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: Daphnis et Chloe / Gimeno, Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra
Release Date: 08/04/2017   Label: Pentatone  
Catalog: 5186652   Number of Discs: 1
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Ravel: Daphnis Et Chloe; Hovhaness / Schwarz, Seattle Symphony
Release Date: 07/31/2012   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8571211   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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Ravel: Orchestral Works / Ozawa, Boston Symphony Orchestra
Release Date: 05/12/2015   Label: Pentatone  
Catalog: 5186204   Number of Discs: 1
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Ravel: Music For Two Pianos / Dag Achatz, Yukie Nagai
Release Date: 03/25/1994   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 489   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Pièce en forme de Habañera

Browse 1-25 of 155 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Faure, Franck, Ravel & Poulenc / Russakovsky, Nicholson
    Label: Centaur Records   Catalog: CRC3596 Release Date: 10/06/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gabriel Fauré,  César Franck,  Maurice Ravel,  Francis Poulenc
    Performer:  Alexander Russakovsky,  Amber Shay Nicholson
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  • 2.
    Andre Navarra: Prague Recordings
    Label: Supraphon   Catalog: 2542292 Release Date: 09/29/2017   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Robert Schumann,  Ernest Bloch,  Ottorino Respighi  ... 
    Performer:  Josef Suk,  André Navarra,  Alfred Holecek,  Frantisek Maxian
    Conductor:  Karel Ancerl,  Martin Turnovsky,  Constantin Silvestri
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Czech Philharmonic Orchestra,  Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra
    On sale! $54.99
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  • 3.
    Siecle / Elschenbroich, BBC Scottish Symphony
    Label: Onyx   Catalog: 4173 Release Date: 06/30/2017  
    Composer:  Henri Dutilleux,  Olivier Messiaen,  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Leonard Elschenbroich,  Alexei Grynyuk
    Conductor:  John Wilson,  Stefan Blunier
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $18.99
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  • 4.
    Apres un reve / Nouzovsky, Brullova
    Label: Arco Diva   Catalog: 189 Release Date: 06/16/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gabriel Fauré,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Manuel de Falla  ... 
    Performer:  Petr Nouzovsky,  Miriam Rodriguez Brullova
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  • 5.
    French Impressions / De Salis, Kachalova
    Label: Ars Produktion   Catalog: 38543 Release Date: 06/16/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Francis Poulenc,  Pierre Sancan,  Claude Debussy,  André Jolivet  ... 
    Performer:  Sofia de Salis,  Elina Kachalova
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  • 6.
    In the Age of Ravel / Wilson, Dumont
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 6344 Release Date: 06/02/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Gabriel Fauré,  Gabriel Pierné,  Albert Roussel
    Performer:  Ransom Wilson,  Francois Dumont
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  • 7.
    Goddess of the Cello / Walevska
    Label: Leaf Music Inc   Catalog: 206 Release Date: 04/28/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Enrique Granados,  Ennio Bolognini,  Giovanni Battista Pergolesi,  José Bragato  ... 
    Performer:  Christine Walevska,  Akimi Fukuhara
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  • 8.
    Rostropovich Encores / Gerhardt, Becker
    Label: Hyperion   Catalog: 68136 Release Date: 01/06/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Christian Sinding,  Sergei Rachmaninov  ... 
    Performer:  Alban Gerhardt,  Markus Becker
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  • 9.
    Clarinet Goes to Town / Johnson, Lenehan, Clarvis, Carducci String Quartet
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 6335 Release Date: 11/11/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Astor Piazzolla,  George Gershwin,  Alec Templeton,  Zequinha de Abreu  ... 
    Performer:  Emma Johnson,  John Lenehan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Carducci String Quartet,  Clarinet Goes to Town
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  • 10.
    Rhapsodie: 20th-Century Clarinet Classics / Levy, Yu
    Label: Avie   Catalog: 2367 Release Date: 11/11/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gerald Finzi,  Leonard Bernstein,  Béla Bartók,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Todd Levy,  Rene Izquierdo,  Elena Abend,  Jeannie Yu
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  • 11.
    Apres un reve / Svarfvar, Pontinen
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 2183 Release Date: 10/14/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gabriel Fauré,  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Christian Svarfvar,  Roland Pöntinen
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  • 12.
    Paris / Altmann, Okamoto
    Label: Eigenart   Catalog: 052 Release Date: 10/14/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean-Philippe Rameau,  Ernest Chausson,  Gabriel Pierné,  Paul Dukas  ... 
    Performer:  Dirk Altmann,  Mako Okamoto,  Anne-Maria Holscher,  Gesa Jenne-Dönneweg
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  • 13.
    Pastorale / Watanabe, Palvanov
    Label: Profil   Catalog: 15049 Release Date: 10/14/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Thomas Attwood Walmisley,  Maurice Ravel,  Francis Poulenc,  Michael Head  ... 
    Performer:  Katsuya Watanabe,  Ulugbek Palvanov
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  • 14.
    Pinchas Zukerman: Complete Recordings on DG, Decca, & Philips
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002514302 Release Date: 07/22/2016   Number of Discs: 22
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Pinchas Zukerman,  Midori,  Daniel Barenboim,  Marc Neikrug  ... 
    Conductor:  Pinchas Zukerman,  Daniel Barenboim,  Charles Dutoit,  Pierre Boulez  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra,  St. Paul Chamber Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 15.
    The Lyrical Clarinet Vol. 2 / Collins, Mchale
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 10901 Release Date: 06/24/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  John Field,  Ernest Chausson,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Michael Collins,  Michael McHale
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  • 16.
    Complete Chamber Music Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon / Pires
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002500602 Release Date: 06/17/2016   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Edvard Grieg,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Augustin Dumay,  Maria-Joao Pires,  Jian Wang,  Renaud Capuçon  ... 
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  • 17.
    Anne Akiko Meyers: The Complete RCA Recordings
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 88875165752 Release Date: 05/27/2016   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Antonín Dvorák,  Jules Massenet  ... 
    Performer:  Anne Akiko Meyers,  Li Jian,  Rohan De Silva,  Andre-Michel Schub  ... 
    Conductor:  Andrew Litton,  Dmitrij Kitajenko,  Jesús Lopez-Cobos
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $22.99
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  • 18.
    Petite Delights: Romantic Music for Flute & Harp / Arioso
    Label: Centaur Records   Catalog: 3484 Release Date: 05/13/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Philippe Gaubert,  Mikhail Glinka,  Camille Saint-Saëns  ... 
    Performer:  Limor Toren-Immerman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arioso
    On sale! $16.99
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  • 19.
    The Menuhin Century: Luxury Edition
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 555050 Release Date: 04/22/2016   Number of Discs: 91
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Pierre-Alexandre Monsigny,  Arcangelo Corelli  ... 
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Hubert Giesen,  Artur Balsam,  Marcel Gazelle  ... 
    Conductor:  Landon Ronald,  Pierre Monteux,  Jean Fournet,  Anatole Fistoulari  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Paris Symphonic Orchestra,  Colonne Concerts Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $250.99
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  • 20.
    The Menuhin Century: The Virtuoso & His Landmark Recordings
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 555054 Release Date: 04/22/2016   Number of Discs: 13
    Composer:  Antonio Bazzini,  Antonín Dvorák,  Johannes Brahms,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Marcel Gazelle,  Ferguson Webster,  Artur Balsam  ... 
    Conductor:  Pierre Monteux,  Sir Colin Davis,  John Pritchard,  Efrem Kurtz  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Symphonic Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $39.99
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  • 21.
    The Menuhin Century: Unpublished Recordings & Rarities
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 555051 Release Date: 04/22/2016   Number of Discs: 22
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Pierre-Alexandre Monsigny,  Arcangelo Corelli  ... 
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Hubert Giesen,  Artur Balsam,  Marcel Gazelle  ... 
    Conductor:  Landon Ronald,  Pierre Monteux,  Jean Fournet,  Anatole Fistoulari  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Paris Symphonic Orchestra,  Colonne Concerts Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $68.99
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  • 22.
    Deutsche Grammophon: The Mono Era (1948-1957)
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002457272 Release Date: 03/18/2016   Number of Discs: 51
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Frédéric Chopin,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Stefan Askenase,  Shura Cherkassky,  Halina Czerny-Stefanska,  Basile Bolotine  ... 
    Conductor:  Karel Ancerl,  Karl Böhm,  Serge Jaroff,  Leopold Ludwig  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amadeus Quartet,  Czech Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $135.98
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  • 23.
    La voix / Callum Smart
    Label: Orchid Classics   Catalog: 100053 Release Date: 03/11/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Francis Poulenc,  Gabriel Fauré,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Callum Smart,  Richard Uttley
    CD: $15.99
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  • 24.
    Reve d'un enfant / Rosa, Powell
    Label: Champs Hill Records   Catalog: 123 Release Date: 03/11/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  César Franck,  Maurice Ravel,  Eugčne Ysa˙e
    Performer:  Sophie Rosa,  Benjamin Powell
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  • 25.
    Aufforderung Zum Tanz
    Label: Gramola   Catalog: 99096 Release Date: 11/13/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Astor Piazzolla,  Manuel de Falla,  Antonín Dvorák,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Irina Auner,  Thomas Auner
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