Maurice Ravel

Maurice Ravel (mōrēs´ rävĕl´), 1875–1937, French composer, b. in the Pyrenees. He entered the Paris Conservatory in 1889, where he was later a student of Fauré. Ravel became a leading exponent of impressionism. Along with Debussy, with whom he had an affinity of style, he led French music away from Wagnerian romanticism. He composed highly original, fluid music within the outlines of classical forms. Ravel excelled at piano composition and orchestration, often scoring his own piano pieces and works by other composers. Among his piano compositions are Pavane pour une infante défunte (1899), Jeux d'eau (1901), Gaspard de la nuit (1908), Valses nobles et sentimentales (1911), Le Tombeau de Couperin (1917), and Concerto in D Major, for left hand (1931). His orchestral works include Rhapsodie Espagnole (1908) and Bolero (1928); he is also known for his orchestration of Modest Moussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition (1922). Other works are the song cycle Shéhérazade (1903), two operas, the chamber piece Tzigane, and ballets such as Daphnis et Chloé (1912), Ma Mère l'Oye (1912), and La Valse (1920).

See A. Orenstein, ed., A Ravel Reader: Correspondence, Articles, Interviews (2003); biographies by M. Goss (1940), V. I. Seroff (1953), H. H. Stuckenschmidt (tr. 1968), A. Orenstein (1975), B. Ivry (2000), and R. Nichols (2011); study by R. Nichols (1977).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Maurice Ravel: Selected full-text books and articles

Maurice Ravel By Victor I. Seroff Henry Holt, 1953
Ravel the Decadent: Memory, Sublimation, and Desire By Michael J. Puri Oxford University Press, 2011
Maurice Ravel By Roland Manuel Dennis Dobson, 1947
Images and Ideas in Modern French Piano Music: The Extra-Musical Subtext in Piano Works by Ravel, Debussy, and Messiaen By Siglind Bruhn Pendragon Press, 1997
Librarian’s tip: Includes discussion of Ravel's music in multiple chapters
Listening to Music Creatively By Edwin J. Stringham Prentice-Hall, 1946
Librarian’s tip: "Maurice Ravel: 'Mother Goose Ballet Suite'" begins on p. 128
French Cultural Politics & Music: From the Dreyfus Affair to the First World War By Jane F. Fulcher Oxford University Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: "The Dilemma of the Independents: Magnard, Ravel, Ropartz, and Roussel" begins on p. 208
A History of Modern Music By Paul Collaer; Sally Abeles World, 1961
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 4 "Music in France after Debussy"
Musical Nationalism: American Composers' Search for Identity By Alan Howard Levy Greenwood Press, 1983
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "Paris and Neoclassicism"
The Modern Age, 1890-1960 By Martin Cooper Oxford University Press, 1974
Librarian’s tip: "Debussy and Ravel" begins on p. 101
Musical Trends in the 20th Century By Norman Demuth Rockliff Publishing, 1975
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Four "Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)"
Composers on Composers By John L. Holmes Greenwood Press, 1990
Librarian’s tip: "Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)" begins on p. 116
Conductors on Composers By John L. Holmes Greenwood Press, 1993
Librarian’s tip: "Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)" begins on p. 141
French Music: From the Death of Berlioz to the Death of Faure By Martin Cooper Oxford University Press, 1951
Librarian’s tip: Chap. VI "Conservatoire Composers, 1900-1914"
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