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
Gershwin, Ravel, Debussy / O'Riley, Wordsworth, Royal PO
Release Date: 08/11/2009   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 28050   Number of Discs: 1
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Mussorgsky: Pictures At An Exhibition; Ravel: Daphnis Et Chloe, La Valse / Casadesus
Release Date: 05/10/2011   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 28180   Number of Discs: 1
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Ravel: L'heure Espagnole, L'enfant Et Les Sortileges / Gadelia, Gay, Oustrac, Madore, Ono
Release Date: 11/12/2013   Label: Fra Musica  
Catalog: 8   Number of Discs: 1
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Bloch: Schelomo; Voice In The Wilderness; Caplet: Epiphanie; Ravel: Kaddish
Release Date: 04/08/2014   Label: Nimbus  
Catalog: 5913   Number of Discs: 1
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Franck: Sonata For Violin & Piano; Ravel: Piano Trio / Bieber, Dinnebier, Lang
Release Date: 11/12/2005   Label: Genuin Musikproduction  
Catalog: 85512   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Introduction and Allegro for Harp, Flute, Clarinet and Strings

Browse 26-48 of 48 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    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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  • 27.
    Ravel, Debussy / Nancy Allen, Tokyo String Quartet
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 76978 Release Date: 07/19/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Ransom Wilson,  Nancy Allen,  David Shifrin
    Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tokyo String Quartet,  Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
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  • 28.
    Musique De Chambre Française / Hoeppner, Loman, Et Al
    Label: Marquis   Catalog: 81323 Release Date: 04/12/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Annalee Patipatanakoon,  Joaquin Valdepeñas,  Amanda Forsyth,  Susan Hoeppner  ... 
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  • 29.
    Harp - Ippolitov-ivanov, Glinka, Et Al / Fibonacci Sequence
    Label: Deux-elles   Catalog: 1090 Release Date: 11/30/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Mikhail Glinka,  Maurice Ravel,  Arnold Bax,  Jan Ladislav Dussek  ... 
    Performer:  Michael Stirling,  Christine Sohn,  Gillian Tingay,  Yuko Inoue  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Fibonacci Sequence
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  • 30.
    Ravel: Orchestral Music / Tortelier, Ulster Orchestra
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 10251 Release Date: 10/19/2004   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Colin Fleming,  Rachel Masters,  Linda Finnie,  Christopher Blake  ... 
    Conductor:  Yan Pascal Tortelier
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ulster Orchestra,  Belfast Philharmonic Society Chorus,  Renaissance Singers
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  • 31.
    Music For Harp And Flute / Oskolkova, Sergeev, Et Al
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 3303 Release Date: 07/23/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Yevgeny Svetlanov,  Maurice Ravel,  Marcel Grandjany,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Tatiana Oskolkova,  Svetlana Stepchenko,  Alexander Zagorinsky,  Irina Ivanova  ... 
    Conductor:  Constantine Orbelian
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Chamber Orchestra
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  • 32.
    Ravel: Music For Two Pianos / Micallef-inanga Piano Duo
    Label: Somm   Catalog: 25 Release Date: 07/16/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Jennifer Micallef,  Glen Inanga
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  • 33.
    Classical Moments - Classical Music To Dine To
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8555361 Release Date: 03/19/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Fernando Sor,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Edvard Grieg,  Jules Massenet  ... 
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  • 34.
    French Music For Harp And Strings - Ravel, Et Al / Bodtker
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8555328 Release Date: 09/18/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gabriel Pierné,  Jacques Ibert,  Erik Satie,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Ellen Sejersted Bodtker,  Per Flemström,  Fredrik Fors,  Sjur Bjaerke
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  • 35.
    Ravel: Rapsodie Espagnole, Etc / Martinon, Chicago Symphony
    Label: Rca Red Seal Hp   Catalog: 63683 Release Date: 06/06/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Edward Druzinsky,  Donald Peck,  Clark Brody
    Conductor:  Jean Martinon
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
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  • 36.
    Harp Concertos - Boieldieu, Saint-Saens, Tailleferre, Ravel / Zabaleta
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 463084 Release Date: 07/01/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Germaine Tailleferre,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  François Boieldieu,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Nicanor Zabaleta,  Guy Deplus,  Hamisa Dor,  Marguerite Vidal  ... 
    Conductor:  Jean Martinon,  Ernst Märzendorfer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  French National Radio Orchestra,  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 37.
    25 Romantic Moods
    Label: Vox Cameo Classics   Catalog: 8840 Release Date: 07/01/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Igor Stravinsky,  Gustav Holst,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  Abbey Simon,  George Silfies,  Walter Klien,  Jerome Rose  ... 
    Conductor:  Eduardo Mata,  Stanislaw Skrowaczewski,  Walter Susskind,  Maurice Abravanel  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Hamburg Symphony Orchestra,  Minnesota Orchestra  ... 
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  • 38.
    Ravel: La Valse, Etc;  Debussy, Satie / Ormandy, Szell, Etc
    Label: Sony Classical Essential Classics   Catalog: 63056 Release Date: 07/01/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Claude Debussy,  Erik Satie
    Performer:  Alice Chalifoux,  Robert Marcellus,  Maurice Sharp
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy,  Louis Lane,  George Szell,  Michael Tilson Thomas
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra,  Cleveland Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 39.
    Harp Concertos
    Label: Capriccio Records   Catalog: 10485 Release Date: 12/01/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Claude Debussy,  Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf,  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Andrea Vigh,  György Konrád,  Eszter Horgas
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Budapest Strings
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  • 40.
    Great Works For Harp / Nicanor Zabaleta
    Label: Dg Double   Catalog: 439693 Release Date: 03/14/1995   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Georg Albrechtsberger,  George Frideric Handel,  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Nicanor Zabaleta,  Anka Moraver,  Hamisa Dor,  Guy Deplus  ... 
    Conductor:  Paul Kuentz,  Ernst Märzendorfer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paul Kuentz Chamber Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 41.
    The Hollywood String Quartet - Ravel, Debussy, Turina, Et Al
    Label: Testament   Catalog: 1053 Release Date: 11/21/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Heitor Villa-Lobos,  Joaquin Turina,  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Ann Mason Stockton,  Arthur Gleghorn,  Mitchell Lurie
    Conductor:  Felix Slatkin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hollywood String Quartet,  Concert Arts Strings
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  • 42.
    Debussy, Ravel: String Quartets, Etc / Kodaly Quartet
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8550249 Release Date: 02/15/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Gábor Fias,  János Devich,  Tamás Szabo,  Béla Kovács  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kodály String Quartet
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  • 43.
    Scintillation / Yolanda Kondanassis
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80361 Release Date: 05/25/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  George Gershwin,  Marcel Grandjany,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Yolanda Kondonassis,  Stanley Konopka,  Wei-Fang Gu,  Martin Chalifour  ... 
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  • 44.
    Music For Harp - Middle Ages To The 20th Century
    Label: Vox Box   Catalog: 3019 Release Date: 11/04/1992   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Walther von der Vogelweide,  Gabriel Pierné,  Claude Gervaise,  Anonymous  ... 
    Performer:  Elena Polonska,  Catherine Michel,  Helga Storck,  Wilhelm Schwegler  ... 
    Conductor:  Louis de Froment,  Paul Kuentz,  Jörg Faerber
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Endres String Quartet members,  Luxembourg Radio/Television Symphony Orchestra,  Paul Kuentz Chamber Orchestra  ... 
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  • 45.
    Ravel: Music For Four Hands / Louis Lortie, Hélène Mercier
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 8905 Release Date: 10/28/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Helene Mercier,  Louis Lortie
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  • 46.
    Ravel, Debussy, Saint-saens / Kanga, Asmf Chamber Ensemble
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 8621 Release Date: 09/30/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Albert Roussel,  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Andrew Marriner,  Denis Vigay,  Stephen Shingles,  Kenneth Sillito  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Ens.
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  • 47.
    Franck, Debussy: Violin Sonatas;  Ravel / Chung, Lupu, Et Al
    Label: London/Decca Chamber Mus Series   Catalog: 421154 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel,  César Franck
    Performer:  Kyung-Wha Chung,  Osian Ellis,  Radu Lupu
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Melos Ensemble London
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  • 48.
    Maurice Ravel - Ses amis et ses interprets
    Label: Music & Arts Programs Of America   Catalog: 703 Release Date: 05/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Ernest Tomlinson,  H. Dinsey,  Haydn Draper,  Charles Woodhouse  ... 
    Conductor:  Maurice Ravel,  Gabriel Pierné,  Albert Wolff
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lamoureux Concerts Association Orchestra,  International String Quartet,  Colonne Concerts Orchestra
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