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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: Orchestral Works, Vol. 5 / Slatkin, Orchestre National de Lyon
Release Date: 04/14/2017   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8573448   Number of Discs: 1
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Ravel, Debussy & Massenet / Bavouzet, Tortelier, BBC Symphony Orchestra
Release Date: 11/16/2010   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 5084   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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All Star Orchestra: Programs 1 & 2 - Stravinsky, Ravel, Beethoven / Gerard Schwarz
Release Date: 11/19/2013   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 2110348   Number of Discs: 1
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Ravel: L'Enfant et les sortileges; Ma Mere l'Oye - Complete Ballet
Release Date: 10/09/2015   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8660336   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Jeux d'eau

Browse 1-25 of 127 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Sviatoslav Richter: Live at Carnegie Hall 1960
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88985395212 Release Date: 10/27/2017   Number of Discs: 13
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert,  Robert Schumann,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter
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  • 2.
    Ravel: The Complete Works for Solo Piano / Gieseking
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 564142 Release Date: 10/06/2017  
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Walter Gieseking
    CD: $14.99
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  • 3.
    Aqua / Arnicane
    Label: Solo Musica   Catalog: 262 Release Date: 07/07/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jazeps Vitols,  Maurice Ravel,  Arvids Zilinskis,  Janis Kepitis  ... 
    Performer:  Arta Arnicane
    CD: $18.99
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  • 4.
    Ravel: Complete Solo Piano Works / Dedova
    Label: Centaur Records   Catalog: 3581 Release Date: 07/07/2017   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Larissa Dedova
    CD: $29.99
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  • 5.
    Debussy & Ravel: Piano Works / Taverna
    Label: Somm   Catalog: 168 Release Date: 06/16/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Alessandro Taverna
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  • 6.
    Anamorfosi / Van de Velde
    Label: Aliud   Catalog: 932 Release Date: 05/26/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Clement Doucet,  Maurice Ravel,  Salvatore Sciarrino
    Performer:  Yannick Van de Velde
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  • 7.
    Ravel: Piano Music / Goodyear
    Label: Orchid Classics   Catalog: 100061 Release Date: 05/19/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Stewart Goodyear
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  • 8.
    Premier Pianists, Vol. 1
    Label: Video Artists International   Catalog: 4596 Release Date: 03/10/2017  
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Rosalyn Tureck,  Lili Kraus,  Wilhelm Kempff,  Peter Serkin  ... 
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  • 9.
    The Classical Elements / Tiu
    Label: Centaur Records   Catalog: 3503 Release Date: 01/06/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Liszt,  Leopold Godowsky,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Albert Tiu
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  • 10.
    Emil Gilels: 100th Anniversary Edition
    Label: Melodiya   Catalog: 1002433 Release Date: 10/14/2016   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Isaac Albeniz,  Alexander Alyabyev,  Arno Babadjanyan,  Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Emil Gilels
    CD: $499.99
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  • 11.
    Fluvial / Kuvaja
    Label: Alba Records   Catalog: 386 Release Date: 07/29/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius,  Maurice Ravel,  Thomas Bystrom,  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Anna Kuvaja
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  • 12.
    Purple Classics Presents: Timeless Piano Favorites
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8578324 Release Date: 06/17/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Maurice Ravel,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Balázs Szokolay,  Jenö Jandó,  François-Joël Thiollier,  Idil Biret
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  • 13.
    Water / Helene Grimaud (Limited Edition)
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002483102 Release Date: 06/03/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Luciano Berio,  Nitin Sawhney,  Toru Takemitsu,  Gabriel Fauré  ... 
    Performer:  Hélène Grimaud,  Nitin Sawhney
    CD: $21.99
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  • 14.
    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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  • 15.
    Ravel: Complete Works for Solo Piano / 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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  • 16.
    Water / Grimaud [Deluxe Digipack]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002442702 Release Date: 01/29/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Luciano Berio,  Nitin Sawhney,  Toru Takemitsu,  Gabriel Fauré  ... 
    Performer:  Hélène Grimaud,  Nitin Sawhney
    CD: $21.99
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  • 17.
    Water / Helene Grimaud [Transparent Vinyl 2 LP]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: B002442901 Release Date: 01/29/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Luciano Berio,  Nitin Sawhney,  Toru Takemitsu,  Gabriel Fauré  ... 
    Performer:  Hélène Grimaud,  Nitin Sawhney
    LP: $32.49
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  • 18.
    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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  • 19.
    The History of Classical Music in 24 Hours
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002403602 Release Date: 11/13/2015   Number of Discs: 24
    Composer:  Anonymous,  Pérotin,  Guillaume de Machaut,  John Dunstable  ... 
    Performer:  Konrad Ragossnig,  Charles [Tenor Vocals] Daniels,  Susan Gritton,  Trevor Pinnock  ... 
    Conductor:  Pater Godehard Joppich,  David Munrow,  Josef Ulsamer,  Bruno Turner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Early Music Consort of London,  Ulsamer-Collegium,  Pro Cantione Antiqua  ... 
    CD: $75.49
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  • 20.
    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
    CD: $18.99
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  • 21.
    Ravel: Gaspard de la Nuit; Jeux D'eau; Sonatine pour Piano; Pavane
    Label: Capriccio Records   Catalog: 5260 Release Date: 10/09/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Stefan Vladar
    CD: $17.99
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  • 22.
    Martha Argerich: The Complete Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002364402 Release Date: 09/25/2015   Number of Discs: 48
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Johannes Brahms,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Martha Argerich,  Guy Touvron,  Gidon Kremer,  Alexandre Gurning  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Charles Dutoit,  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Jörg Faerber  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 23.
    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
    CD: $22.49
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  • 24.
    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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  • 25.
    Sviatoslav Richter: The Complete Album Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 301470 Release Date: 04/14/2015   Number of Discs: 18
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter,  Robert La Marchina
    Conductor:  Erich Leinsdorf,  Christoph Eschenbach
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