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: Music For Four Hands / Louis Lortie, Hélène Mercier
Release Date: 10/28/1992   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 8905   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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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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Ravel: Piano Trio; Debussy: Sonatas / Borodin Trio
Release Date: 10/28/1992   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 8458   Number of Discs: 1
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Ravel: Piano Concertos;  Fauré: Ballade / Louis Lortie
Release Date: 10/28/1992   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 8773   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Jeux d'eau

Browse 76-100 of 123 Available Recordings
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  • 76.
    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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  • 77.
    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
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 78.
    Best Piano Classics 100
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 70886 Release Date: 08/29/2006   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Carl Maria von Weber,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Aldo Ciccolini,  John Ogdon,  Stanislav Bunin,  Moura Lympany  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit,  Simon Rattle,  Riccardo Muti,  George Szell  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Borodin String Quartet members,  Montreal Symphony Orchestra,  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $21.99
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  • 79.
    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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  • 80.
    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  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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  • 81.
    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
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  • 82.
    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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  • 83.
    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
    CD: $23.99
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  • 84.
    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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  • 85.
    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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  • 86.
    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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  • 87.
    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
    CD: $12.99
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  • 88.
    Chill With Ravel
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8556789 Release Date: 09/21/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  François-Joël Thiollier,  Nora Mercz,  János Bálint
    Conductor:  Kenneth Jean,  Antoni Wit
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Kodály String Quartet,  Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 89.
    Allison Lovejoy, Piano
    Label: Metro Records   Catalog: 5637203229 Release Date: 09/07/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Allison Lovejoy
    CD: $15.99
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  • 90.
    Louis Lortie Plays Ravel's Complete Music For Solo Piano
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 10142 Release Date: 01/20/2004   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Louis Lortie
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  • 91.
    Ravel: Complete Piano Works / Jean-Efflam Bavouzet
    Label: Md&g (Dabringhaus & Grimm)   Catalog: 6041190 Release Date: 01/20/2004   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Jean-Efflam Bavouzet
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  • 92.
    Ravel: Complete Works For Piano For 2 Hands / Michael Endres
    Label: Oehms   Catalog: 307 Release Date: 01/01/2004   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Michael Endres
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  • 93.
    Ravel: Complete Piano Works / Alexandre Tharaud
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 901811/12 Release Date: 12/09/2003   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Alexandre Tharaud
    CD: $28.99
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  • 94.
    Margery Mcduffie Whatley Plays Bach, Haydn, Brahms And Ravel
    Label: Aca Digital   Catalog: 20076 Release Date: 04/29/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Johannes Brahms,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Margery McDuffie
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  • 95.
    The #1 Piano Album
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 472589 Release Date: 11/12/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich,  George Gershwin,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Béla Bartók  ... 
    Performer:  Olli Mustonen,  Werner Haas,  Martha Argerich,  Zoltán Kocsis  ... 
    CD: $14.99
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  • 96.
    Ravel: Piano Favourites / François-joël Thiollier
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8555798 Release Date: 09/17/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  François-Joël Thiollier
    CD: $9.99
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  • 97.
    Ravel Revealed - The Complete Piano Works / Gwendolyn Mok
    Label: Msr   Catalog: 1070 Release Date: 06/25/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Gwendolyn Mok
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  • 98.
    Ravel: The Complete Solo Piano Music / Angela Hewitt
    Label: Hyperion   Catalog: 67341/2 Release Date: 05/14/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Angela Hewitt
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  • 99.
    Michelangeli & Richter - Two Titans Of The Keyboard
    Label: Video Artists International   Catalog: 4213 Release Date: 04/09/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter,  Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli
    DVD: $34.99
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  • 100.
    Ravel Vol 1 / Valerie Tryon
    Label: Apr (Appian)   Catalog: 5593 Release Date: 04/09/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Valerie Tryon
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