Maurice Ravel By Tyson Johnson Music 1010
Maurice Ravel was born in France on March 7, 1875 to a Basque mother and a Swiss Father. His father’s engineering work took the family to Paris whereat age 14 Ravel enrolled as a pianist in the Paris Conservatoire, but he later switched to composition. Maurice Ravel
Life at School • While studying piano Ravel was taught by ÉmileDescombes. • In 1891 he received first prize in a student piano composition. • In 1893 after Ravel started studying composition he composed Sérénadegrotesque. • However, his composition failed to meet Conservatoire requirements and Ravel was expelled for his lack of attention to his academics. ÉmileDescombes
Life at School Continued • Revel re-joined the conservatoire in 1898. • He then studied under André Gedalge and Gabriel Fauré a life long friend of Revel’s who later became the president of the Conservatoire. • While attending school at the Conservatoire Ravel composed several pieces. Some of his more significant pieces included Habanera for two pianos, Menuet Antique, and his first orchestral piece Shéhérazade. Gabriel Fauré André Gedalge
Life at School Continued • In 1900 Ravel quit school after being a student for 14 years. • He was a successful student but he was disappointed at his inability to win the ‘Prix de Rome’ during his years at the Conservatoire. Maurice Ravel
The Paris Conservatoire that Maurice Ravel attended.
After School • In 1900, Maurice became part of a group made up of innovative artists and musicians, who called themselves The Apache Club. • Women weren’t allowed to join the Apache Club, but members of the group met regularly at the home of Ida and CyprienGodebski where they inspired each other. • While with the Apache Club Ravel Composed some masterful compositions including Jeuxd’eauand Pavane pour une infante défunte.
Ravel VS Debussy • Revel first met Claude Debussy in the 1890s. Debussy's striking applications of harmony served as inspiration for Ravel. • They frequently met to play each other's compositions. They attended musical events and performed at the same concerts. They appreciated similar music but they were different in terms of personality and attitude towards music.
Ravel VS Debussy Continued • Their approaches to music were very different. Debussy was spontaneous and eschewed many of the traditional teachings of composition. While Ravel worked hard to ensure the perfection of his work. • In 1905 Ravel and Debussy started to publicly argue over the influence of various works. Claude Debussy
Ravels Spanish Works • Although Ravel had not spent much time in Spain, his mother had grown up in Madrid, and he was influenced by the theater and folk songs she sung to him. • Between 1909 and 1912, Ravel composed, Daphnis et Chloéand Les Ballets Russes which was Maurice Ravel’s largest work and is considered his masterpiece. • To expand his career, Ravel also travelled to England and Scotland in 1909 and 1911 and held concerts there. Marie Delouart Ravel
Life at War • When WWI broke out in 1914 Ravel tried to become a pilot but because of his weakness he became a truck driver instead. • Ravel encountered danger and exciting adventures. He described his adventures in his letters home and signed off as “Driver Ravel”. • Even during his service as a soldier Ravel managed to write some compositions, including Le tombeau de Couperin, one of his more popular works. Maurice Ravel in World War I
Life at war Continued • One day while driving his truck Ravel had an accident. His truck lost a wheel and slid into a ditch. Ravel was hurt and required surgery. • He returned to Paris on sick leave and found that his mother had become very sick. • His mother died in 1917, and Ravel fell into horrible despair. By the end of the war in 1918, he had lost his desire to continue writing music. Truck similar to the one that Ravel drove in WWI
REGAINING His Desire • Ravel’s desire returned when Sergei Diaghilev, a Russian art critic and ballet impresario, asked him for another ballet. • Ravel finished the ballet Wien, and called it a “choreographic poem,” and titled it La Valse. Diaghilev called the result a “masterpiece” but added that, “it’s not a ballet…it’s the portrait of a ballet….” Diaghilev thought it “undanceable” and refused to stage it. • Ravel never spoke to Diaghilev again. Sergei Diaghilev
Later Life • In 1920 Ravel was nominated for the French Légiond’honneuraward but he rejected it because he feared that accepting any honor from France would place him under obligation. • In 1921 Ravel purchased a house in a small French town called Montfort l’Amaury just west of Paris. He named the house, Belvédere and he lived there for the rest of his life. Maurice Ravel’s home just west of Paris
Later Life Continued • In 1922 Ravel completed his Sonata for Violin and Cello and his famous orchestral arrangement of Mussorgsky’s Pictures. • By 1925, Ravel finished his opera L'enfantet les sortileges.The opera had significant elements of jazz because of the American influences after war. Around the same time Ravel also completed Chansons madécasses. • In 1927 Ravel had his first string quartet recorded and he continued to make recordings every year until his death. • Also in 1927 Ravel completed his sonata for the violin and piano.
Later Life Continued • In 1928 Ravel signed a four month concert tour in North America. • In New York City, Ravel received a standing ovation and was very impressed with the warmth and hospitality that the Americans showed him. • While in North America Ravel travelled around twenty five cities and towns by train. He loved the landscape. • Ravel spent time in New Orleans and Harlem listening to jazz and ragtime. He liked the jazz and he later included some elements of it in his compositions. • The success of the tour increased Ravel’s popularity.
Ravels Last Years • After returning to France Ravel wrote his most famous orchestral work Bolero. It premiered in 1928 and the first recording was made in 1930. • In 1932 Ravel suffered a blow to the head and experienced symptoms of asphyxia. • In 1933 Ravel began to work on a film, Adventures of Don Quixote, but because of his forgetfulness he couldn’t write down any of the music.
Personal Life • Ravel never had any intimate relationships and was never married. He once said “The only love affair I have ever had was with music”. • According to some sources, Revel asked Hélène Jourdan-Mourhange to marry him but she refused him saying that she thought of him only as a friend and nothing more. Hélène Jourdan-Mourhange
Death • In 1937 Ravel underwent a brain surgery. After, he appeared to be recovering but he lapsed into a coma and died nine days later on December 28th 1937. • He was buried alongside his parents.
Bibliography • Classical Connect. http://www.classicalconnect.com/composer/Maurice_Ravel. 2008. 8 Febuary 2014. • Hecht, Roger. http://www.classical.net/~music/comp.lst/ravel.php. November 2013. 8 Febuary 2014. • Networks, A+E. http://www.biography.com/people/maurice-ravel-9452457. 2014. 8 Febuary 2014. • Society for Recognition of Famous People. http://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/maurice-ravel-312.php. 2011. 8 Febuary2014.