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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 sortilčges, 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
Faure; Lekeu; Ravel / Tasmin Little, Martin Roscoe
Release Date: 11/18/2014   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 10812   Number of Discs: 1
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Ravel, Debussy / Pierre Boulez [6-CD Set]
Release Date: 05/08/2012   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 001676802   Number of Discs: 6
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Ravel, Chausson: Piano Trios / Wanderer Trio
Release Date: 03/20/2007   Label: Harmonia Mundi Musique D'abord  
Catalog: 1951967   Number of Discs: 1
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Reflections - Ravel, Decaux, Schonberg / Frederic Chiu
Release Date: 02/14/2012   Label: Harmonia Mundi  
Catalog: 1957166   Number of Discs: 1
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Ravel: Daphnis Et Chloé / Petitgirard, Bordeaux Aquitaine
Release Date: 11/21/2006   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8570075   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Gaspard de la nuit

Browse 1-25 of 140 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Charles Rosen - The Complete Columbia and Epic Album Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 301476 Release Date: 12/02/2014   Number of Discs: 21
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Béla Bartók,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Charles Rosen,  Paul Jacobs,  Robert Casadesus,  Isaac Stern  ... 
    Conductor:  Frederik Prausnitz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
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  • 2.
    Moderne
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 2908710 Release Date: 11/11/2014   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Francis Poulenc,  Maurice Ravel,  Erik Satie  ... 
    Performer:  Jean-Guihen Queyras,  Alexandre Tharaud,  Ronald Van Spaendonck,  Eric Le Sage  ... 
    Conductor:  Andrea Quinn
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  • 3.
    The Originals - Legendary Recordings from DG
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002171502 Release Date: 10/27/2014   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  David Oistrakh,  Igor Oistrakh,  Pierre Fournier,  Walter Berry  ... 
    Conductor:  David Oistrakh,  Sir Eugene Goossens,  Franz Konwitschny,  Carlos Kleiber  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Dresden Staatskapelle  ... 
    On sale! $159.98
    CD: $111.99
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  • 4.
    Ravel: Complete Solo Piano Works
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 93318 Release Date: 08/12/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Florian Uhlig
    CD: $39.99
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  • 5.
    Martha Argerich Vol 2 - Liszt, Prokofiev, Ravel
    Label: Doremi Records   Catalog: 6029 Release Date: 06/10/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Liszt,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Martha Argerich
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  • 6.
    Ravel: Orchestral & Virtuoso Piano / Vincent Larderet
    Label: Ars Produktion   Catalog: 38146 Release Date: 04/29/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Vincent Larderet
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  • 7.
    Romantic Tales - Chopin, Ravel, Prokofiev, Scriabin / Barbara Nissman
    Label: Three Oranges Recordings   Catalog: 5638268570 Release Date: 04/02/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Maurice Ravel,  Dietrich Buxtehude,  Sergei Prokofiev  ... 
    Performer:  Barbara Nissman
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  • 8.
    Ravel: Piano Works / Vanessa Wagner
    Label: Aparte   Catalog: 62 Release Date: 04/01/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Vanessa Wagner
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  • 9.
    Ravel: Gaspard, Valses Nobles Et Sentimentales, Tombeau De Couperin / Neuburger
    Label: Mirare   Catalog: 232 Release Date: 03/11/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Jean-Frédéric Neuburger
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  • 10.
    Ravel: Orchestral Works Vol 2 / Slatkin, Lyon
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8572888 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lyon National Orchestra
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  • 11.
    Ravel: Orchestral Works, Vol. 2
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 34 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lyon National Orchestra
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  • 12.
    Beatrice Rana
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 907606 Release Date: 11/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Maurice Ravel,  Béla Bartók
    Performer:  Beatrice Rana
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  • 13.
    Ravel: Piano Masterworks
    Label: Arts Music   Catalog: 47763 Release Date: 11/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Alessandra Ammara
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  • 14.
    Berlin Philharmonic - Centenary Edition
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001923302 Release Date: 10/22/2013   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Hector Berlioz,  Richard Wagner,  Richard Strauss  ... 
    Performer:  Géza Anda,  Walter Berry,  Gundula Janowitz,  Hilde Rössl-Majdan  ... 
    Conductor:  Arthur Nikisch,  Alfred Hertz,  Richard Strauss,  Bruno Walter  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein,  Swedish Radio Chorus  ... 
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  • 15.
    Idil Biret: LP Originals Edition 1959-1986 [14-CD Set]
    Label: Iba [idil Biret Archives]   Catalog: 8501402 Release Date: 09/24/2013   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Johannes Brahms,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Béla Bartók  ... 
    Performer:  Idil Biret
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London String Quartet
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  • 16.
    Ravel: Complete Piano Music / Francois Dumont
    Label: Piano Classics   Catalog: 55 Release Date: 08/27/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Francois Dumont
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  • 17.
    Martha Argerich - 5 Classic Albums
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 844412 Release Date: 07/09/2013   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Sergei Prokofiev,  Béla Bartók,  Frédéric Chopin,  Alberto Ginastera  ... 
    Performer:  Martha Argerich,  Renaud Capuçon,  Mischa Maisky
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit,  Alexandre Rabinovitch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Montreal Symphony Orchestra,  Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana
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  • 18.
    Ravel / Samson Francois
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 287982 Release Date: 06/18/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Samson François
    Conductor:  André Cluytens
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris
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  • 19.
    Voyages / Conrad Tao
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 344762 Release Date: 06/11/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Meredith Monk,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Conrad Tao,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Conrad Tao
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  • 20.
    Im Freien: Ravel, Jarnach, Bartok / Lucy Jarnach
    Label: Cavi Music   Catalog: 8553422 Release Date: 04/09/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Philipp Jarnach,  Béla Bartók
    Performer:  Lucy Jarnach
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  • 21.
    Ashkenazy - 50 Years on Decca
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001820202 Release Date: 04/02/2013   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Robert Schumann,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Boris Belkin,  Daniel Barenboim,  Fou Ts'ong  ... 
    Conductor:  Kiril Kondrashin,  Anatole Fistoulari,  Lorin Maazel,  Uri Segal  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Wind Soloists  ... 
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  • 22.
    Chopin: Piano Sonata No 3, Barcarolle; Ravel: Gaspard / Miao Huang
    Label: Genuin Musikproduction   Catalog: 13262 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Miao Huang
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  • 23.
    French Piano Music / Benjamin Moser
    Label: Oehms   Catalog: 423 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Benjamin Moser
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  • 24.
    Ravel: Gaspard De La Nuit; Piano Concerto In G; Valses Nobles Et Sentimentales; Debussy: Children's Corner
    Label: Praga   Catalog: 350091 Release Date: 01/08/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli
    Conductor:  Ettore Gracis
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  • 25.
    Label: Cag   Catalog: 5638090314 Release Date: 01/01/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Enrique Granados,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Ching-Yun Hu
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