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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
Faure; Lekeu; Ravel / Tasmin Little, Martin Roscoe
Release Date: 11/18/2014   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 10812   Number of Discs: 1
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Ravel, Debussy / Pierre Boulez [6-CD Set]
Release Date: 05/08/2012   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 001676802   Number of Discs: 6
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Ravel: Daphnis Et Chloé / Petitgirard, Bordeaux Aquitaine
Release Date: 11/21/2006   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8570075   Number of Discs: 1
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Reflections - Ravel, Decaux, Schonberg / Frederic Chiu
Release Date: 02/14/2012   Label: Harmonia Mundi  
Catalog: 1957166   Number of Discs: 1
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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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Work: Pièce en forme de Habañera

Browse 51-75 of 159 Available Recordings
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  • 51.
    Conversations - Music For Oboe And Piano / Rosengren, Nylander, Hirvonen
    Label: Daphne   Catalog: 1030 Release Date: 04/14/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Pierre Sancan,  Albert Roussel,  Eugène Bozza,  Pierre Max Dubois  ... 
    Performer:  Matti Hirvonen,  Kerstin Nylander,  Bengt Rosengren
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  • 52.
    Flute Adagios
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001280202 Release Date: 04/14/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Albert Roussel,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Jacques Ibert,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Michael Grandt,  Irena Grafenauer,  William Bennett,  Timothy Hutchins  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Benjamin Britten,  Karl Münchinger  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Grumiaux Trio,  Montreal Symphony Orchestra,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields  ... 
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  • 53.
    Salut D'amour / Anne Akiko Meyers, Sandra Rivers
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 62546 Release Date: 02/18/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Flausino R. do Vale,  Manuel de Falla,  Kosaku Yamada,  Rentauro Taki  ... 
    Performer:  Sandra Rivers,  Anne Akiko Meyers
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  • 54.
    Catan: Encantamiento;  Lynch: 3 Tangos, Etc / Christiana Smith, Elisabeth Johnson
    Label: Aca Digital   Catalog: 20103 Release Date: 02/10/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Nino Rota,  Maurice Ravel,  Graham Lynch,  Robert Xavier Rodriguez  ... 
    Performer:  Elisabeth Johnson,  Christina Smith
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  • 55.
    Homage (Cd & Dvd) / James Ehnes
    Label: Onyx   Catalog: 4038 Release Date: 01/13/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Max Bruch,  Félicien César David,  Arthur Benjamin,  Ralph Vaughan Williams  ... 
    Performer:  James Ehnes,  Eduard Laurel
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  • 56.
    Ravel: Works For Violin And Piano / Régis Pasquier, Brigitte Engerer
    Label: Harmonia Mundi Musique D'abord   Catalog: 1951364 Release Date: 08/12/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Régis Pasquier,  Brigitte Engerer
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  • 57.
    Pan Flute Classics - Vivaldi, Telemann, Mendelssohn, Ravel, Etc / Michel Tirabosco
    Label: Gall (Formerly Gallo)   Catalog: 1241 Release Date: 06/17/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georg Philipp Telemann,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Felix Mendelssohn,  G. Reid  ... 
    Performer:  Michel Tirabosco,  André Luy,  Nathalie Chatelain,  Marc-Andre Thiebaud  ... 
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  • 58.
    Enchanting Ravel / Andrea Anderson
    Label: Klavier Records   Catalog: 11016 Release Date: 06/16/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Andrea Anderson
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  • 59.
    Catoire: Complete Works For Violin And Piano; Ravel / Zack
    Label: Avie   Catalog: 2143 Release Date: 03/25/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georgy Catoire,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Bernd Zack,  Hervig Zack
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  • 60.
    Postcards From Paris - Milhaud, Etc / La Porte, Saulter
    Label: Centaur Records   Catalog: 2883 Release Date: 11/27/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Erik Satie,  Claude Debussy,  Francis Poulenc,  Louis Moyse  ... 
    Performer:  Michelle LaPorte,  Gerard Saulter
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  • 61.
    Works For Violin & Piano / Gowers, Owen
    Label: Somm   Catalog: 64 Release Date: 09/18/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Vittorio Monti,  Gabriel Fauré,  Maurice Ravel,  George Gershwin  ... 
    Performer:  Katharine Gowers,  Charles Owen
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  • 62.
    Impresiones - Brouwer, Ravel / Pablo & Rodrigo Garibay
    Label: Urtext   Catalog: 139 Release Date: 07/10/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio José,  Leo Brouwer,  Maurice Ravel,  Ernesto Cordero  ... 
    Performer:  Pablo Garibay,  Rodrigo Garibay
    CD: $14.99
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  • 63.
    The Essential Wynton Marsalis
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 709579 Release Date: 07/10/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Jeremiah Clarke,  Jean Joseph Mouret,  Henry Purcell,  John Stanley  ... 
    Performer:  Wynton Marsalis,  William Bennett,  Neil Black,  Lin Cho-Liang  ... 
    Conductor:  Anthony Newman,  Raymond Leppard,  John Nelson,  Esa-Pekka Salonen  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  Orchestra of St. Luke's,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 64.
    Cheers
    Label: Ribbet   Catalog: 5637432661 Release Date: 05/29/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Philip Wilby,  Antonio Bazzini,  Herman Bellstedt,  Ionel Dumitru  ... 
    Performer:  Jun Okada,  Benjamin Pierce
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  • 65.
    Ravel: Five O'clock Foxtrot, Etc / Simon, Et Al
    Label: Cala Records   Catalog: 4027 Release Date: 05/29/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Stephanie Chase,  Han de Vries
    Conductor:  Geoffrey Simon
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 66.
    Showpieces- Borne, Ravel, Fauré, Debussy, Et Al / Grafenauer
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 426248 Release Date: 03/30/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Fernande Le Borne,  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel,  George Enescu  ... 
    Performer:  Irena Grafenauer,  Michael Grandt
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  • 67.
    Label: Farao   Catalog: 108031 Release Date: 03/27/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ferdinand Ries,  Gabriel Fauré,  Enrique Granados,  Francesco Maria Veracini  ... 
    Performer:  Benjamin Rawitz,  Janos Maté
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  • 68.
    Brahms, Sibelius, Ravel, Scarlatescu / Ginette Neveu, Et Al
    Label: Opus Kura   Catalog: 2064 Release Date: 03/13/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Jean Sibelius,  Maurice Ravel,  Ioan Scarlatescu
    Performer:  Ginette Neveu,  Jean Neveu
    Conductor:  Issay Dobrowen,  Walter Susskind
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 69.
    Siesta - Ibert, Ravel, Piazzolla, Etc / Petri, Hannibal
    Label: Our Recordings   Catalog: 8226900 Release Date: 01/30/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Astor Piazzolla,  Joan Albert Amargós,  Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Michala Petri,  Lars Hannibal
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  • 70.
    Stephen Hough's Spanish Album
    Label: Hyperion   Catalog: 67565 Release Date: 01/16/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Federico Longas,  Antonio Soler,  Enrique Granados,  Isaac Albeniz  ... 
    Performer:  Stephen Hough
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  • 71.
    Tour De France / Quintessenz
    Label: Genuin Musikproduction   Catalog: 87108 Release Date: 01/01/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Georges Bizet,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quintessenz (Flute Ensemble)
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  • 72.
    New York Legends - Judith Leclair, Principal Bassoon
    Label: Cala Records   Catalog: 515 Release Date: 10/26/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Willson Osborne,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Judith LeClair,  Jonathan Feldman
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  • 73.
    Moods For Cello And Piano / Harro Ruijsenaars, Erik Risberg
    Label: Intim Musik   Catalog: 26 Release Date: 10/24/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  David Popper,  Tor Aulin,  Selim Palmgren,  Enrique Granados  ... 
    Performer:  Harro Ruijsenaars,  Erik Risberg
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  • 74.
    Heifetz - It Ain't Necessarily So - Legendary Classic And Jazz Studio Takes
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000719002 Release Date: 10/10/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Jascha Heifetz,  Hermann Lohr,  Benjamin Godard,  Cecil Burleigh  ... 
    Performer:  Jascha Heifetz,  Bing Crosby,  Emanuel Bay,  Milton Kaye
    Conductor:  Victor Young,  Salvador Camarata
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
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  • 75.
    Master Music For Flute & Piano / Zucker, Shapiro
    Label: Cd Baby   Catalog: 5637533002 Release Date: 08/22/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Claude Debussy,  Gabriel Fauré,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Laurel Zucker,  Marc Shapiro
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