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: Concerto for Piano in G major

Browse 26-50 of 95 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    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
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  • 27.
    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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  • 28.
    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  ... 
    Recommendation
    CD: $64.49
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  • 29.
    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  ... 
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  • 30.
    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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  • 31.
    Ravel: Piano Music, Piano Concerto / Thibaudet, Grimaud
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 1313396 Release Date: 08/13/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Jean-Yves Thibaudet,  Hélčne Grimaud
    Conductor:  Jesús Lopez-Cobos
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 32.
    Debussy, Poulenc, Ravel, Francaix: Piano Concertos / Florian Uhlig
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 93302 Release Date: 05/28/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Jean Françaix,  Francis Poulenc,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Florian Uhlig
    Conductor:  Pablo Gonzalez
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  German Radio Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 33.
    Rhapsody in Blue / Benjamin Grosvenor
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001761002 Release Date: 02/05/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  George Gershwin,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Benjamin Grosvenor
    Conductor:  James Judd
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 34.
    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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  • 35.
    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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  • 36.
    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  ... 
    CD: $85.99
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  • 37.
    Martha Argerich & Friends -  Live From Lugano 2011
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 44701 Release Date: 06/05/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Martha Argerich,  Renaud Capuçon,  Cristina Marton,  Alissa Margulis  ... 
    Conductor:  Jacek Kaspszyk
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Switzerland Radio/TV Orchestra
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  • 38.
    Sounds Of The 30s - Stravinsky, Ravel, Weill / Bollani, Chailly, Gewandhaus
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001679602 Release Date: 05/22/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Igor Stravinsky,  Kurt Weill,  Victor De Sabata
    Performer:  Stefano Bollani
    Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
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  • 39.
    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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  • 40.
    Great Piano Concertos
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8501056 Release Date: 04/24/2012   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Franz Liszt  ... 
    Performer:  Jénö Jandó,  Stefan Vladar,  Idil Biret,  Eldar Nebolsin  ... 
    Conductor:  András Ligeti,  Mátyás Antal,  Barry Wordsworth,  Antoni Wit  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concentus Hungaricus,  Capella Istropolitana,  Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 41.
    Tribute To Jerome Robbins / Paris Opera Ballet
    Label: Bel Air Classiques   Catalog: 70 Release Date: 02/28/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Nico Muhly
    Conductor:  Koen Kessels
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris National Opera Orchestra
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  • 42.
    Tribute To Jerome Robbins / Paris Opera Ballet [blu-ray]
    Label: Bel Air Classiques   Catalog: 470 Release Date: 02/28/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Nico Muhly
    Conductor:  Koen Kessels
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris National Opera Orchestra
    On sale! $39.99
    Blu-ray Video: $31.99
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  • 43.
    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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  • 44.
    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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  • 45.
    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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  • 46.
    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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  • 47.
    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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  • 48.
    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:  Hélčne Grimaud
    Conductor:  Vladimir Jurowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chamber Orchestra of Europe
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  • 49.
    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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  • 50.
    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
    CD: $21.99
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