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: Daphnis Et Chloé, Ouverture De Féerie
Release Date: 04/28/2009   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8570992   Number of Discs: 1
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Ravel: Complete Orchestral Works / Bringuier, Tonhalle-Orchester Zurich
Release Date: 04/15/2016   Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 002463002   Number of Discs: 4
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Ravel: Rapsodie Espagnole, Pavane, Etc / Kenneth Jean
Release Date: 02/15/1994   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8550424   Number of Discs: 1
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Ravel: Piano Works Vol 1 / François-joël Thiollier
Release Date: 11/29/1994   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8550683   Number of Discs: 1
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Ravel: Piano Concertos;  Falla: Nights / Thiollier, Wit
Release Date: 12/13/1994   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8550753   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Pièce en forme de Habañera

Browse 26-50 of 154 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    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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  • 27.
    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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  • 28.
    Ravel: Complete Works For Violin & Piano / Neudauer, Steckel
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 98002 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Lena Neudauer,  Paul Rivinius,  Julian Steckel
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  • 29.
    100 Best Chamber Music
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 972777 Release Date: 11/19/2012   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Various,  Johann Pachelbel,  Henry Purcell,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Renaud Capuçon,  Emmanuel Pahud,  Natalie Clein,  Pinchas Zukerman  ... 
    Conductor:  Jordi Savall,  Daniel Barenboim,  Fabio Biondi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Taverner Players,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Nash Ensemble  ... 
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  • 30.
    Ravel: Orchestral Music, Vol. 1 / Slatkin, Orchestre National De Lyon
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8572887 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lyon National Orchestra
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  • 31.
    Ravel: Orchestral Music, Vol. 1 / Slatkin, Orchestre National De Lyon [blu-ray Audio]
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 30 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lyon National Orchestra
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    On sale! $19.99
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  • 32.
    Traveling Sonata: European Music For Flute & Guitar
    Label: Reference Recordings   Catalog: 128 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gabriel Fauré,  Maurice Ravel,  François Borne,  Erik Satie  ... 
    Performer:  Viviana Guzman,  Jérémy Jouve
    CD: $17.99
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  • 33.
    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  ... 
    CD: $85.99
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  • 34.
    Steven Staryk: A Retrospective, Vol. 2 - Violin Gems
    Label: Centaur Records   Catalog: 3203 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Fritz Kreisler,  Henri Wieniawski,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Steven Staryk
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  • 35.
    The Very Best Of Paul Tortelier
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 21730 Release Date: 07/17/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Johannes Brahms,  Richard Strauss  ... 
    Performer:  Paul Tortelier,  Maria de La Pau,  Max Rostal,  Shuku Iwasaki  ... 
    Conductor:  Paul Tortelier,  Jörg Faerber,  Rudolf Kempe,  Sir Adrian Boult  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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  • 36.
    A  La Albeniz / Buckholz, Botkin
    Label: Albany Records   Catalog: 1311 Release Date: 12/13/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Rodion Shchedrin,  Paul-Henri Büsser,  Jean Aubain,  Paul Hindemith  ... 
    Performer:  Chris Buckholz,  Sean Botkin
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  • 37.
    Salvatore Accardo
    Label: Dynamic   Catalog: 715 Release Date: 12/13/2011   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Giuseppe Tartini,  Nathan Milstein,  Josef Suk,  Pablo de Sarasate  ... 
    Performer:  Salvatore Accardo,  Laura Manzini,  Margaret Batjer,  Toby Hoffman  ... 
    Conductor:  Mario Di Bonaventura
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hopkins Center Orchestra
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  • 38.
    The Art Of Luigi Alberto Bianchi
    Label: Dynamic   Catalog: 690 Release Date: 11/22/2011   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Antonio Bazzini,  Niccolò Paganini,  Fritz Kreisler,  Pablo de Sarasate  ... 
    Performer:  Aldo Arvieto,  Luigi A. Bianchi,  Maruizio Preda,  Bruno Canino  ... 
    Conductor:  Jacques Delacôte
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  • 39.
    L'Heure Espagnole - Music for 2 Harps & Voice / Duo Bilitis
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 9210 Release Date: 08/30/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Manuel de Falla,  Enrique Granados,  Xavier Montsalvatge
    Performer:  Ekaterina Levental
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Duo Bilitis
    CD: $8.99
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  • 40.
    The Heifetz Collection Vol 19 - 51 Miniatures 1944-1946
    Label: Rca Victor Gold Seal   Catalog: 61750 Release Date: 06/02/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Frédéric Chopin,  Robert Schumann,  Alexander Krein  ... 
    Performer:  Jascha Heifetz,  Emanuel Bay,  Milton Kaye,  Bing Crosby
    Conductor:  Salvador Camarata,  Victor Young
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
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  • 41.
    Je Chanterai La Joie
    Label: Vde   Catalog: 1310 Release Date: 05/10/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anonymous,  Traditional,  David McDonald,  Zakhari Paliashvili  ... 
    Performer:  Peter Rayner,  Gaetan Da Cruz,  Christine Sigwart,  Stephanie James  ... 
    On sale! $22.98
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  • 42.
    Songs, Remembrances And Impressions: Music For Trumpet And Guitar
    Label: Tijuca Music   Catalog: 5637714965 Release Date: 12/14/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gabriel Fauré,  Claude Debussy,  Pixinguinha,  Dimas Sedicias  ... 
    Performer:  Michael Decker,  Luis Engelke
    CD: $13.99
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  • 43.
    Label: Sabudo Records   Catalog: 5637705241 Release Date: 11/23/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  José Luis Merlin,  Atanas Ourkouzounov,  Astor Piazzolla,  Heitor Villa-Lobos  ... 
    Performer:  Bas Duo
    CD: $23.99
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  • 44.
    Remembrances From Home  / Christina Placilla, Hector Landa
    Label: Centaur Records   Catalog: 3045 Release Date: 09/28/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  José P. Moncayo García,  Cecil Forsyth,  Ivan Khandoshkin,  Bohuslav Martinu  ... 
    Performer:  Hector Landa,  Christina Placilla
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  • 45.
    Florilegium / Petillot, Zilkha, Cory, Viola By Choice
    Label: Oasis   Catalog: 5637664442 Release Date: 08/17/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Niccolò Paganini,  Johannes Brahms,  Hans Sitt,  Lowell Liebermann  ... 
    Performer:  Julia Cory,  Aurelion Petillot,  Isaac Bustos,  Helen Bravenec  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Viola By Choice
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  • 46.
    Something Borrowed
    Label: Msr   Catalog: 1378 Release Date: 07/13/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gabriel Fauré,  Pablo de Sarasate,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Dmitri Shostakovich  ... 
    Performer:  Jonathan Aasgaard,  Ian Buckle
    On sale! $13.98
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  • 47.
    Balade Impressionniste
    Label: Indesens   Catalog: 14 Release Date: 05/11/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky,  Claude Debussy,  Gabriel Fauré,  Emmanuel Chabrier  ... 
    Performer:  Pascal Gallet,  Eric Aubier
    CD: $18.99
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  • 48.
    Label: West Hill Radio Archives   Catalog: 160875 Release Date: 05/01/2010   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Robert Schumann,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Richard Strauss  ... 
    Performer:  Gregor Piatigorsky,  Jennie Tourel,  Ralph Berkowitz,  Ivor Newton  ... 
    Conductor:  Donald Voorhees,  Fritz Reiner,  Sir John Barbirolli,  Alfred Wallenstein  ... 
    CD: $74.49
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  • 49.
    Cafe
    Label: Tonada   Catalog: 5637620636 Release Date: 04/13/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Francis Poulenc,  Erik Satie,  Claude Debussy,  Heitor Villa-Lobos  ... 
    Performer:  Vilian Ivantchev,  Thomas Piercy
    CD: $18.99
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  • 50.
    The Magic Of The Violin / Grumiaux, Szeryng, Bobesco, Bernard
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 420818 Release Date: 04/08/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Pablo de Sarasate,  Tommaso Antonio Vitali  ... 
    Performer:  Arthur Grumiaux,  Claire Bernard,  Jacques Genty,  Lola Bobesco  ... 
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink,  Manuel Rosenthal,  Clair Gibaut,  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  Lamoureux Concerts Association Orchestra,  Monte Carlo National Opera Orchestra  ... 
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