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, 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
Pavane pour une infante defunte
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Pavane pour une infante defunte

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Maurice Ravel
String Quartet in F major (2nd mvt)
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String Quartet in F major (2nd mvt)
Maurice Ravel
3 Chansons for unaccompanied chorus
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3 Chansons for unaccompanied chorus
Maurice Ravel
La Valse
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La Valse

La Valse

Performer
Yuka Oechslin
Anton Kernjak
Maurice Ravel
Tzigane -- rapsodie de concert, arr. for violin and orchestra
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Tzigane -- rapsodie de concert, arr. for violin and orchestra
Maurice Ravel
Introduction and Allegro arr for two pianos
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Introduction and Allegro arr for two pianos
Maurice Ravel
Fanfare (L'éventail de Jeanne)
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Fanfare (L'éventail de Jeanne)
Maurice Ravel
Tzigane - rapsodie de concert arr. for violin & orchestra
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Tzigane - rapsodie de concert arr. for violin & orchestra
Maurice Ravel
Gaspard de la nuit, M. 55: I. Ondine
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Gaspard de la nuit, M. 55: I. Ondine
Maurice Ravel
Sheherazade
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Sheherazade
Maurice Ravel
Piano concerto in D major (left hand)
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Piano concerto in D major (left hand)
Maurice Ravel
Lever du Jour [Daphnis et Chloe Suite no.2]
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Lever du Jour [Daphnis et Chloe Suite no.2]
Maurice Ravel
Piano trio in A minor: I. Modéré
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Piano trio in A minor: I. Modéré
Modest Mussorgsky
Ballad of the Unhatched Chicks (Pictures at an Exhibition)
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Ballad of the Unhatched Chicks (Pictures at an Exhibition)
Maurice Ravel
La pintade (Histoires naturelles)
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La pintade (Histoires naturelles)
Maurice Ravel
Une barque sur l'ocean (Miroirs)
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Une barque sur l'ocean (Miroirs)
Maurice Ravel
Rhapsodie espagnole: Feria
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Rhapsodie espagnole: Feria
Maurice Ravel
Alborada del gracioso [The Jester's Aubade] 'Miroirs' (1905)
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Alborada del gracioso [The Jester's Aubade] 'Miroirs' (1905)
Maurice Ravel
Sonatine (1903-05)
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Sonatine (1903-05)
Maurice Ravel
Piano Trio (Pantoum)
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Piano Trio (Pantoum)
Maurice Ravel
Le Tombeau de Couperin
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Le Tombeau de Couperin
Maurice Ravel
Gaspard de la nuit
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Gaspard de la nuit
Maurice Ravel
Daphnis et Chloé, Suite No. 2
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Daphnis et Chloé, Suite No. 2
Maurice Ravel
La Valse
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La Valse
Maurice Ravel
Pavane pour une infante défunte arr for orchestra
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Pavane pour une infante défunte arr for orchestra
Modest Mussorgsky
Pictures from an exhibition (Tuileries)
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Pictures from an exhibition (Tuileries)
Maurice Ravel
Introduction and Allegro
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Introduction and Allegro
Claude Debussy
Danse 'Tarantelle styrienne'
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Danse 'Tarantelle styrienne'

Danse 'Tarantelle styrienne'

Orchestrator
Orchestra
Lyon Opera Orchestra
Last played on
Maurice Ravel
String Quartet 2nd mvt, Assez vif, très rythmé
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String Quartet 2nd mvt, Assez vif, très rythmé
Claude Debussy
Tarantelle styrienne
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Tarantelle styrienne

Tarantelle styrienne

Music Arranger
Orchestra
Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra
Maurice Ravel
Gaspard de la nuit (Scarbo)
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Gaspard de la nuit (Scarbo)
Maurice Ravel
Valses nobles et sentimentales (extract)
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Valses nobles et sentimentales (extract)
Maurice Ravel
Violin Sonata in G major
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Violin Sonata in G major
Maurice Ravel
Bolero
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Bolero
Maurice Ravel
La Valse
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La Valse
Maurice Ravel
Violin Sonata in G major (2nd mvt, 'Blues')
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Violin Sonata in G major (2nd mvt, 'Blues')
Maurice Ravel
'Rigaudon' from Le Tombeau de Couperin, arr. Jocelyn Morlock for flute, viola and harp
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'Rigaudon' from Le Tombeau de Couperin, arr. Jocelyn Morlock for flute, viola and harp
Maurice Ravel
Sonatine (1st mvt)
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Sonatine (1st mvt)
Maurice Ravel
La valse
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La valse
Maurice Ravel
2 Hebrew melodies (Kaddisch; L'Enigme eternelle)
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2 Hebrew melodies (Kaddisch; L'Enigme eternelle)
Maurice Ravel
Sonatine: Mouvement de Menuet
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Sonatine: Mouvement de Menuet
Maurice Ravel
Daphnis et Chloé (Lever du jour)
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Daphnis et Chloé (Lever du jour)
Maurice Ravel
Sonata for violin and piano in G major [1927]
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Sonata for violin and piano in G major [1927]
Maurice Ravel
Trois Chansons
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Trois Chansons
Maurice Ravel
Une barque sur l'ocean
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Une barque sur l'ocean
Maurice Ravel
Piano Concerto in G major (1st mvt)
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Piano Concerto in G major (1st mvt)
Maurice Ravel
L'Heure espagnole: Ah! La pitoyable ave
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L'Heure espagnole: Ah! La pitoyable ave
Maurice Ravel
Scarbo (Gaspard de la nuit)
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Scarbo (Gaspard de la nuit)
Maurice Ravel
L'Aurore
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L'Aurore
Maurice Ravel
Gaspard de la nuit for piano
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Gaspard de la nuit for piano
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