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Ravel, Maurice

Country France
Birth Mar 7, 1875 in Ciboure, Basses-Pyrénées, France
Death Dec 28, 1937 in Paris, France
Period Modern
Composition All Works (118)
Types Vocal Music (56)
Keyboard Music (27)
Choral Music (9)
Orchestral Music (8)
Chamber Music (7)
Ballet Music (3)
Concerto (3)
Opera (2)

A French composer of great stature, Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) was


known for his melodic and tonal invention. Giving lie to the idea that
turn-of-the-century trends in French music were divided between Im-
pressionism and Wagnerian excess, Ravel's music avoids allegiance
to either school, always speaking directly to the heart through subtle
rhythm, exquisite melody, harmonic richness, and iridescent orches-
tration (the art of stacking partials in Ravel's Boléro, for instance,
predates harmonic synthesis in electronic music by half a century).
Ravel has certainly been associated with the Impressionist movement,
as he has also with Neo-classicism, but neither of these elements ac-
counts adequately for the variety of texture and inspiration character-
izing his work. Although occasionally similar to Debussy's in a har-
monic/melodic sense, Ravel's music is more transparent -- less
blurred, and his extraordinary sense of cleanliness and articulation --
perhaps anticipating some works of Stravinsky -- is coupled with a
uniquely modern sense of timbre and sonority.
Ravel's ballet Daphnis et Chloé, with its gently sustained, wordless vocal chorus amidst heaven-
on-earth sound-painting, is probably the finest synthesis of his aesthetic. Ravel's melodic abilit-
ies and method of making subtle timbre changes by harmonic shift (rather than loud/soft articu-
lation) are beautifully amplified in his piano works, including the famous Sonatine, Gaspard de la
Nuit, and in Concerto for Piano (for the left hand in D), which also contain some of his most ad-
vanced harmonic writing. The expansive La valse shows a more extroverted Ravel, with much of
the same fine orchestral composition. The Quartet in F, with its rich, earthy melodies, shows per-
haps a more intimate side of Ravel.
Aside from orchestral staples like Daphnis et Chloé, Boléro, and La valse, Ravel's most in-
fluential compositions were those for the piano. Not a brilliant pianist himself, he nevertheless
produced some of the most stunning, innovative, and idiomatic works ever written for the instru-
ment. The occasionally fiendish difficulty of these works is always offset by great musical re-
ward.
Also worth noting are his charming opera, L'enfant et les sortilèges (The Child and the En-
chantments) -- full of imaginative characterizations and musical effects -- and his many groups of
songs for solo voice, of which the Chansons madécasses, Cinq mélodies populaires grecques,
Chants populaires, and Don Quichotte à Dulcinée are the most popular. -- All Music Guide
Keyboard
1912 Character/Single-Movement/Miscellaneous Work
À la manière de. . . , for piano
-1913 for Keyboard
1913 Danse gracieuse de Daphnis, suite for piano Suite/Partita for Keyboard
1918 Frontispiece, for 2 pianos (5 hands) Music for Two Keyboards
Fugue for (in four parts) in for piano in F
1900 Fugue for Keyboard
major
1900 Fugue for for piano in D major Fugue for Keyboard
1900 Fugue for piano in F major Fugue for Keyboard
1905 Fugue for piano in C major Fugue for Keyboard
1902 Fugue for piano in E flat major Fugue for Keyboard
1903 Fugue for piano in E minor Fugue for Keyboard
Keyboard Work with Descriptive or Unclassified
1908 Gaspard de la nuit, for piano
Title
Keyboard Work with Descriptive or Unclassified
1901 Jeux d'eau, for piano
Title
1908 Ma mère l'oye, for piano, 4 hands (or or-
Music for Four Hands at One Keyboard
-1910 chestra)
1895 Menuet antique, for piano (or orchestra) Minuet for Keyboard
1904 Menuet in C sharp minor for piano Minuet for Keyboard
1909 Menuet sur le nom d'Haydn, for piano Minuet for Keyboard
1904 Keyboard Work with Descriptive or Unclassified
Miroirs, for piano (or orchestra)
-1905 Title
Keyboard Work with Descriptive or Unclassified
1896 La parade, for piano
Title
Pavane pour une infante défunte, for piano
1899 Pavane for Keyboard
(or orchestra)
1913 Prélude, for piano Prelude for Keyboard
1892
Sérénade grotesque, for piano Music for Keyboard
-1893
1895
Sites auriculaires, for 2 pianos Music for Two Keyboards
-1897
1903
Sonatine for piano 20th/21st Century Sonata/Sonatina for Keyboard
-1905
1914 Keyboard Work with Descriptive or Unclassified
Le tombeau de Couperin, for piano
-1917 Title
1898 Valse in D major for piano Waltz for Keyboard
Valses nobles et sentimentales for piano (or
1911 Music for Keyboard
orchestra)
1888 Variations on a theme by Grieg, for piano Variations for Keyboard
Variations on a theme by Schumann, for pi-
1888 Variations for Keyboard
ano

Chamber
Berceuse sur le nom de Gabriel Fauré, for violin &
1922 Violin with Keyboard
piano
Introduction & Allegro for harp, flute, clarinet, & Music for String Quartet with Other Instru-
1905
string quartet ment(s)
Trio for Keyboard and Two String Instru-
1914 Piano Trio in A minor, Op. 70/1
ments
1920
Sonata for violin & cello Duo for Two String Instruments
-1922
1923
Sonata for violin & piano No. 2 Violin with Keyboard
-1927
1897 Sonata No. 1 for violin & piano Violin with Keyboard
1902
String Quartet in F major Quartet for Four String Instruments
-1903