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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
Ravel: L'heure Espagnole, L'enfant Et Les Sortileges / Gadelia, Gay, Oustrac, Madore, Ono
Release Date: 11/12/2013   Label: Fra Musica  
Catalog: 8   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: Jeux d'eau

Browse 1-25 of 120 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    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
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  • 2.
    The Originals - Legendary Recordings from DG
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002171502 Release Date: 10/27/2014   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  David Oistrakh,  Igor Oistrakh,  Pierre Fournier,  Walter Berry  ... 
    Conductor:  David Oistrakh,  Sir Eugene Goossens,  Franz Konwitschny,  Carlos Kleiber  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Dresden Staatskapelle  ... 
    On sale! $159.98
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  • 3.
    Ravel: Complete Solo Piano Works
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 93318 Release Date: 08/12/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Florian Uhlig
    CD: $39.99
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  • 4.
    A Piano Recital by Peter Miyamoto
    Label: Blue Griffin   Catalog: 335 Release Date: 06/10/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Alban Berg,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Peter Miyamoto
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  • 5.
    Ravel: Orchestral & Virtuoso Piano / Vincent Larderet
    Label: Ars Produktion   Catalog: 38146 Release Date: 04/29/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Vincent Larderet
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  • 6.
    Ravel: Piano Masterworks
    Label: Arts Music   Catalog: 47763 Release Date: 11/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Alessandra Ammara
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  • 7.
    The  Complete Homocord Recordings And Other Rarities
    Label: Apr (Appian)   Catalog: 6013 Release Date: 11/12/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Frédéric Chopin,  Franz Liszt,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Walter Gieseking,  Lambros Callimahos,  Gustav Scheck
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  • 8.
    Piano Music Grand-Mondain - Debussy, Ravel, Dukas, Satie
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 300537 Release Date: 10/08/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel,  Paul Dukas,  Erik Satie  ... 
    Performer:  Haakon Austbö,  Michelangelo Carbonara,  Mariangela Vacatello,  Marco Rapetti  ... 
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  • 9.
    Boesendorfer Sound / Carol Rosenberger
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 3460 Release Date: 09/24/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard R. Bennett,  Franz Liszt,  Enrique Granados,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Carol Rosenberger
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  • 10.
    Ravel: Complete Piano Music / Francois Dumont
    Label: Piano Classics   Catalog: 55 Release Date: 08/27/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Francois Dumont
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  • 11.
    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,  Hélène Grimaud
    Conductor:  Jesús Lopez-Cobos
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 12.
    The Impressionists / Mary Towse-Beck
    Label: Cd Baby   Catalog: 5638131362 Release Date: 08/02/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Charles Tomlinson Griffes,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Mary Towse-beck
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  • 13.
    Ravel / Samson Francois
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 287982 Release Date: 06/18/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Samson François
    Conductor:  André Cluytens
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris
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  • 14.
    Sound Waves / Alexandra Silocea
    Label: Avie   Catalog: 2266 Release Date: 06/11/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel,  Franz Liszt,  Martin Romberg
    Performer:  Alexandra Silocea
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  • 15.
    Edition Klavier-festival Ruhr, Vol. 29: Frankreich, Amerika & Neue Musik
    Label: Cavi Music   Catalog: 8553273 Release Date: 04/09/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  George Gershwin,  Earl Wild,  John Cage  ... 
    Performer:  Bertrand Chamayou,  Ya-Fei Chuang,  Robert D. [American Pianist] Levin,  Eva Vogel  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gershwin Quartett (String Quartet)
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  • 16.
    French Piano Music / Benjamin Moser
    Label: Oehms   Catalog: 423 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Benjamin Moser
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  • 17.
    50 Shades Of Classical
    Label: Cleopatra   Catalog: 159 Release Date: 11/27/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Gabriel Fauré,  Franz Liszt,  Sergei Rachmaninov  ... 
    Performer:  Danielle Dechenne,  Henrik Lagendaal,  Nora Ksendzov,  Dubravka Tomsic  ... 
    Conductor:  Michael Raucheisen,  Zdenek Chabala,  Ferdinand Lang,  Zoltan Kovats  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Caspar da Salo Quartett
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  • 18.
    Alfred Cortot: Anniversary Edition
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 4907 Release Date: 11/19/2012   Number of Discs: 40
    Composer:  Isaac Albeniz,  Claude Debussy,  Frédéric Chopin,  Franz Liszt  ... 
    Performer:  Alfred Cortot,  Pablo Casals,  Jacques Thibaud,  Charles Panzera  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  International String Quartet
    On sale! $150.98
    CD: $115.99
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  • 19.
    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: $83.49
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  • 20.
    Beautiful Starry Night - Jean-Yves Thibaudet Plays Ravel
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 448618 Release Date: 09/10/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Jean-Yves Thibaudet
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  • 21.
    My Favorite Things
    Label: Shadow Mountain   Catalog: 587800 Release Date: 07/31/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Rodgers,  Frédéric Chopin,  Harold Arlen,  Domenico Scarlatti  ... 
    Performer:  Josh Wright,  Lindsey Wright
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  • 22.
    Ravel: Complete Piano Works / Alice Ader
    Label: Fuga Libera   Catalog: 592 Release Date: 05/08/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Alice Ader
    CD: $27.49
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  • 23.
    Seeds
    Label: Analekta   Catalog: 96046 Release Date: 01/31/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Niccolò Paganini,  Jules Massenet,  Sergei Prokofiev  ... 
    Performer:  Angèle Dubeau,  James Ehnes,  Yekwon Sunwoo,  Benjamin Beilman  ... 
    Conductor:  Joseph Rescigno,  Yoav Talmi,  Ivan Marinov,  Kent Nagano
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Pieta,  I Musici de Montreal
    CD: $16.99
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  • 24.
    Label: Bayer Records   Catalog: 10034445 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Heidi Lowy
    CD: $29.99
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  • 25.
    Ravel: Pavane Pour Une Infante Defunte; Jeux D'eau; Rachmaninov: 11 Preludes
    Label: Archipel   Catalog: 248 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Sergei Rachmaninov
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