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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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Bernstein In Paris - The Ravel Concerts
Release Date: 01/31/2006   Label: Kultur Video  
Catalog: 1337   Number of Discs: 1
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Ravel: L'enfant Et Sortileges, L'heure Espagnole / Rattle, Edwards
Release Date: 06/30/2009   Label: Kultur Video  
Catalog: 4461   Number of Discs: 1
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Ravel, Strauss / Jurowski, Grimaud, Chamber Orchestra of Europe
Release Date: 07/27/2010   Label: Euroarts  
Catalog: 3078738   Number of Discs: 1
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Debussy, Faure, Ravel: Piano Trios / Florestan Trio
Release Date: 10/12/2010   Label: Hyperion  
Catalog: 30029   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 Works Vol 2 / Artur Pizarro
    Label: Linn Records   Catalog: 315 Release Date: 10/01/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Artur Pizarro
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  • 52.
    Karajan - Complete Emi Recordings 1946-84 Vol 1 - Orchestral Works
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 12038 Release Date: 04/01/2008   Number of Discs: 88
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Josef Strauss,  E. Nikolaus von Reznicek,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Karl Leister,  Elisabeth Schwarzkopf,  Ernst Haefliger,  Anne-Sophie Mutter  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
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  • 53.
    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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  • 54.
    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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  • 55.
    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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  • 56.
    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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  • 57.
    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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  • 58.
    Original Masters - Ernest Ansermet - Decca Recordings 1953-1967
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000837002 Release Date: 02/13/2007   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Igor Stravinsky,  Ottorino Respighi,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov  ... 
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra
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  • 59.
    Le Tombeau De Couperin - L'oeuvre Française Pour Hautbois
    Label: Camerata Records   Catalog: 282 Release Date: 10/24/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Darius Milhaud,  Henri Dutilleux,  Nikos Skalkottas  ... 
    Performer:  Werner Genuit,  Thomas Indermühle
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  • 60.
    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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  • 61.
    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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  • 62.
    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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  • 63.
    Weber, Ravel, Pijper, Elgar, Chabrier / Monteux
    Label: Bbc Legends   Catalog: 4172 Release Date: 06/27/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Emmanuel Chabrier,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Willem Pijper  ... 
    Conductor:  Pierre Monteux
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  BBC Symphony Orchestra
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  • 64.
    Janacek, Debussy, Ravel, Martinu / Libor Novacek
    Label: Landor Records   Catalog: 274 Release Date: 04/11/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Leos Janácek,  Maurice Ravel,  Claude Debussy,  Bohuslav Martinu
    Performer:  Libor Novacek
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  • 65.
    Gemini - Ravel: Orchestral Works / Jean Martinon
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 76960 Release Date: 02/21/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Jean Martinon
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de Paris
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  • 66.
    Music Of Ravel Arranged For Winds / Windscape
    Label: Msr   Catalog: 1130 Release Date: 11/29/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Windscape
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  • 67.
    Ravel: Le Tombeau De Couperin, Etc / David Korevar
    Label: Msr   Catalog: 1125 Release Date: 09/27/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  David Korevaar
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  • 68.
    Ravel: Bolero, La Valse, Etc / Karajan, Berlin Philharmonic
    Label: Emi Great Artists Of The Century   Catalog: 76860 Release Date: 08/02/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Orchestre de Paris
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  • 69.
    Rediscovered Master / Madelaine De Valmalete
    Label: Arbiter   Catalog: 144 Release Date: 03/29/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Maurice Ravel,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Madelaine De Valmalete
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  • 70.
    Ravel: Orchestral Works / Previn, Royal Po
    Label: Emi Classics Encore   Catalog: 85078 Release Date: 03/01/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Jeffrey Bryant
    Conductor:  André Previn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 71.
    Gemini - Ravel: Complete Works For Solo Piano / Collard
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 86061 Release Date: 02/15/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Jean-Philippe Collard
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  • 72.
    Ravel: Gaspard De La Nuit, Etc / Eschenbach, Barto, Et Al
    Label: Ondine   Catalog: 1051 Release Date: 02/08/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Carole Bouquet,  Tzimon Barto
    Conductor:  Christoph Eschenbach
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de Paris
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  • 73.
    Paul Paray Conducts French Orchestral Music (5 CD Set)
    Label: Mercury Living Presence   Catalog: 000337602 Release Date: 11/09/2004   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Jules Massenet,  Hector Berlioz,  Georges Bizet,  Camille Saint-Saëns  ... 
    Performer:  Marcel Dupré
    Conductor:  Paul Paray
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Detroit Symphony Orchestra
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  • 74.
    Ravel: Orchestral Music / Tortelier, Ulster Orchestra
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 10251 Release Date: 10/19/2004   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Colin Fleming,  Rachel Masters,  Linda Finnie,  Christopher Blake  ... 
    Conductor:  Yan Pascal Tortelier
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ulster Orchestra,  Belfast Philharmonic Society Chorus,  Renaissance Singers
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  • 75.
    Great Conductors Of The 20th Century / Fritz Reiner
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 62866 Release Date: 07/13/2004   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Manuel de Falla,  Maurice Ravel,  Richard Strauss  ... 
    Performer:  Carol Brice,  Emil Gilels
    Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra,  NBC Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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