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
Ravel: The Complete Works for Solo Piano / Gieseking
Release Date: 10/06/2017   Label: Warner Classics  
Catalog: 564142  
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Ravel, Fauré: String Quartets / Ad Libitum Quartet
Release Date: 05/16/2000   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8554722   Number of Discs: 1
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Ravel: Orchestral Music, Vol. 1 / Slatkin, Orchestre National De Lyon
Release Date: 11/13/2012   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8572887   Number of Discs: 1
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Faure, Franck, Ravel & Poulenc / Russakovsky, Nicholson
Release Date: 10/06/2017   Label: Centaur Records  
Catalog: 3596   Number of Discs: 1
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Mozart, Ravel & Tchaikovsky: Orchestral Works / Karajan
Release Date: 10/20/2017   Label: Ica Classics  
Catalog: ICAC5142   Number of Discs: 2
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Work: Gaspard de la nuit

Browse 1-25 of 134 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Ravel: The Complete Works for Solo Piano / Gieseking
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 564142 Release Date: 10/06/2017  
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Walter Gieseking
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  • 2.
    Vladimir Ashkenazy: The Solo & Chamber Recordings
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 4832182 Release Date: 09/15/2017   Number of Discs: 56
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Wind Soloists
    CD: $236.49
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  • 3.
    Ravel: Complete Solo Piano Works / Dedova
    Label: Centaur Records   Catalog: 3581 Release Date: 07/07/2017   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Larissa Dedova
    CD: $29.99
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  • 4.
    Debussy & Ravel: Piano Works / Taverna
    Label: Somm   Catalog: 168 Release Date: 06/16/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Alessandro Taverna
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  • 5.
    John Browning: The Complete RCA Album Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88985395032 Release Date: 06/16/2017   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Samuel Barber,  William Schuman,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Sergei Prokofiev  ... 
    Performer:  John Browning,  Leonard Rose
    Conductor:  George Szell,  Erich Leinsdorf,  Seiji Ozawa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra,  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 6.
    Inspirations & Dreams / Borac
    Label: Profil   Catalog: 925 Release Date: 06/02/2017   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Enescu,  Maurice Ravel,  Marcel Mihalovici,  Pablo de Sarasate  ... 
    Performer:  Luiza Borac
    CD: $34.99
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  • 7.
    Ravel: Piano Music / Goodyear
    Label: Orchid Classics   Catalog: 100061 Release Date: 05/19/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Stewart Goodyear
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  • 8.
    Poems & Pictures / Gomez-Tagle
    Label: Ars Produktion   Catalog: 38224 Release Date: 04/21/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Franz Liszt,  Modest Mussorgsky
    Performer:  Leticia Gomez-Tagle
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  • 9.
    Brahms, Ravel, Liszt, Chopin-Liszt / Arrau
    Label: Symphonia   Catalog: ERM1004 Release Date: 11/18/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Maurice Ravel,  Franz Liszt
    Performer:  Claudio Arrau
    CD: $17.99
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  • 10.
    The Warner Classics Recordings / Argerich
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 558208 Release Date: 11/04/2016   Number of Discs: 20
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Béla Bartók,  Alberto Ginastera  ... 
    Performer:  Martha Argerich
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  • 11.
    Claudio Arrau: The Complete RCA Victor & Columbia Album Collection
    Label: Sony Music Entertainment   Catalog: 307165 Release Date: 10/07/2016   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Carl Maria von Weber,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Claudio Arrau
    Conductor:  Karl Krueger,  Desiré DeFauw,  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Detroit Symphony Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Philadelphia Orchestra
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  • 12.
    Early Recordings / Argerich
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002496102 Release Date: 06/03/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Maurice Ravel,  Sergei Prokofiev
    Performer:  Martha Argerich
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  • 13.
    Pour le piano / Amaike [CD + DVD]
    Label: Pro Piano   Catalog: 224531 Release Date: 05/27/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Alexander Scriabin,  Frédéric Chopin,  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Chizuko Amaike
    CD: $21.99
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  • 14.
    Scarlatti, Ravel, Liszt, Chopin
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88875192982 Release Date: 05/13/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Domenico Scarlatti,  Frédéric Chopin,  Franz Liszt,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Lucas Debargue
    CD: $11.99
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  • 15.
    Un siecle de musique francaise (A Century of French Music)
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88875192862 Release Date: 05/13/2016   Number of Discs: 25
    Composer:  Pierre Boulez,  Claude Debussy,  Erik Satie,  Olivier Messiaen  ... 
    Performer:  Yvonne Minton,  Gervase de Peyer,  Michel Dalberto,  Daniel Varsano  ... 
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez,  Charles Munch,  Seiji Ozawa,  Richard Marlow  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Musique Vivante,  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Cleveland Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $39.99
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  • 16.
    Ondine: Works by Schumann & Ravel / Georgieva
    Label: Genuin Classics   Catalog: 16408 Release Date: 04/08/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Irina Georgieva
    CD: $18.99
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  • 17.
    Ravel & Debussy: Piano Works / Tarasevich-Nikolaev
    Label: Acousence Classics   Catalog: 12616 Release Date: 04/08/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Arseny Tarasevich-Nikolaev
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  • 18.
    Ravel: Piano Works / Akiko Ebi
    Label: Acousence Classics   Catalog: 12515 Release Date: 04/08/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Akiko Ebi
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  • 19.
    Ravel: Complete Works for Solo Piano / Chamayou
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 553646 Release Date: 01/29/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Alfredo Casella
    Performer:  Bertrand Chamayou
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  • 20.
    111: The Collector's Editions [111 CDs]
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002422702 Release Date: 12/11/2015   Number of Discs: 111
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Maurice Ravel,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  David Oistrakh,  Igor Oistrakh,  Sviatoslav Richter,  Martha Argerich  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Daniel Barenboim,  Lorin Maazel,  Franz Konwitschny  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Amadeus Quartet,  Paris Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $325.49
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  • 21.
    Herbert Schuch: The Oehms Classics Recordings
    Label: Oehms   Catalog: 12 Release Date: 11/13/2015   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Maurice Ravel,  Alexander von Zemlinsky,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Herbert Schuch,  Mirijam Contzen
    Conductor:  Olari Elts
    CD: $34.99
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  • 22.
    Kathryn Stott: The Complete Solo Recordings
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88875135622 Release Date: 11/13/2015   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Franz Liszt,  Gabriel Fauré  ... 
    Performer:  Kathryn Stott
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  • 23.
    Complete Piano Works of Ravel / Hinrich Alpers
    Label: Honens   Catalog: 201502 Release Date: 10/09/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Alfredo Casella,  Arthur Honegger,  Kendall Briggs  ... 
    Performer:  Hinrich Alpers
    CD: $18.99
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  • 24.
    Ravel: Gaspard de la Nuit; Jeux D'eau; Sonatine pour Piano; Pavane
    Label: Capriccio Records   Catalog: 5260 Release Date: 10/09/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Stefan Vladar
    CD: $17.99
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  • 25.
    Martha Argerich: The Complete Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002364402 Release Date: 09/25/2015   Number of Discs: 48
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Johannes Brahms,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Martha Argerich,  Guy Touvron,  Gidon Kremer,  Alexandre Gurning  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Charles Dutoit,  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Jörg Faerber  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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