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
Dukas: Sorcerer's Apprentice; Ravel: Mother Goose; Koechlin: Les Bandar-log / Albrecht, Strasbourg Philharmonic
Release Date: 07/27/2010   Label: Pentatone  
Catalog: 5186336   Number of Discs: 1
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Franck, Debussy, Ravel: Violin Sonatas / Pike, Roscoe
Release Date: 04/26/2011   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 10667   Number of Discs: 1
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Ravel: Orchestral Works / Ozawa, Boston Symphony Orchestra
Release Date: 05/12/2015   Label: Pentatone  
Catalog: 5186204   Number of Discs: 1
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Ravel: Music For Four Hands / Louis Lortie, Hélčne Mercier
Release Date: 10/28/1992   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 8905   Number of Discs: 1
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Ravel: Piano Trio; Debussy: Sonatas / Borodin Trio
Release Date: 10/28/1992   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 8458   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Le tombeau de Couperin

Browse 1-25 of 119 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Abrahamsen: Works for Wind Quintet / Ensemble MidtVest
    Label: Dacapo   Catalog: 8226090 Release Date: 06/10/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hans Abrahamsen,  Robert Schumann,  Maurice Ravel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble MidtVest
    CD: $17.99
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  • 2.
    Erik Satie & Friends
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88875177492 Release Date: 05/13/2016   Number of Discs: 13
    Composer:  Francis Poulenc,  Erik Satie,  Emmanuel Chabrier,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Francis Poulenc,  Pierre Bernac,  Arthur Gold,  Robert Fizdale  ... 
    Conductor:  André Previn,  Philippe Entremont,  Thomas Schippers,  Charles Gerhardt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic  ... 
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  • 3.
    Europakonzert: 25 DVD Anniversary Box (1991-2015) / Berliner Philharmoniker
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 26098 Release Date: 04/29/2016  
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Béla Bartók,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Hector Berlioz  ... 
    Performer:  Leonidas Kavakos,  Mikhail Pletnev,  Violeta Urmana,  Elke Wilm Schulte  ... 
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle,  Pierre Boulez,  Gustavo Dudamel,  Claudio Abbado  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Swedish Radio Choir,  Eric Ericson Chamber Choir
    On sale! $118.99
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  • 4.
    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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  • 5.
    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
    CD: $44.49
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  • 6.
    Ravel: Piano Works / Akiko Ebi
    Label: Acousence Classics   Catalog: 12515 Release Date: 04/08/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Akiko Ebi
    CD: $18.99
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  • 7.
    A Moveable Feast / Stockholm Syndrome Ensemble
    Label: Channel Classics   Catalog: 36916 Release Date: 04/01/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Maurice Ravel,  Manuel de Falla
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stockholm Syndrome Ensemble
    On sale! $21.98
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  • 8.
    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  ... 
    CD: $145.99
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  • 9.
    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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  • 10.
    Ravel: Complete Works for Solo Piano / Bertrand Chamayou
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 553646 Release Date: 01/29/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Alfredo Casella
    Performer:  Bertrand Chamayou
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  • 11.
    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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  • 12.
    Lignes Claires: Music for Piano / Libeer
    Label: Evil Penguin Records   Catalog: 20 Release Date: 01/08/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Dinu Lipatti
    Performer:  Julien Libeer
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  • 13.
    Souvenirs - Ravel, Dupin, Albeniz: Piano Works / Hozu
    Label: Anima   Catalog: 141100001 Release Date: 01/05/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Marc-Olivier Dupin,  Isaac Albeniz
    Performer:  Reiko Hozu
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  • 14.
    Kathryn Stott: The Complete Solo Recordings
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88875135622 Release Date: 11/13/2015   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Franz Liszt,  Gabriel Fauré  ... 
    Performer:  Kathryn Stott
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  • 15.
    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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  • 16.
    Complete Piano Works of Ravel / Hinrich Alpers
    Label: Honens   Catalog: 201502 Release Date: 10/09/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Alfredo Casella,  Arthur Honegger,  Kendall Briggs  ... 
    Performer:  Hinrich Alpers
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  • 17.
    Solitaires / Stott
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 2148 Release Date: 09/11/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jehan-Ariste Alain,  Henri Dutilleux,  Maurice Ravel,  Olivier Messiaen
    Performer:  Kathryn Stott
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  • 18.
    The Complete Piano Works Of Maurice Ravel / Artur Pizarro
    Label: Linn Records   Catalog: 523 Release Date: 06/09/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Artur Pizarro
    On sale! $22.99
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  • 19.
    Ravel: Orchestral Works / Ozawa, Boston Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Pentatone   Catalog: 5186204 Release Date: 05/12/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
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  • 20.
    111 - The Piano - Legendary Recordings
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002281002 Release Date: 04/21/2015   Number of Discs: 40
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Robert Schumann,  Frédéric Chopin,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Pierre-Laurent Aimard,  Géza Anda,  Martha Argerich,  Daniel Barenboim  ... 
    CD: $168.99
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  • 21.
    Decca Sound  – Mono Years 1944 -1956
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002280602 Release Date: 04/07/2015   Number of Discs: 53
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky,  Maurice Ravel,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Wilhelm Backhaus,  Clifford Curzon,  Alfredo Campoli,  Henry Datyner  ... 
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet,  Ataulfo Argenta,  Roger Desormičre,  Karl Münchinger  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  Paris Conservatoire Orchestra,  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris  ... 
    CD: $213.99
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  • 22.
    Europakonzert 2003 / Boulez, Berlin Philharmonic
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2053074 Release Date: 02/24/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Maurice Ravel,  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Maria-Joao Pires
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
    Blu-ray Video: $29.99
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  • 23.
    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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  • 24.
    Pierre Boulez: The Complete Columbia Album Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 301333 Release Date: 11/24/2014   Number of Discs: 67
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Alexander Scriabin,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Alban Berg  ... 
    Performer:  Karl Dönch,  Isabel Strauss,  Walter Berry,  Fritz Uhl  ... 
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez,  Anton Webern
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  Camerata Singers,  Schola Cantorum New York  ... 
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  • 25.
    Moderne
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 2908710 Release Date: 11/11/2014   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Francis Poulenc,  Maurice Ravel,  Erik Satie  ... 
    Performer:  Alexandre Tharaud,  Jean-Guihen Queyras,  Ronald Van Spaendonck,  Eric Le Sage  ... 
    Conductor:  Andrea Quinn
    CD: $48.99
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