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Maurice Ravel

Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)

Composer

French composer who studied with Fauré at the Paris Conservatoire, failing to win the coveted Prix de Rome on several occasions. A gifted pianist he developed the pianistic techinque, writing his Piano Concerto for the Left Hand for a friend who lost an arm in the First World War. He was also a consummate orchestrator and the Mussorgsky Pictures at the Exhibition are best known in Ravel's orchestration. Of his chamber music, the String Quartet is very characteristic of his style. He declined to accept the Légion d'honneur from his country but did accept an honorary Doctorate of Music from Oxford University, admiring greatly the rose damask robes that went with it. He was also very fond of Gauloise cigarettes.

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Further Reading: Ravel

 Recording of the Week, String Quartets by Debussy and Ravel from the Jerusalem Quartet

The Jerusalem Quartet offer masterfully controlled and impressively dynamic accounts of the String Quartets by Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel.

 Recording of the Week, Ravel from François-Xavier Roth and Les Siècles

The conductor and his period-instrument orchestra conjure a world of enchantments in two scores inspired by fairy-tales: Ma mère l’Oye (Mother Goose) and the early Shéhérazade overture.

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