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: Orchestral Works / Cluytens, Francois, Paris Conservatoire Orchestra
Release Date: 07/29/2016   Label: Urania Records  
Catalog: WS121.268   Number of Discs: 2
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Work: Pièce en forme de Habañera

Browse 1-25 of 142 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Pinchas Zukerman: Complete Recordings on DG, Decca, & Philips
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: B002514302 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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  • 2.
    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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  • 3.
    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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  • 4.
    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
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  • 5.
    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
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  • 6.
    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  ... 
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  • 7.
    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  ... 
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  • 8.
    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  ... 
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  • 9.
    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  ... 
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  • 10.
    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
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  • 11.
    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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  • 12.
    La Melodia Encantada / Duo Moebius
    Label: Itinerant Classics   Catalog: 3429 Release Date: 03/04/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giulio Caccini,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Gabriel Fauré,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Duo Moebius
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  • 13.
    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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  • 14.
    Jean-Pierre Rampal: The Complete Erato Recordings, Vol. 3 1970-1982
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 552118 Release Date: 09/18/2015   Number of Discs: 23
    Composer:  Johann Melchoir Molter,  Giuseppe Tartini,  Aram Khachaturian,  César Franck  ... 
    Performer:  Jean-Pierre Rampal,  Pierre Barbizet,  Robert Veyron-Lacroix,  Marie-Claire Alain  ... 
    Conductor:  Jean-François Paillard,  Claudio Scimone,  Jean Martinon,  Isaac Stern  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Solisti Veneti,  Trio Pasquier,  Les Solistes De Ličge
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  • 15.
    On Million Dollar Strings: The Artistry Of Guillermo Figueroa
    Label: First Impression Music   Catalog: 96 Release Date: 09/18/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  He Zhan Hao,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Georg Kreisler  ... 
    Performer:  Guillermo Figueroa
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  • 16.
    Historias
    Label: Cala Records   Catalog: 77018 Release Date: 06/02/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Astor Piazzolla,  Manuel de Falla,  Jacques Ibert,  Joaquin Rodrigo  ... 
    Performer:  Laura Karney,  Jacob Cordover
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Zoco Duo
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  • 17.
    La Vida Breve / Nadege Rochat, Rafael Aguirre
    Label: Ars Produktion   Catalog: 38159 Release Date: 01/27/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Enrique Granados,  Manuel de Falla,  Maurice Ravel,  Gaspar Cassadó  ... 
    Performer:  Nadege Rochat,  Rafael Aguirre
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  • 18.
    Paris / Alison Balsom
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 632789 Release Date: 09/23/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Erik Satie,  Astor Piazzolla,  Michel Legrand,  Olivier Messiaen  ... 
    Performer:  Alison Balsom,  Milos Karadaglic,  Al Cherry,  Grant Windsor
    Conductor:  Guy Barker,  Tim Redmond
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Guy Barker Orchestra
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  • 19.
    James Galway - The Complete RCA Album Collection
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 302633 Release Date: 09/16/2014   Number of Discs: 73
    Composer:  Arthur Smith,  Various,  Traditional,  Stan Lebowsky  ... 
    Performer:  James Galway,  Sylvia,  Marisa Robles,  Phillip Moll  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Scimone,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Jörg Faerber,  Eduardo Mata  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Solisti Veneti,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Galway Pops Orchestra  ... 
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  • 20.
    The Silver Album / Mutter, Orkis
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002054902 Release Date: 06/10/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Fritz Kreisler,  Gabriel Fauré,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Anne-Sophie Mutter,  Lambert Orkis
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  • 21.
    Walton: Violin Sonata; Two Pieces; Debussy: Violin Sonata; Ravel: Piece En Forme D'habanera
    Label: Cameo Classics   Catalog: 9001 Release Date: 06/10/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir William Walton,  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Rayson Whalley,  Michael Davis
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  • 22.
    Johanna Martzy, Vol. 3
    Label: Doremi Records   Catalog: 8034 Release Date: 05/13/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Béla Bartók,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Johanna Martzy
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  • 23.
    Rohan De Saram In Concert, Vol. 2
    Label: Claudio   Catalog: 6005 Release Date: 03/25/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Luigi Boccherini,  Johannes Brahms,  Richard Strauss,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Rohan de Saram,  Druvi De Saram
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  • 24.
    Icon: The Early Years - Yehudi Menuhin
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 928129 Release Date: 01/28/2014   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Marius Casadesus,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  George Enescu,  Hephzibah Menuhin,  Hubert Giesen  ... 
    Conductor:  George Enescu,  Pierre Monteux,  Sir Malcolm Sargent,  Sir Edward Elgar  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Symphony Orchestra,  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris,  Orchestre de Paris  ... 
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  • 25.
    Espana! - Albeniz, Falla, Mompou, Ravel, Rodrigo
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 2908530 Release Date: 03/12/2013   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Manuel de Falla,  Maurice Ravel,  Federico Mompou,  Joaquin Rodrigo  ... 
    Performer:  Ginesa Ortega,  Joan Martin,  Joan Cabero,  Inaki Fresan  ... 
    Conductor:  Josep Pons
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Barcelona Teatre Lliure Chamber Orchestra,  Granada City Orchestra,  Badalona Children's Choir
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