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
Gershwin, Ravel, Debussy / O'Riley, Wordsworth, Royal PO
Release Date: 08/11/2009   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 28050   Number of Discs: 1
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Mussorgsky: Pictures At An Exhibition; Ravel: Daphnis Et Chloe, La Valse / Casadesus
Release Date: 05/10/2011   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 28180   Number of Discs: 1
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Ravel: L'heure Espagnole, L'enfant Et Les Sortileges / Gadelia, Gay, Oustrac, Madore, Ono
Release Date: 11/12/2013   Label: Fra Musica  
Catalog: 8   Number of Discs: 1
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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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Franck: Sonata For Violin & Piano; Ravel: Piano Trio / Bieber, Dinnebier, Lang
Release Date: 11/12/2005   Label: Genuin Musikproduction  
Catalog: 85512   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Pièce en forme de Habañera

Browse 151-163 of 163 Available Recordings
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  • 151.
    Dvorak: Cello Concerto;  Saint-saens, Etc / Pierre Fournier
    Label: Testament   Catalog: 1016 Release Date: 10/01/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel,  Gabriel Fauré  ... 
    Performer:  Gerald Moore,  Pierre Fournier,  Ernest Lush
    Conductor:  Walter Susskind,  Rafael Kubelik
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 152.
    Cantos De Espana / Christensen, Fukacova
    Label: Kontrapunkt   Catalog: 32044 Release Date: 09/17/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Enrique Granados,  Isaac Albeniz,  Gabriel Fauré,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Michaela Fukacková,  Jacob Christensen
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  • 153.
    Entr'acte - Music For Flute And Harp / Debost, Christiansen
    Label: Kontrapunkt   Catalog: 32043 Release Date: 09/17/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Toke Lund Christiansen,  Maurice Ravel,  Jacques Ibert,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Toke Lund Christiansen,  Michel Debost,  Tine Rehling
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  • 154.
    Cello Charms / Michael Rudiakov, Ron Levy
    Label: Centaur Records   Catalog: 2192 Release Date: 09/01/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Coleridge-T. Perkinson,  Joachim Stutschewsky,  Joseph Achron  ... 
    Performer:  Michael Rudiakov,  Ron Levy
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  • 155.
    Repertoire - Virtuoso Music For Cello / Janos Starker
    Label: Denon Records   Catalog: 8118 Release Date: 08/27/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco,  Maurice Ravel,  Claude Debussy,  Manuel de Falla  ... 
    Performer:  János Starker,  Shigeo Neriki
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  • 156.
    The Art Of The Theremin / Clara Rockmore
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 1014 Release Date: 12/14/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alexander Glazunov,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Maurice Ravel,  Igor Stravinsky  ... 
    Performer:  Nadia Reisenberg,  Clara Rockmore
    CD: $12.99
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  • 157.
    French Music For Clarinet And Piano / De Peyer, Pryor
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 8526 Release Date: 10/28/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gabriel Pierné,  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel,  Florent Schmitt  ... 
    Performer:  Gwenneth Pryor,  Gervase de Peyer
    CD: $18.99
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  • 158.
    Romantic Brass - Music Of France And Spain / Empire Brass
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80301 Release Date: 01/28/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Joaquin Turina,  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel,  Isaac Albeniz  ... 
    Performer:  Richard Jensen,  Edward Flower
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Empire Brass
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 159.
    Duets with Spanish Guitar / Almeida, Terri, Ruderman
    Label: Emi Studio   Catalog: 63256 Release Date: 07/01/1991   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Manuel de Falla,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Francisco Mignone,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Laurindo Almeida,  Salli Terri,  Martin Ruderman
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  • 160.
    Ravel: Boléro, Rapsodie Espagnole, Etc / Tilson Thomas
    Label: Cbs Masterworks   Catalog: 44800 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  John Harle
    Conductor:  Michael Tilson Thomas
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 161.
    Romances For Saxophone / Branford Marsalis
    Label: Cbs Masterworks   Catalog: 42122 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Michel Colombier,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Claude Debussy,  Igor Stravinsky  ... 
    Performer:  Branford Marsalis
    Conductor:  Andrew Litton
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  Tallis Chamber Choir
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  • 162.
    Music For Flute & Harp / Rampal, Nordmann
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 44552 Release Date: 06/13/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Maurice Ravel,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Gabriel Fauré  ... 
    Performer:  Jean-Pierre Rampal,  Marielle Nordmann
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  • 163.
    Guitare Plus Vol 16: Orient...occident / Chanel
    Label: Mandala   Catalog: 4883 Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gurdjieff / Hartmann,  Erik Satie,  Maurice Ravel,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Christian Chanel
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