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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 51-75 of 111 Available Recordings
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  • 51.
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 182612 Release Date: 11/24/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Bedrich Smetana,  Franz Schubert,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Cécile Ousset,  Jürnjakob Timm,  Karl Suske,  Peter Rösel  ... 
    Conductor:  Václav Neumann,  Kurt Masur,  Peter Schreier,  Peter Falk  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra,  Dresden Baroque Soloists,  Vienna Volksoper Orchestra  ... 
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  • 52.
    Label: Sterling   Catalog: 1664 Release Date: 10/28/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Domenico Scarlatti,  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel,  Boris Papandopulo  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Kihlgren
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  • 53.
    Debussy, Ravel: Piano Works / Cecile Ousset
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 13452 Release Date: 10/27/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Cécile Ousset
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  • 54.
    Martha Argerich - The Collection 1 - The Solo Recordings
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001190702 Release Date: 09/30/2008   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Johannes Brahms,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Martha Argerich
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  • 55.
    Ravel: Miroirs, Etc / Andre Laplante
    Label: Analekta   Catalog: 22010 Release Date: 09/16/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  André Laplante
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  • 56.
    Enchanting Ravel / Andrea Anderson
    Label: Klavier Records   Catalog: 11016 Release Date: 06/16/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Andrea Anderson
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  • 57.
    Klavier - Piano - Greatest Solo Works
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 1280 Release Date: 03/04/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Francis Poulenc,  Robert Schumann,  Ignace Joseph Pleyel  ... 
    Performer:  Peter Arne Rohde,  Süher Pekinel,  Güher Pekinel,  Ines Walachowski  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Mozart Trio,  Trio ex Aequo
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  • 58.
    Travels With A Piano: Come With Us
    Label: Abc Classics   Catalog: 4766190 Release Date: 01/21/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Tan Dun,  Maurice Ravel,  Manos Hadjidakis,  Sergei Prokofiev  ... 
    Performer:  Anna Goldsworthy,  Andy Goldsworthy
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  • 59.
    Ravel: Valley Of The Bells, Etc / Simon, Et Al
    Label: Cala Records   Catalog: 4026 Release Date: 05/29/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Gwendolyn Mok,  Sally Burgess
    Conductor:  Geoffrey Simon
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 60.
    Yukiko Tanaka Plays Mozart, Ravel, Albeniz, Granados
    Label: L. Brown   Catalog: 5637530866 Release Date: 05/15/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Enrique Granados,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Maurice Ravel,  Isaac Albeniz
    Performer:  Yukiko Tanaka
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  • 61.
    Ravel: Gaspard De La Nuit, Etc / Barto, Et Al
    Label: Ondine   Catalog: 1095 Release Date: 04/10/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Tzimon Barto
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  • 62.
    Analekta Compilation Vol 8
    Label: Analekta   Catalog: 8 Release Date: 12/20/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Erik Satie,  Maurice Ravel,  Jean-Philippe Rameau  ... 
    Performer:  Geneviève Soly,  Francine Kay,  Luc Beauséjour,  James Ehnes  ... 
    Conductor:  Jean-François Rivest,  Jeanne Lamon,  Angèle Dubeau
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Carl Philipp Ensemble,  Tafelmusik,  La Pieta
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  • 63.
    Ultimate Classical - Chill Out
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000766202 Release Date: 11/14/2006   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Frédéric Chopin,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Jules Massenet  ... 
    Performer:  Joseph Cooper,  Ilana Vered,  William Bennett,  Brigitte [Mezzo-Soprano Vocal] Fassbaender  ... 
    Conductor:  Bernard Herrmann,  Raymond Agoult,  Richard Bonynge,  Stanley Black  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  New Symphony Orchestra of London,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 64.
    Ultimate Piano Classics - The Essential Masterpieces
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000766402 Release Date: 11/14/2006   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Franz Liszt,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Rhondda Gillespie,  Julius Katchen,  András Schiff  ... 
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  • 65.
    Ravel: Miroirs, Etc / André Laplante
    Label: Analekta   Catalog: 23038 Release Date: 10/26/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  André Laplante
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  • 66.
    Satie, Ravel: Gymnopédies, Nocturnes, Etc / Francine Kay
    Label: Analekta   Catalog: 23146 Release Date: 10/26/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Erik Satie,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Francine Kay
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  • 67.
    From Bach To Bartok / Iren Marik
    Label: Arbiter   Catalog: 149 Release Date: 06/27/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  François Couperin,  Frédéric Chopin,  Alexander Scriabin,  Domenico Scarlatti  ... 
    Performer:  Irén Marik
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  • 68.
    The Very Best of Ravel
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8552125 Release Date: 04/25/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  François-Joël Thiollier,  David Abramovitz,  Laurent Naouri,  Howard Zhang  ... 
    Conductor:  Antoni Wit,  Adrian Leaper,  Kenneth Jean,  Takuo Yuasa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Slovak Philharmonic Choir  ... 
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  • 69.
    Legendary Treasures - Sviatoslav Richter Archives Vol 10
    Label: Doremi Records   Catalog: 7864 Release Date: 02/14/2006   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Franz Schubert,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter
    On sale! $134.98
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  • 70.
    Musiques À Orsay - Debussy, Etc
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 4919 Release Date: 10/18/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jacques Offenbach,  Georges Bizet,  Maurice Ravel,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Martine Olmeda,  Maryse Castets,  Béatrice Uria-Monzon,  Hüseyin Sermet  ... 
    Conductor:  Manuel Rosenthal,  Alain Lombard,  Laurence Equilbey,  Bernard Haitink  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra,  Bordeaux Aquitaine Orchestra,  Accentus  ... 
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  • 71.
    Horacio Nuguid Plays Chopin, Ravel, Rachmaninoff
    Label: Cd Baby   Catalog: 5637418645 Release Date: 10/11/2005  
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Antonio Molina,  Francisco Buencamino,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Horacio Nuguid
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  • 72.
    Beethoven, Bach, Chopin, Etc / Itzhak Solsky
    Label: Roméo Records   Catalog: 7243/4 Release Date: 09/27/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Maurice Ravel,  Gabriel Fauré,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Itzhak Solsky
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  • 73.
    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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  • 74.
    Turner, Whistler, Monet - Debussy, Mahler, Et Al
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 5003 Release Date: 02/22/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Hector Berlioz,  Frederick Delius,  Claude Debussy,  Franz Liszt  ... 
    Performer:  Jan Van Reeth,  Huseyin Sermet,  Jos van Immerseel,  Sandrine Piau  ... 
    Conductor:  Yoav Talmi,  David Lloyd-Jones,  Alexander Rahbari,  Yevgeny Svetlanov
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  • 75.
    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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