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Maurice Ravel


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
Pierre Boulez conducts Ravel
Release Date: 11/13/2015   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 88875108732   Number of Discs: 5
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Berlioz: Herminie, Les Nuits D'ete; Ravel: Sheherazade / Veronique Gens
Release Date: 06/26/2012   Label: Ondine  
Catalog: 1200   Number of Discs: 1
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French Favourites - Ravel, Milhaud, Debussy / Järvi, Detroit
Release Date: 09/26/2000   Label: Chandos Collect  
Catalog: 6615   Number of Discs: 1
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Faure; Lekeu; Ravel / Tasmin Little, Martin Roscoe
Release Date: 11/18/2014   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 10812   Number of Discs: 1
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Debussy, Faure, Ravel: Piano Trios / Florestan Trio
Release Date: 12/14/1999   Label: Hyperion  
Catalog: 67114   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Jeux d'eau

Browse 26-50 of 111 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    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
    CD: $126.99
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  • 27.
    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  ... 
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  • 28.
    Beautiful Starry Night - 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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  • 29.
    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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  • 30.
    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
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  • 31.
    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
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  • 32.
    Label: Bayer Records   Catalog: 10034445 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Heidi Lowy
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  • 33.
    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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  • 34.
    The Liszt Project / Pierre-Laurent Aimard
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001594402 Release Date: 10/04/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Liszt,  Richard Wagner,  Alban Berg,  Alexander Scriabin  ... 
    Performer:  Pierre-Laurent Aimard
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  • 35.
    Voyage En France / Alexandre Tharaud
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 2908450 Release Date: 08/09/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Francis Poulenc,  Arthur Honegger  ... 
    Performer:  Alexandre Tharaud,  Ronald van Spaendonck,  Philippe Bernold
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  • 36.
    The Piano: A Journey From Hubris To Humility
    Label: Yarlung Records   Catalog: 52069 Release Date: 06/28/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Liszt,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  David Fung
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  • 37.
    Label: Collector's Classics   Catalog: 21681 Release Date: 05/24/2011   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Martha Ohlson,  Emil Sjögren,  Wilhelm Stenhammar,  Erik Gustaf Geijer  ... 
    Performer:  Martha Ohlson,  Emil Sjögren,  Wilhelm Stenhammar,  John Forsell  ... 
    Conductor:  Erik Tuxen,  Sixten Ehrling,  Sten Frykberg,  Adolf Wiklund  ... 
    CD: $64.49
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  • 38.
    Le Tombeau De Debussy / Randall Love
    Label: Centaur Records   Catalog: 3007 Release Date: 04/26/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Paul Dukas,  Albert Roussel,  Florent Schmitt,  Igor Stravinsky  ... 
    Performer:  Randall Love
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  • 39.
    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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  • 40.
    Brailowsky Plays Virtuoso Showpieces
    Label: Rca Victor Gold Seal   Catalog: 68165 Release Date: 02/11/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Franz Liszt,  Sergei Lyapunov  ... 
    Performer:  Alexander Brailowsky
    Conductor:  Charles Munch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
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  • 41.
    Label: Idi   Catalog: 6604 Release Date: 12/02/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Johannes Brahms,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Martha Argerich
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  • 42.
    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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  • 43.
    Florence Delaage Joue Sur Le Piano D'alfred Cortot
    Label: Indesens   Catalog: 20 Release Date: 10/12/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Robert Schumann,  Franz Schubert,  Gabriel Fauré  ... 
    Performer:  Florence Delaage
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  • 44.
    Easy Listening Piano Classics - Debussy And Ravel
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8578077-78 Release Date: 02/23/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  François-Joël Thiollier,  Yin Cheng-Zong
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  • 45.
    Madera Vox
    Label: Skinny Tie   Catalog: 5637562499 Release Date: 09/22/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  David Gluck,  Chick Corea,  Bill Douglas,  Kurt Weill  ... 
    Performer:  Dan Castellani,  Chris Anderson,  Ted Piltzecker
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Madera Vox
    CD: $15.99
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  • 46.
    Walter Gieseking Plays Beethoven, Schumann, Debussy, Ravel & Bach
    Label: Medici Masters   Catalog: 17-2 Release Date: 08/25/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Claude Debussy,  Robert Schumann,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Walter Gieseking
    Conductor:  Günter Wand,  Joseph Keilberth
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne West German Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 47.
    Wassermusik - Musical Fountains
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 149382 Release Date: 06/09/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Johannes Brahms,  Richard Wagner,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Cécile Ousset,  Gustav Schmahl,  Günter Kootz
    Conductor:  Heinz Rögner,  Herbert Blomstedt,  Hartmut Haenchen,  Peter Falk
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Dresden Staatskapelle,  C.P.E. Bach Chamber Orchestra  ... 
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  • 48.
    Bryan Verhoye, Pianist
    Label: Bryan Verhoye   Catalog: 5637236500 Release Date: 03/09/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Domenico Scarlatti,  Franz Liszt,  Frédéric Chopin,  Enrique Granados  ... 
    CD: $23.99
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  • 49.
    Beethoven: Piano Sonata No 7; Poulenc: Pastourelle, Etc / Emil Gilels
    Label: Bbc Legends   Catalog: 4250 Release Date: 02/24/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Alexander Scriabin,  Maurice Ravel,  Francis Poulenc
    Performer:  Emil Gilels
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  • 50.
    Piano Works By Debussy And Ravel / Marita Viitasalo
    Label: Ondine   Catalog: ODE723 Release Date: 12/16/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Marita Viitasalo
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