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: Daphnis Et Chloé, Ouverture De Féerie
Release Date: 04/28/2009   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8570992   Number of Discs: 1
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Ravel: Complete Orchestral Works / Bringuier, Tonhalle-Orchester Zurich
Release Date: 04/15/2016   Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 002463002   Number of Discs: 4
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Ravel: Rapsodie Espagnole, Pavane, Etc / Kenneth Jean
Release Date: 02/15/1994   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8550424   Number of Discs: 1
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Ravel: Piano Works Vol 1 / François-joël Thiollier
Release Date: 11/29/1994   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8550683   Number of Discs: 1
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Ravel: Piano Concertos;  Falla: Nights / Thiollier, Wit
Release Date: 12/13/1994   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8550753   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Jeux d'eau

Browse 51-75 of 123 Available Recordings
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  • 51.
    Label: Idis   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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  • 52.
    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
    CD: $11.99
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  • 53.
    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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  • 54.
    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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  • 55.
    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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  • 56.
    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
    CD: $17.99
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  • 57.
    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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  • 58.
    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
    CD: $17.99
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  • 59.
    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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  • 60.
    Wassermusik
    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  ... 
    CD: $8.99
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  • 61.
    Piano Dreams
    Label: Teldec   Catalog: 516240 Release Date: 11/18/2008   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Albéric Magnard,  Joseph Guy Ropartz,  Déodat de Sévérac,  Erik Satie  ... 
    Performer:  Jean Doyen,  Michel Legrand,  Monique Haas,  Alexandre Rabinovitch  ... 
    Conductor:  Marek Janowski,  Maxim Shostakovich,  James Conlon,  János Rolla  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $34.99
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  • 62.
    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
    CD: $18.99
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  • 63.
    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
    CD: $22.49
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  • 64.
    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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  • 65.
    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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  • 66.
    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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  • 67.
    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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  • 68.
    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
    CD: $19.99
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  • 69.
    Debussy & Ravel / Monique Haas
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 284668 Release Date: 08/21/2007   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Monique Haas
    CD: $39.99
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  • 70.
    Ravel: Miroirs, Sonatine, Jeux D'eau, Menuet, Etc / Ousset
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 49942 Release Date: 06/08/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Cécile Ousset
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 71.
    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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  • 72.
    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
    CD: $18.99
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  • 73.
    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
    CD: $17.99
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  • 74.
    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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  • 75.
    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  ... 
    CD: $21.99
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