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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
Faure; Lekeu; Ravel / Tasmin Little, Martin Roscoe
Release Date: 11/18/2014   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 10812   Number of Discs: 1
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Ravel, Debussy / Pierre Boulez [6-CD Set]
Release Date: 05/08/2012   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 001676802   Number of Discs: 6
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Ravel, Chausson: Piano Trios / Wanderer Trio
Release Date: 03/20/2007   Label: Harmonia Mundi Musique D'abord  
Catalog: 1951967   Number of Discs: 1
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Reflections - Ravel, Decaux, Schonberg / Frederic Chiu
Release Date: 02/14/2012   Label: Harmonia Mundi  
Catalog: 1957166   Number of Discs: 1
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Ravel: Daphnis Et Chloé / Petitgirard, Bordeaux Aquitaine
Release Date: 11/21/2006   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8570075   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Le tombeau de Couperin

Browse 26-50 of 122 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Bolero - Best Of Ravel
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 7317132 Release Date: 02/14/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
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  • 27.
    Label: Bayer Records   Catalog: 10034445 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Heidi Lowy
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  • 28.
    The Decca Sound [50-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001619902 Release Date: 11/15/2011   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  ... 
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  • 29.
    Trilogie - Chopin, Debussy, Ravel / Samson Francois
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 0283142 Release Date: 11/15/2011   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Samson François
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  • 30.
    London Chamber Orchestra Plays Ravel, Faure, Poulenc, Ibert
    Label: Signum U.k.   Catalog: 211 Release Date: 09/27/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Gabriel Fauré,  Francis Poulenc,  Jacques Ibert
    Performer:  Pascal Rogé
    Conductor:  Christopher Warren-Green
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Chamber Orchestra
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  • 31.
    Ravel: Orchestral Works / Haitink, Concertgebouw
    Label: Newton Classics   Catalog: 8802068 Release Date: 06/28/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
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  • 32.
    Ravel: Complete Piano Music  / Steven Osborne
    Label: Hyperion   Catalog: 67731 Release Date: 03/08/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Steven Osborne
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  • 33.
    Ran Jia Live In Recital
    Label: Video Artists International   Catalog: 4524 Release Date: 03/01/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Domenico Scarlatti,  Franz Schubert,  Maurice Ravel,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Ran Jia
    DVD: $28.99
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  • 34.
    Label: Ars Produktion   Catalog: 380949 Release Date: 01/01/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Edvard Grieg,  Thierry Escaich,  Béla Bartók,  Dmitri Shostakovich  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Signum Saxophonquartett
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  • 35.
    Ravel: Complete Piano Works / Michelangelo Carbonara
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94083 Release Date: 11/09/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Michelangelo Carbonara
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  • 36.
    Lyrical Landscape
    Label: Camerata Records   Catalog: 28172 Release Date: 10/12/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  M. Kutnowski,  Satoshi Ohmae,  Tylman Susato,  Johannes Crüger  ... 
    Performer:  Hiroshi Mochida
    Conductor:  Hiroshi Mochida
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Syrinx Flute Ensemble
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  • 37.
    Maurice Ravel: Le Tombeau De Couperin; Modest Mussorgsky: Pictures Of An Exhibition
    Label: Phil.harmonie   Catalog: 6001 Release Date: 10/12/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Modest Mussorgsky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Berlin
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  • 38.
    Maurice Ravel: Integrale De L'oeuvre Pour Piano, Vol. 3
    Label: Wergo   Catalog: 60182 Release Date: 08/03/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
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  • 39.
    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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  • 40.
    Ravel: Tombeau De Couperin; Sonatine; Pavane Pour Une Infante Defunte
    Label: Tutti (Label)   Catalog: 3000 Release Date: 07/13/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Claude Bessmann
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  • 41.
    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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  • 42.
    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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  • 43.
    European Concert 2 - 1996-1999 / Berlin Philharmonic
    Label: Kultur Video   Catalog: 4527 Release Date: 03/30/2010   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Maurice Ravel,  Sergei Rachmaninov  ... 
    Performer:  Emanuel Ax
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Daniel Barenboim,  Bernard Haitink
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 44.
    Label: Hunternoack.com   Catalog: 5637593337 Release Date: 02/23/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Domenico Scarlatti,  Franz Schubert,  Frederic Rzewski  ... 
    Performer:  Hunter Noack
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  • 45.
    A Festival Of Ballet
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 67063 Release Date: 01/26/2010   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Gustav Holst,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Modest Mussorgsky  ... 
    Performer:  Barbara Hendricks,  Susan Bickley,  Lorraine Hunt Lieberson,  Catherine Pierard  ... 
    Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe,  André Previn,  Paavo Järvi,  Sir Charles Mackerras  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 46.
    Mussorgsky/Ravel: Pictures At An Exhibition / Solti
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 400051 Release Date: 11/10/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Modest Mussorgsky
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
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  • 47.
    Ravel: Ma Mere L'oye, Etc / Dutoit, Montreal So
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 410254 Release Date: 08/18/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Montreal Symphony Orchestra
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  • 48.
    Rubinstein Collection - Works By Ravel, Poulenc, Faure, Chabrier
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 5665 Release Date: 05/08/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Emmanuel Chabrier,  Gabriel Fauré,  Francis Poulenc,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Artur Rubinstein
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  • 49.
    Icon - Walter Gieseking - Poet Of The Keyboard
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 65081 Release Date: 04/21/2009   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Claude Debussy,  Edvard Grieg,  César Franck  ... 
    Performer:  Walter Gieseking,  Bernard Walton,  Sidney Sutcliffe,  Cecil James  ... 
    Conductor:  Kurt Schröder,  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hessian Radio Orchestra Frankfurt,  Philharmonia Orchestra
    CD: $54.49
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  • 50.
    Ravel: Complete Piano Music / Michelangelo Carbonara
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 9020 Release Date: 10/21/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
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