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
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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Ravel Orchestrations - Pictures At An Exhibition, Etc / Oue
Release Date: 09/23/1997   Label: Reference Recordings  
Catalog: 79   Number of Discs: 1
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Ravel: Piano Works / Vlado Perlemuter
Release Date: 05/07/1996   Label: Nimbus  
Catalog: 7713   Number of Discs: 2
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Nojima Plays Ravel
Release Date: 04/23/1993   Label: Reference Recordings  
Catalog: 35   Number of Discs: 1
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Traveling Sonata: European Music For Flute & Guitar
Release Date: 11/13/2012   Label: Reference Recordings  
Catalog: 128   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Gaspard de la nuit

Browse 26-50 of 146 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Compared, Vol. 1: Erard Vs. Steinway - Ravel
    Label: Channel Classics   Catalog: 31612 Release Date: 10/09/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Paolo Giacometti
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  • 27.
    Ravel Complete Edition [14-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001728702 Release Date: 10/09/2012   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  François-Joël Thiollier,  Jean-Yves Thibaudet,  Pierre-Laurent Aimard,  Ivo Pogorelich  ... 
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle,  Charles Dutoit,  Ernest Ansermet,  John Eliot Gardiner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Melos Ensemble London,  Nash Ensemble,  Melos String Quartet Stuttgart  ... 
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  • 28.
    Label: Honens   Catalog: 201103 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Heinz Holliger,  Arthur Honegger,  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Gilles Vonsattel
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  • 29.
    Pierre-Laurent Aimard - The Warner Recordings
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 2564660448 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  György Ligeti,  Olivier Messiaen,  Elliott Carter  ... 
    Performer:  Pierre-Laurent Aimard,  Sophie Cherrier,  Tabea Zimmermann,  Alexei Lubimov
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  • 30.
    Beautiful Starry Night - Jean-Yves Thibaudet Plays Ravel
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 448618 Release Date: 09/10/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Jean-Yves Thibaudet
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  • 31.
    Ravel: Complete Piano Works / Alice Ader
    Label: Fuga Libera   Catalog: 592 Release Date: 05/08/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Alice Ader
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  • 32.
    Darkness Visible / Inon Barnatan
    Label: Avie   Catalog: 2256 Release Date: 04/10/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Thomas Adès,  Claude Debussy,  Ronald Stevenson
    Performer:  Inon Barnatan
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  • 33.
    Ravel: Miroirs, Gaspard De La Nuit / Anna Vinnitskaya
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 5284 Release Date: 03/27/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Anna Vinnitskaya
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  • 34.
    Ravel: Piano Concertos / Samson Francois
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 6783182 Release Date: 03/26/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Samson François
    Conductor:  André Cluytens
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  • 35.
    Chopin, Liszt, Ravel / Benjamin Grosvenor
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001642102 Release Date: 02/28/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Franz Liszt,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Benjamin Grosvenor
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  • 36.
    Label: Northern Flowers   Catalog: 9982 Release Date: 02/14/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Nikolai Medtner,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Vladimir Nielsen
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  • 37.
    Label: Bayer Records   Catalog: BR10034445 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Heidi Lowy
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  • 38.
    Ravel: Pavane Pour Une Infante Defunte; Jeux D'eau; Rachmaninov: 11 Preludes
    Label: Archipel   Catalog: ARPCD0248 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Sergei Rachmaninov
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  • 39.
    Trilogie - Chopin, Debussy, Ravel / Samson Francois
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 0283142 Release Date: 11/15/2011   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Samson François
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  • 40.
    Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No.3/Ravel (Jpn) (Shm)
    Label: Imports   Catalog: 957563 Release Date: 09/06/2011  
    Composer:  Sergei Prokofiev,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Martha Argerich
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 41.
    Falla: Nights In The Gardens Of Spain; Madrid Recital / Joaquin Achucarro
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2058808 Release Date: 07/26/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Manuel de Falla,  Isaac Albeniz,  Claude Debussy,  Enrique Granados  ... 
    Performer:  Joaquín Achúcarro
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 42.
    Falla: Nights In The Gardens Of Spain; Madrid Recital / Joaquin Achucarro [blu-ray]
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2058884 Release Date: 07/26/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Manuel de Falla,  Isaac Albeniz,  Claude Debussy,  Enrique Granados  ... 
    Performer:  Joaquín Achúcarro
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 43.
    Ravel: Complete Piano Music  / Steven Osborne
    Label: Hyperion   Catalog: 67731 Release Date: 03/08/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Steven Osborne
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  • 44.
    Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli Plays Beethoven, Chopin, Ravel
    Label: Divox   Catalog: 999105 Release Date: 01/25/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli
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  • 45.
    111 - The Collector's Edition 2 [56-CD Set - Limited Edition]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 4779142 Release Date: 11/09/2010   Number of Discs: 56
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Maurice Ravel,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Stuart Harling,  Robert Lloyd,  Sherrill Milnes,  Placido Domingo  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  John Nelson,  Leonard Bernstein,  Jerzy Semkow  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Ambrosian Singers,  George Watson's College Boys' Chorus  ... 
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  • 46.
    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
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  • 47.
    Ravel: Piano Concertos / Samson Francois
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 31803 Release Date: 10/12/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Samson François
    Conductor:  André Cluytens
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Conservatoire Orchestra
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  • 48.
    Masters Of Chopin - Ignaz Friedman, Ignace Tiegerman & Severin Eisenberger
    Label: Arbiter   Catalog: 158 Release Date: 09/14/2010   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Frédéric Chopin,  Ferruccio Busoni,  Josef Suk  ... 
    Performer:  Ignaz Friedman,  Ignace Tiegerman,  Henri Barda,  Severin Eisenberger
    Conductor:  Oreste Campisi,  José Ferriz
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  • 49.
    Maurice Ravel
    Label: Membran International Gmbh   Catalog: 913443 Release Date: 07/06/2010   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Walter Gieseking,  Marguerite Long,  Robert Casadesus,  Marcel Moyse  ... 
    Conductor:  Maurice Ravel,  Désiré-Emile Inghelbrecht,  Wilhelm Furtwängler,  Igor Markevitch  ... 
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  • 50.
    Voyage a Paris / Greg McCallum
    Label: Msr   Catalog: 1233 Release Date: 03/09/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Francis Poulenc,  Claude Debussy,  César Franck,  Olivier Messiaen  ... 
    Performer:  Greg McCallum
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