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: Le tombeau de Couperin

Browse 51-75 of 121 Available Recordings
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  • 51.
    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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  • 52.
    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
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  • 53.
    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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  • 54.
    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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  • 55.
    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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  • 56.
    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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  • 57.
    Bizet: Symphony In C;  Faure: Pavane;  Ibert, Ravel / Hickox
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 90765 Release Date: 09/16/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Gabriel Fauré,  Jacques Ibert,  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Richard Hickox
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of London Sinfonia
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  • 58.
    Ravel: Piano Concerto; Le Tombeau De Couperin; Stravinsky: Capriccio / Monique Haas
    Label: Dg 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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  • 59.
    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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  • 60.
    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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  • 61.
    Eduardo Mata Edition Vol 3 - Ravel
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 30979 Release Date: 05/05/2010   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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  • 62.
    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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  • 63.
    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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  • 64.
    Ravel: Orchestral Music / Cluytens, Paris Conservatory Orch
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 69165 Release Date: 11/17/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  André Cluytens
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris
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  • 65.
    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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  • 66.
    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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  • 67.
    Introduction And Allegro / Hickox, City Of London Sinfonia
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 59695 Release Date: 03/26/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Gabriel Fauré,  Jacques Ibert,  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  David Campbell,  Carol Wincenc,  Vanessa McKeand
    Conductor:  Richard Hickox,  Edmon Colomer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Allegri String Quartet,  City of London Sinfonia,  English Chamber Orchestra
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  • 68.
    Beethoven: Symphony No. 7; Bach: Brandenburg Coincerto No. 3; Ravel: Le Tombeau De Couperin
    Label: Archipel   Catalog: 399 Release Date: 02/26/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Sergiu Celibidache
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  • 69.
    Charles Munch - Debussy, Ravel, Roussel / Nbc Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 2327 Release Date: 02/19/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Albert Roussel,  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Charles Munch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
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  • 70.
    Charles Munch In New York - Debussy, Ravel, Roussel
    Label: Music & Arts Programs Of America   Catalog: 1208 Release Date: 11/27/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel,  Albert Roussel
    Conductor:  Charles Munch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra
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  • 71.
    Ravel: Orchestral Works / Martinon, Orchestre De Paris
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 892 Release Date: 10/02/2007   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Jean Martinon
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de Paris
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  • 72.
    Ravel, Couperin, Debussy / Calefax Reed Quintet
    Label: Md&g (Dabringhaus & Grimm)   Catalog: 6190658 Release Date: 05/22/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Calefax Reed Ensemble
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  • 73.
    Building Castles In The Sky - Ravel, Ibert, Couperin, Et Al
    Label: Boston Records   Catalog: 1069 Release Date: 08/22/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Walter Aschaffenburg,  Jacques Ibert,  François Couperin  ... 
    Performer:  James Caldwell
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Chamber Symphony,  Cleveland Chamber Symphony
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  • 74.
    Monique Haas - Complete DG Recordings
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 689502 Release Date: 08/08/2006   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Marcel Mihalovici,  Maurice Ravel,  Béla Bartók,  Albert Roussel  ... 
    Performer:  Monique Haas,  Max Rostal,  Heinz Schröter
    Conductor:  Paul Hindemith,  Paul Paray,  Ferenc Fricsay,  Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  French National Orchestra,  Berlin RIAS Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 75.
    Ravel: Orchestral Works, Concertos, Etc / Roge, Dutoit
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000639702 Release Date: 07/04/2006   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Timothy Hutchins,  John Zirbel,  Pascal Rogé,  Marie-Francoise Lefort  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Montreal Symphony Chorus,  Montreal Symphony Orchestra
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