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 / Cluytens, Francois, Paris Conservatoire Orchestra
Release Date: 07/29/2016   Label: Urania Records  
Catalog: WS121.268   Number of Discs: 2
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Ravel: Dances & Fairy Tales / Joint Venture Percussion Duo
Release Date: 08/12/2016   Label: Bis  
Catalog: BIS-9054   Number of Discs: 1
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Brahms, Ravel & Poulenc: Piano Works / Trpceski
Release Date: 08/05/2016   Label: Wigmore Hall Live  
Catalog: 81   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Jeux d'eau

Browse 1-25 of 123 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Fluvial / Kuvaja
    Label: Alba Records   Catalog: ABCD 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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  • 2.
    Purple Classics Presents: Timeless Piano Favorites
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8578324-25 Release Date: 06/24/2016   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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  • 3.
    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
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  • 4.
    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
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  • 5.
    Ravel: Complete Works for Solo Piano / Bertrand 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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  • 6.
    Water / Helene 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
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  • 7.
    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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  • 8.
    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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  • 9.
    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,  Hamburger Bläserkreis für Alte Musik  ... 
    CD: $75.49
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  • 10.
    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
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  • 11.
    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
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  • 12.
    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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  • 13.
    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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  • 14.
    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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  • 15.
    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:  Robert La Marchina,  Sviatoslav Richter
    Conductor:  Erich Leinsdorf,  Christoph Eschenbach
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  • 16.
    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
    CD: $48.99
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  • 17.
    Ravel: Gaspard de la Nuit... / Kathryn Stott
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 1279 Release Date: 10/27/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Kathryn Stott
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  • 18.
    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  ... 
    CD: $175.49
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  • 19.
    Ravel: Bolero Anniversary
    Label: Saifam (Usa)   Catalog: 1030 Release Date: 09/09/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Walter Gieseking,  Ginette Neveu,  Jean Neveu,  Marguerite Long
    Conductor:  Maurice Ravel,  Désiré-Emile Inghelbrecht,  Wilhelm Furtwängler
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  • 20.
    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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  • 21.
    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
    On sale! $22.98
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  • 22.
    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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  • 23.
    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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  • 24.
    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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  • 25.
    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:  Mariangela Vacatello,  Michelangelo Carbonara,  Marco Rapetti,  Riccardo Risaliti  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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