: Concerto for Piano in G major

Browse 26-50 of 110 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Ultimate Piano Concerto Collection (W/Cdrom) (Box)
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 9098 Release Date: 11/15/2011   Number of Discs: 30
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Frédéric Chopin,  Edvard Grieg  ... 
    Performer:  Derek Han,  Evgeni Kissin,  Karin Lechner,  Klára Würtz  ... 
    Conductor:  Paul Freeman,  Stephen Gunzenhauser,  Dmitri Kitayenko,  Eduardo Marturet  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Israel Chamber Orchestra,  Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $88.99
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  • 27.
    Nobel Prize Concert 2009 - Ravel, Prokofiev  Argerich, Temirkanov
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2057894 Release Date: 10/25/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Maurice Ravel,  Frédéric Chopin,  Sergei Prokofiev
    Performer:  Martha Argerich
    Conductor:  Yuri Temirkanov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 28.
    Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No.3/Ravel (Jpn) (Shm)
    Label: Imports   Catalog: 957563 Release Date: 09/06/2011  
    Composer:  Sergei Prokofiev,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Martha Argerich
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 29.
    Legends Of The Xx Century: Yakov Zak, Pianist
    Label: Melodiya   Catalog: 1001789 Release Date: 07/12/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Sergei Prokofiev
    Performer:  Yakov Zak
    Conductor:  Yevgeny Svetlanov,  Kurt Sanderling
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  USSR State Symphony Orchestra,  All-Union Radio/TV Large Symphony Orchestra
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  • 30.
    Debussy, Ravel And Bartok / Monique Haas
    Label: Dg Double   Catalog: 439666 Release Date: 03/24/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel,  Béla Bartók
    Performer:  Monique Haas
    Conductor:  Paul Paray,  Ferenc Fricsay
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  ORTF National Orchestra,  Berlin RIAS Symphony Orchestra
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  • 31.
    Ravel, Debussy & Massenet / Bavouzet, Tortelier, BBC Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 5084 Release Date: 11/16/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Jules Massenet,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Jean-Efflam Bavouzet
    Conductor:  Yan Pascal Tortelier
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra
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  • 32.
    Ravel, Strauss / Jurowski, Grimaud, Chamber Orchestra of Europe [Blu-ray]
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 3078734 Release Date: 11/16/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Hélène Grimaud
    Conductor:  Vladimir Jurowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chamber Orchestra of Europe
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  • 33.
    111 - The Collector's Edition 2 [56-CD Set - Limited Edition]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 4779142 Release Date: 11/09/2010   Number of Discs: 56
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Maurice Ravel,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Stuart Harling,  Robert Lloyd,  Sherrill Milnes,  Placido Domingo  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  John Nelson,  Leonard Bernstein,  Jerzy Semkow  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Ambrosian Singers,  George Watson's College Boys' Chorus  ... 
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  • 34.
    Anna Vinnitskaya Plays Prokofiev & Ravel
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 5238 Release Date: 10/26/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Prokofiev,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Anna Vinnitskaya
    Conductor:  Gilbert Varga
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin
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  • 35.
    Ravel: Piano Concertos / Samson Francois
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 31803 Release Date: 10/12/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Samson François
    Conductor:  André Cluytens
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Conservatoire Orchestra
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  • 36.
    Ravel: Piano Concertos, Miroirs / Aimard, Boulez, Cleveland Orchestra
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001476402 Release Date: 10/05/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Pierre-Laurent Aimard
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
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  • 37.
    Ravel, Gershwin: Piano Concertos; Stravinsky: Capriccio / Parker
    Label: Atma Classique   Catalog: 2656 Release Date: 08/31/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky,  George Gershwin,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Ian Parker
    Conductor:  Michael Francis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 38.
    Ravel: Piano Concerto; Le Tombeau De Couperin; Stravinsky: Capriccio / Monique Haas
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 459010 Release Date: 07/30/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Monique Haas
    Conductor:  Ferenc Fricsay,  Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin RIAS Symphony Orchestra
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  • 39.
    Nobel Prize Concert 2009
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2057898 Release Date: 07/27/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Prokofiev,  Frédéric Chopin,  Maurice Ravel,  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Performer:  Martha Argerich
    Conductor:  Yuri Temirkanov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 40.
    Ravel, Strauss / Jurowski, Grimaud, Chamber Orchestra of Europe
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 3078738 Release Date: 07/27/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Hélène Grimaud
    Conductor:  Vladimir Jurowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chamber Orchestra of Europe
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  • 41.
    Maurice Ravel
    Label: Membran International Gmbh   Catalog: 913443 Release Date: 07/06/2010   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Walter Gieseking,  Marguerite Long,  Robert Casadesus,  Marcel Moyse  ... 
    Conductor:  Maurice Ravel,  Désiré-Emile Inghelbrecht,  Wilhelm Furtwängler,  Igor Markevitch  ... 
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  • 42.
    Ernest Ansermet: The Early Days (1916-1955)
    Label: Cascavelle   Catalog: 3119 Release Date: 06/08/2010   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Nikolai N. Tcherepnin,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Igor Stravinsky,  Ernest Christensen,  Leslie Heward,  Fanny Davies  ... 
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet
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  • 43.
    Eduardo Mata Edition Vol 3 - Ravel
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 30979 Release Date: 05/13/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Tedd Joselson
    Conductor:  Eduardo Mata
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dallas Symphony Orchestra,  Dallas Symphony Chorus
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  • 44.
    Ravel: Concerto In G; Debussy: Fantasie; Franck: Symphonic Variations
    Label: Danacord   Catalog: 672 Release Date: 02/09/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  César Franck,  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Oleg Marshev
    Conductor:  Vladimir Ziva
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  • 45.
    Piano Masterworks - The World's Favourite Piano Classics - Bach, Debussy, Etc / Argerich, Arrau, Et Al
    Label: Decca   Catalog: B001206502 Release Date: 12/16/2009   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  András Schiff,  Andrei Gavrilov,  Friedrich Gulda,  Wilhelm Kempff  ... 
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink,  Eliahu Inbal,  Horst Stein,  Zubin Mehta  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chamber Orchestra of Europe,  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 46.
    Bartok: Piano Concerto No 3; Ravel: Piano Concerto In G / Wurtz, Kuchar
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 958756 Release Date: 11/24/2009  
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Klára Würtz
    Conductor:  Theodore Kuchar
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Janácek Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 47.
    Idil Biret Concerto Edition Vol 3 - Ravel, Saint-saens
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8571272 Release Date: 09/29/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Camille Saint-Saëns
    Performer:  Idil Biret
    Conductor:  Jean Fournet
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bilkent Symphony Orchestra
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  • 48.
    Martha Argerich - The Collection 2 - The Concerto Recordings
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001319202 Release Date: 08/18/2009   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Dmitri Shostakovich  ... 
    Performer:  Martha Argerich,  Guy Touvron,  Gidon Kremer
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Giuseppe Sinopoli,  Jörg Faerber,  Mstislav Rostropovich  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mahler Chamber Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 49.
    Ravel: The Piano Concertos, Miroirs, Etc / Roge, Dutoit
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 410230 Release Date: 08/18/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Pascal Rogé
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Montreal Symphony Orchestra
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  • 50.
    Ravel: Daphnis et Chloé, Piano Concerto / Munch, BSO
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 38463 Release Date: 05/22/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Nicole Henriot-Schweitzer
    Conductor:  Charles Munch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  New England Conservatory Chorus
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