Maurice Joseph Ravel|
(March 7, 1875 - December 28, 1937) France
Born at Ciboure, French Pyrenees, he studied at the Conservatoire in Paris from 1889 to 1895. His work is noted for its sensuousness, unresolved dissonances, and "tone colour", as in the piano piece Pavane pour une enfante défunte (1899), and Jeux d'eau (1901).
His best known piece is the ballet Boléro (1928) a higly homoerotic work, conceived for only male dancers. In fact the music is a crescendo representing a coupling and culminating with the explosion of an orgasm.
His work include Le Rouet (1894, ballet), Rhapsodie éspagnole (1907), L' heure éspagnole (1911, opera), Daphnis et Chloé (1912, ballet for Diaghilev), and L' enfant et les sortilèges (1925, opera). He also orchestrated Pictures at an Exhibition for Modest Mussorgsky.
His piano music - such as Sonatine (1905), Miroirs (1905), Gaspard de la nuit (1908), and Le Tombeau de Couperin (1917) - were stunningly original and an inspiration to other composers. Ravel included elements of Jazz in his Piano Concerto in G (1930-31), and composed Piano Concerto for the Left Hand around the same time.
He is thought to have conducted simultaneous affairs with pianist Ricardo Vines and Spanish composer Manuel de Falla. Ravel served in the French army during World War I. After the war he retired to his villa at Montfort-l'Amaury and devoted himself to music.