Maurice Ravel

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Maurice Ravel

Joseph-Maurice Ravel (March 7, 1875 – December 28, 1937) was a French composer and pianist of the impressionistic period, not unlike Claude Debussy. Son of a Swiss engineer and Basque wife, the family moved to Paris where Ravel would remain for the rest of his life. Like Debussy, Ravel entered the Paris Conservatoire as a young pianist, where he would later study composition under the great romantic composer, Gabriel Fauré. An interest in Renaissance literature let him to write pieces such as the Minuet antique (1895) and Pavane pour une infante défunte (1899) for piano, the latter becoming one of his most popular works. Ravel's outstanding originality disconverted the Conservatoir's staid establishment, and so he failed to win the Prix de Rombe five times, even with the ravishing song-cycle, Shéhérazade (1903), upsetting the public and leading to the forced resignation of the Conservatoire's director.

By this time, Ravel was now a member of the artistic cirlcee of poets, musicians, critics, and painters known as "Les Apaches".

Notable Compositions

  • Pavane pour une infante défunte ("Pavane for a dead infanta") (piano 1899, orchestra 1910)
  • Jeux d'eau (piano, 1901)
  • String Quartet in F major (1903)
  • Sonatine (piano, 1903-1905)
  • Miroirs suite (piano 1905)
  • Rapsodie espagnole ("Spanish Rhapsody") (orchestra, 1907)
  • L'heure espagnole ("The Spanish Hour") (opera, 1907–1909)
  • Gaspard de la nuit ("Demons of the night") (piano, 1908)
  • Ma Mère l'Oye ("Mother Goose") (piano duet 1908–1910, orchestrated 1911, expanded into ballet 1912)
  • Daphnis et Chloé ("Daphnis and Chloé") (ballet, 1909–1912)
  • Valses nobles et sentimentales ("Noble and Sentimental Waltzes") (piano 1911, orchestra 1912)
  • Piano Trio in A minor (1914)
  • Le Tombeau de Couperin ("Tombeau for Couperin") (piano 1914–1917), (I, III, IV and V, orchestra 1919)
  • Sonata for Violin and Cello
  • Sonata for Violin and Piano
  • La Valse (choreographic poem, 1906–1914 and 1919–1920)
  • Tzigane (violin and piano, 1924)
  • Boléro (ballet, 1928)
  • Piano Concerto for the Left Hand in D (1929–1930)
  • Piano Concerto in G (1929–1931)

See Also