Maurice Ravel
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1875-03-07
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Maurice Ravel

Maurice Ravel Biography (BBC)

Could it be said that Ravel composed in the shadow of Debussy? Their names so frequently trip off the tongue together that it’s too easy to ignore their differences. While there were similarities in their musical language – both used ‘added-note’ harmonies and melodies often more like oriental arabesques than Romantic tunes – the 13 years that separated them were crucial. Debussy began composing around 1880, while Ravel didn’t really get going until the mid-1890s. How the musical climate had changed in the interim!

Piano-playing was at the centre of Ravel’s musical life during his teens. At the age of 13 he had met Ricardo Viñes, the pianist who was later to become the champion of much piano music by both Debussy and Ravel. Together, they played Chabrier’s Trois valses romantiques to the composer.

Across the turn of the century, Ravel sporadically studied with Fauré and began a spectacularly unsuccessful pursuit of the Prix de Rome, awarded by the French Académie des Beaux-Arts. Reading between the lines, his attitude to his formal teaching seemed entirely the opposite of Debussy’s: while the latter composer was a rebellious challenger, Ravel seemed more in pursuit of classical perfection.

Indebted to Chabrier, his first lasting piece was the Pavane pour une infante défunte for piano (1899, later orchestrated). More groundbreaking was his piano piece Jeux d’eau (1901), which he wrote when he was 26 and which vied with Debussy’s ‘Reflets dans l’eau’ from the first book of Images for the honour of inaugurating the new Impressionist piano style.

He began to turn his attention to a wide variety of forms: the opulent oriental orchestral songs of Shéhérazade date from 1903, the same year in which he finished his String Quartet, a work which, like the Sonatine for piano (begun the same year), shows two opposite sides of his musical personality: the one sybaritic and hedonistic, the other Classical, formal and restrained. Somewhere between the two lies the delightful sound-world of the Introduction and Allegro for harp and chamber group.

Another talent of Ravel’s was his virtuosity in pastiche, which he used to great effect, especially in his two operas: L’heure espagnole (1907–9) parodies both Spanish music and Offenbach, while the delightful L’enfant et les sortilèges (1920–25) is a self-confessed parade of pastiches of all kinds of music, including ragtime.

Association with Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes resulted in the opulently orchestrated Daphnis and Chloë (1909–12), with its masterly depiction of a sunrise. Amid deteriorating health Ravel, in his fifties, produced his two piano concertos as well as his bestseller, Boléro, which he flippantly described as a ‘piece for orchestra without music’.

Profile © Richard Langham Smith

Maurice Ravel Biography (Wikipedia)

Joseph Maurice Ravel; 7 March 1875 – 28 December 1937) was a French composer, pianist and conductor. He is often associated with impressionism along with his elder contemporary Claude Debussy, although both composers rejected the term. In the 1920s and 1930s Ravel was internationally regarded as France's greatest living composer.

Born to a music-loving family, Ravel attended France's premier music college, the Paris Conservatoire; he was not well regarded by its conservative establishment, whose biased treatment of him caused a scandal. After leaving the conservatoire, Ravel found his own way as a composer, developing a style of great clarity and incorporating elements of baroque, neoclassicism and, in his later works, jazz. He liked to experiment with musical form, as in his best-known work, Boléro (1928), in which repetition takes the place of development. He made some orchestral arrangements of other composers' music, of which his 1922 version of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition is the best known.

This entry is from Wikipedia, the user-contributed encyclopedia. It may not have been reviewed by professional editors and is licensed under an Attribution-ShareAlike Creative Commons License. If you find the biography content factually incorrect or highly offensive you can edit this article at Wikipedia. Find out more about our use of this data.

Maurice Ravel Performances & Interviews


Maurice Ravel Tracks

Maurice Ravel
La valse
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La valse

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Maurice Ravel
Daphnis et Chloe Part II - A Dim Light - at the Pirate's Camp
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Daphnis et Chloe Part II - A Dim Light - at the Pirate's Camp
Maurice Ravel
Gaspard de la nuit (Scarbo)
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Gaspard de la nuit (Scarbo)
Maurice Ravel
Rigaudon (Le tombeau de Couperin)
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Rigaudon (Le tombeau de Couperin)
Maurice Ravel
Une Barque sur l'ocean
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Une Barque sur l'ocean
Maurice Ravel
Le jardin féerique (Ma Mère l'Oye)
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Le jardin féerique (Ma Mère l'Oye)
Maurice Ravel
Alborada del gracioso (Miroirs)
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Alborada del gracioso (Miroirs)
Maurice Ravel
Gaspard de la nuit
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Gaspard de la nuit
Maurice Ravel
Jeux d'Eau
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Jeux d'Eau
Maurice Ravel
Feria from Rapsodie Espagnole
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Feria from Rapsodie Espagnole
Maurice Ravel
Pavane pour une infante defunte (version for orchestra)
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Pavane pour une infante defunte (version for orchestra)
Maurice Ravel
Ondine (Gaspard de la nuit)
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Ondine (Gaspard de la nuit)
Maurice Ravel
Jeux d'Eau
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Jeux d'Eau

Jeux d'Eau

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Anastasia Vorotnaya
Maurice Ravel
Mother Goose
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Mother Goose
Maurice Ravel
Five O'Clock Foxtrot
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Five O'Clock Foxtrot
Maurice Ravel
Mother Goose - Le jardin féerique
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Mother Goose - Le jardin féerique
Maurice Ravel
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in G, 2nd Movement
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Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in G, 2nd Movement
Maurice Ravel
Tombeau de Couperin: Toccata
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Tombeau de Couperin: Toccata
Maurice Ravel
Five o'clock Foxtrot
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Five o'clock Foxtrot
Maurice Ravel
Quartet in F major
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Quartet in F major
Maurice Ravel
Pavane pour une infante defunte
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Pavane pour une infante defunte
Maurice Ravel
Piano Concerto in G Major, M. 83: II. Adagio assai
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Piano Concerto in G Major, M. 83: II. Adagio assai
Maurice Ravel
Le Tombeau de Couperin (Menuet)
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Le Tombeau de Couperin (Menuet)
Maurice Ravel
Rapsodie espagnole; Habanera
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Rapsodie espagnole; Habanera
Maurice Ravel
Piano Concerto in G Major, M. 83: III. Presto
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Piano Concerto in G Major, M. 83: III. Presto
Maurice Ravel
Valses nobles et sentimentales (Waltz No 7)
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Valses nobles et sentimentales (Waltz No 7)
Maurice Ravel
String Quartet in F major (2nd mvt)
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String Quartet in F major (2nd mvt)
Maurice Ravel
La Valse
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La Valse
Maurice Ravel
Piano Concerto in G major
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Piano Concerto in G major
Maurice Ravel
Le Tombeau de Couperin
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Le Tombeau de Couperin
Maurice Ravel
Jeux d'eau
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Jeux d'eau
Maurice Ravel
Lever du Jour (Daphnis et Chloe)
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Lever du Jour (Daphnis et Chloe)
Maurice Ravel
Daphnis Et Chloe - Ballet [with Chorus]
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Daphnis Et Chloe - Ballet [with Chorus]
Maurice Ravel
Une barque sur l'ocean (Miroirs)
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Une barque sur l'ocean (Miroirs)
Maurice Ravel
Miroirs, M. 43: IV. Alborada del gracioso (orchestra version)
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Miroirs, M. 43: IV. Alborada del gracioso (orchestra version)
Maurice Ravel
Une barque sur l'océan (Miroirs)
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Une barque sur l'océan (Miroirs)
Maurice Ravel
Le Tombeau de Couperin
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Le Tombeau de Couperin
Maurice Ravel
Introduction and Allegro
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Introduction and Allegro
Maurice Ravel
Gaspard de la nuit for piano
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Gaspard de la nuit for piano
Maurice Ravel
Pavane pour une infante défunte, M. 19
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Pavane pour une infante défunte, M. 19
Maurice Ravel
Noctuelles (Miroirs)
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Noctuelles (Miroirs)
Maurice Ravel
5 Mélodies populaires grecques
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5 Mélodies populaires grecques
Maurice Ravel
3 Chansons: 3 Chansons: No. 2. Trois beaux oiseaux du Paradis
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3 Chansons: 3 Chansons: No. 2. Trois beaux oiseaux du Paradis
Maurice Ravel
Le tombeau de Couperin (Prelude)
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Le tombeau de Couperin (Prelude)
Maurice Ravel
Histoires naturelles
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Histoires naturelles
Maurice Ravel
Daphnis et Chloé Suite No 2 (Lever du jour)
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Daphnis et Chloé Suite No 2 (Lever du jour)
Maurice Ravel
Chants populaires (Popular Songs)
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Chants populaires (Popular Songs)
Maurice Ravel
Tzigane - rapsodie de concert arr. for violin & orchestra
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Tzigane - rapsodie de concert arr. for violin & orchestra
Maurice Ravel
Don Quichotte à Dulcinée
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Don Quichotte à Dulcinée
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