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

Ravel, Debussy & Massenet / Bavouzet, Tortelier, BBC Symphony Orchestra
Release Date: 11/16/2010   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 5084   Number of Discs: 1
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Bolero - Works By Ravel, Pierne, Escaich, Francaix / Ellipsos Quartet
Release Date: 01/28/2014   Label: Genuin Musikproduction  
Catalog: 14543   Number of Discs: 1
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Ravel: Orchestral Works; Saint-Saens: Organ Symphony / Morlot, Seattle Symphony
Release Date: 04/29/2014   Label: Seattle Symphony Orchestra  
Catalog: 1002   Number of Discs: 1
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Debussy & Ravel On The Organ / Gunnar Idenstam
Release Date: 07/08/2014   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 2049   Number of Discs: 1
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Ravel: Piano Trio; Debussy: Sonatas / Borodin Trio
Release Date: 10/28/1992   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 8458   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Pièce en forme de Habañera

Browse 101-125 of 161 Available Recordings
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  • 101.
    Conversations / Alain Trudel, Yannick Nézet-séguin
    Label: Atma Classique   Catalog: 22289 Release Date: 09/30/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Paul Fièvet,  B.M. Blazewitch,  Johannes Brahms,  Sir Edward Elgar  ... 
    Performer:  Alain Trudel,  Yannick Nézet-Séguin
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  • 102.
    Serenade / Susan Hoeppner
    Label: Marquis   Catalog: 81301 Release Date: 09/23/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gabriel Fauré,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Ernest Bloch,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Susan Hoeppner
    Conductor:  Chosei Komatsu
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Canadian Chamber Ensemble
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  • 103.
    Plaintive Melody / Thomas Stacy, Kenneth Hamrick
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 3318 Release Date: 08/05/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Alexander Borodin,  Heitor Villa-Lobos,  Ennio Morricone  ... 
    Performer:  Kenneth Hamrick,  Thomas Stacy
    CD: $17.99
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  • 104.
    Romantic Flute Concertos - Moscheles, Et Al / Grauwels, Etc
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8555977 Release Date: 06/17/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Eugène Damaré,  Maurice Ravel,  Gabriel Fauré,  Camille Saint-Saëns  ... 
    Performer:  Marc Grauwels,  Guy Vanderborght,  Joris Van den Hauwe
    Conductor:  André Vandernoot
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brussels Belgian Radio & TV Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $9.99
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  • 105.
    Original Masters - Arthur Grumiaux
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 000017902 Release Date: 05/13/2003   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Isaac Albeniz,  Niccolò Paganini,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Camille Saint-Saëns  ... 
    Performer:  István Hajdu,  Arthur Grumiaux,  Riccardo Castagnone
    Conductor:  Franco Gallini,  Rudolf Moralt,  Jean Fournet,  Bernhard Baumgartner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lamoureux Concerts Association Orchestra,  Vienna Symphony Orchestra
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  • 106.
    A Tribute To Gerald Moore
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 67994 Release Date: 04/08/2003   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Gioachino Rossini,  Antonín Dvorák,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Gervase de Peyer,  Gerald Moore,  Victoria de los Angeles,  Elisabeth Schwarzkopf  ... 
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  • 107.
    Jeux A Deux - Music For Flute & Harp / Aitken, Goodman
    Label: Marquis   Catalog: 81101 Release Date: 01/01/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  François Joseph Gossec,  Erik Satie,  Gabriel Fauré,  Christoph W. Gluck  ... 
    Performer:  Robert Aitken,  Erica Goodman
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  • 108.
    Saitenspruge - Ibert, Et Al / Philharmonische Cellisten
    Label: Orfeo   Catalog: 495021 Release Date: 10/29/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Jacques Ibert,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  David Popper  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonic Cellists
    CD: $22.49
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  • 109.
    Dream Travels / Gary Schocker, Jason Vieaux
    Label: Azica   Catalog: 71215 Release Date: 10/22/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Zequinha de Abreu,  José Luis Merlin,  Heitor Villa-Lobos,  Jacques Ibert  ... 
    Performer:  Jason Vieaux,  Gary Schocker
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  • 110.
    Exotic Lyricism - Ravel: Miroirs, Etc / Eric Himy
    Label: Ivory Classics   Catalog: 72009 Release Date: 10/22/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Eric Himy
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  • 111.
    Popular Encores - Paganini, Schubert, Et Al / Haendel, Et Al
    Label: Testament   Catalog: 1259 Release Date: 09/10/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Béla Bartók,  Ernesto Halffter,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Geoffrey Parsons,  Ida Haendel
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  • 112.
    Debussy, Poulenc, Franck: Works for Cello / Muller-Schott
    Label: Emi Classics Special Import   Catalog: 75201 Release Date: 09/03/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel,  César Franck,  Francis Poulenc
    Performer:  Daniel Müller-Schott,  Robert Kulek
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  • 113.
    James Galway - Music For My Little Friends
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 63725 Release Date: 06/25/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Phil Coulter,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Claude Debussy,  Christoph W. Gluck  ... 
    Performer:  Phillip Moll,  James Galway
    Conductor:  James Galway
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Mozart Players
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  • 114.
    Morceaux Intimes - Debussy, Faure, Ravel, Et Al / Mobius
    Label: Meridian Records   Catalog: 84440 Release Date: 03/05/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Maurice Ravel,  Gabriel Fauré,  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Lorna McGee,  Ashan Pillai,  Alison Nicholls
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mobius
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  • 115.
    The Trumpet In The 20th Century / Tamburini, Bollani
    Label: Fabula Classica   Catalog: 29906 Release Date: 09/25/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Paul Hindemith,  Leonard Bernstein,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Stefano Bollani,  Marco Tamburini
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  • 116.
    Historic Two-piano Wizardry - Morley & Gearhart Rediscovered
    Label: Ivory Classics   Catalog: 72004 Release Date: 09/18/2001   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Egbert Anson Van Alstyne,  John Waldo Green,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Zoltán Kodály  ... 
    Performer:  Virginia Morley,  Livingston Gearhart
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  • 117.
    Clariphonia - Music Of The 20th Century / Price Duo, Roth
    Label: Cambria   Catalog: 1125 Release Date: 06/26/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Alex Shapiro,  Gail Kubik,  Madeleine Dring  ... 
    Performer:  Berkeley Price,  Deon Nielsen Price,  Nancy Roth
    Conductor:  Deon Nielsen Price
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Price Duo,  Lighted Window Church Chamber Orchestra
    CD: $17.99
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  • 118.
    Miniatures For Flute & Guitar / Graf, Ragossnig
    Label: Claves   Catalog: 2013 Release Date: 03/27/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach,  Aram Khachaturian,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Peter-Lukas Graf,  Konrad Ragossnig
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  • 119.
    References - Chausson, Debussy, Ravel, Et Al / Ginette Neveu
    Label: Emi Classics Special Import   Catalog: 63493 Release Date: 02/27/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Maurice Ravel,  Claude Debussy,  Ernest Chausson
    Performer:  Gustaf Beck,  Ginette Neveu,  Jean Neveu
    Conductor:  Issay Dobrowen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
    CD not available
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  • 120.
    Musique Française / Serkin, Mcgill, Genovese, Chrisfield
    Label: Boston Records   Catalog: 1022 Release Date: 01/01/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Erik Satie,  Emmanuel Chabrier,  Theodore Lalliet,  Jacques Ibert  ... 
    Performer:  Alfred Genovese,  Peter Serkin,  Carla Chrisfield,  David McGill
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  • 121.
    Let Us Break Bread Together/ Harold Jones, Colette Valentine
    Label: Leonarda   Catalog: 333 Release Date: 10/30/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Newton,  Traditional,  Coleridge-T. Perkinson,  Michel Colombier  ... 
    Performer:  Harold Jones,  Colette Valentine,  Harold Jones
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  • 122.
    Clearings In The Sky - Boulanger, Et Al: Songs /Michaels Bedi
    Label: Cedille Records   Catalog: 54 Release Date: 10/17/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gabriel Fauré,  Lili Boulanger,  Maurice Ravel,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Patrice Michaels,  Rebecca Rollins
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  • 123.
    Ravel: Guitar Transcriptions / Anders Miolin
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 886 Release Date: 08/07/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Anders Miolin
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  • 124.
    Mostly French - Debussy, Satie, Ravel, Dukas, Et Al
    Label: Crs Artists (Contemporary Record Society   Catalog: 9868 Release Date: 07/30/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Darius Milhaud,  Paul Dukas,  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Lydia Walton Ignacio,  Sergiu Schwartz,  John Russo
    On sale! $16.98
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  • 125.
    Whispers Of The Past / Peter Cooper, Marcia Labella
    Label: Summit Records   Catalog: 269 Release Date: 07/11/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Wang Sa Xiao,  Jing Sha,  Sergei Rachmaninov  ... 
    Performer:  Peter Cooper,  Marcia Labella
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