Maurice Ravel

(1875 - 1937)


La Valse

A wonderful performance of La Valse by Leonard Bernstein and the Orchestre National de France. Note the extreme liberties taken by the conductor with regard to the tempos!~

La Valse

For a VERY different approach to La Valse, check out this video! A very understated conducting style at the Proms in London.

La Valse

As was mentioned on this site, Ravel very often wrote his orchestral works for PIANO first, and then orchestrated them. La Valse is no exception, of course. Here is a stunning performance of the work by the amazing piano virtuoso Yuja Wang. Stellar!

La Valse

As noted in the Program Notes, La Valse was originally intended to be a ballet, and here is a danced version of the work, staged by the Royal Ballet in London. It is interesting to watch a staged version of the ballet:)

String Quartet in F

One of my favorite works by Ravel, and one that I played quite often in my violin days. His String Quartet of 1903  owes much to Debussy, but also shows a very strong individual voice, as well as supreme command of the instruments.

Piano Concerto in G Major

Ravel was very much interested in jazz, and many of his works show a definite influence of this new style of music, especially after his concert tour of the United States in 1928. His last completed orchestral work was his Piano Concerto in G Major, finished in 1931. Here we have an exhilarating performance of the last movement with Leonard Bernstein playing AND conducting!

Violin Sonata “Blues”

Speaking of jazz, no work of Ravel’s comes closer to the “jazz” style than his Violin Sonata, especially in the second movement, titled “Blues”. Have a listen! Definitely different than La Valse!

Daphnis et Chloé

Ravel’s largest and longest work is Daphnis et Chloé, composed for the Ballets Russes and first performed in 1912 in Paris. Here is the final dance of the work. CYS has performed Daphnis numerous times in the past 29 years.

Audio Selections

La Valse

Symphonic poem or ballet? Virtuoso work for piano or orchestral showpiece? Sentimental reminiscence of Imperial Vienna or frenetic “Danse Macabre”? La Valse has at one time or another represented all of these things, and more.


Maurice Ravel was born on March 7, 1875 in the small village of Ciboure, located at the southwestern tip of France, a short distance from the Spanish border. This location in the Basque Pyrenees would be quite important to the composer and his entire output of musical creations. His mother was of Basque origin, and his father was a Swiss civil engineer. These two elements were to have a profound effect on the life and music of the composer...

Major Works by Ravel


L’Heure espagnole  (1907-1911)

L’Enfant et les Sortilèges   (1920-1925)


Ma Mère l’Oye (Mother Goose)   (1938)

Daphnis et Chloé   (1912)

La Valse   (1920)

Boléro  (1928)


Rapsodie espagnole  (1908)

Pavane for a Dead Princess  (1910)

Mother Goose Suite  (1910)

Daphnis et Chloé Suites 1 & 2 (911-1912)

Valses nobles et sentimentales (1912)

Alborada del gracioso   (1918)

Le Tombeau de Couperin   (1919)

Tzigane (for violin and orchestra) (1924)

Piano Concerto for the Left Hand  (1930)

Piano Concerto in G  (1931)


String Quartet in F Major  (1903)

Introduction and Allegro for Harp, Flute, Clarinet,
and String Quartet

Piano Trio (1914)

Sonata for Violin and Cello   (1922)

Sonata for Violin and Piano   (1927)


Serenade grotesque  (1893)

Menuet antique (1895)

Pavane for a Dead Princess (1899)

Jeux d’eau   (1901)

Sonatine   (1905)

Miroirs  (1905)

Gaspard de la nuit   (1908)

Ma Mère l’Oye (Mother Goose) for piano
four hands

Valses nobles et sentimentales   (1911)

Le Tombeau de Couperin   (1917)

La Valse   (1920)


Laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello, Penn and Teller, Debussy and Ravel…two names that always seem to go together, right?  And yet Debussy and Ravel were very different composers, with diverging aesthetics and views on music and life.  In this special addition to Conductor’s Corner, I review the two composers and their lives, as well as their outlook on art, successes, works, and personal thoughts on life and art.

CYS and Ravel

CYS has a long history of Ravel performances. Among the works that CYS has performed are the following:

  1. Dapnhis et Chloé

  2. La Valse

  3. Rapsodie espagnole

  4. Tzigane

  5. Introduction and Allegro

  6. Valses Nobles et Sentimentales

  7. Alborada del gracioso

There will be many more Ravel works to come in future seasons. Stay tuned!


Read some famous and not-so-famous quotes by the composer, giving an idea of his views on music and musicians.