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Maurice ravel

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Joseph Maurice Ravel[n 1] (7 March 1875 – 28 December 1937) was a French composer, pianist and conductor. He is often associated with impressionism along with his elder contemporary Claude Debussy, although both composers rejected the term. In the 1920s and 1930s Ravel was internationally regarded as France's greatest living composer.

Born to a music-loving family, Ravel attended France's premier music college, the Paris Conservatoire; he was not well regarded by its conservative establishment, whose biased treatment of him caused a scandal. After leaving the conservatoire, Ravel found his own way as a composer, developing a style of great clarity and incorporating elements of modernism, baroque, neoclassicism and, in his later works, jazz. He liked to experiment with musical form, as in his best-known work, Boléro (1928), in which repetition takes the place of development. Renowned for his abilities in orchestration, Ravel made some orchestral arrangements of other composers' piano music, of which his 1922 version of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition is the best known.

A slow and painstaking worker, Ravel composed fewer pieces than many of his contemporaries. Among his works to enter the repertoire are pieces for piano, chamber music, two piano concertos, ballet music, two operas and eight song cycles; he wrote no symphonies or church music. Many of his works exist in two versions: first, a piano score and later an orchestration. Some of his piano music, such as Gaspard de la nuit (1908), is exceptionally difficult to play, and his complex orchestral works such as Daphnis et Chloé (1912) require skilful balance in performance.

Ravel was among the first composers to recognise the potential of recording to bring their music to a wider public. From the 1920s, despite limited technique as a pianist or conductor, he took part in recordings of several of his works; others were made under his supervision.

Ravel was born in the Basque town of Ciboure, France, near Biarritz, 18 kilometres (11 mi) from the Spanish border. His father, Pierre-Joseph Ravel, was an educated and successful engineer, inventor and manufacturer, born in Versoix near the Franco-Swiss border.[4][n 2] His mother, Marie, née Delouart, was Basque but had grown up in Madrid. In 19th-century terms, Joseph had married beneath his status – Marie was illegitimate and barely literate – but the marriage was a happy one.[7] Some of Joseph's inventions were successful, including an early internal combustion engine and a notorious circus machine, the "Whirlwind of Death", an automotive loop-the-loop that was a major attraction until a fatal accident at Barnum and Bailey's Circus in 1903.[8]

Both Ravel's parents were Roman Catholics; Marie was also something of a free-thinker, a trait inherited by her elder son.[9] He was baptised in the Ciboure parish church six days after he was born. The family moved to Paris three months later, and there a younger son, Édouard, was born. (He was close to his father, whom he eventually followed into the engineering profession.)[10] Maurice was particularly devoted to their mother; her Basque-Spanish heritage was a strong influence on his life and music. Among his earliest memories were folk songs she sang to him.[10] The household was not rich, but the family was comfortable, and the two boys had happy childhoods.[11]

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