March 7th 1875: Ravel born

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Maurice Ravel (1875 – 1937)

 

On this day in 1875 the French composer Maurice Ravel was born in Ciboure, France, not far from the Spanish border. He was born into a Catholic household to a Swiss father and Basque mother. Ravel’s father imparted onto his son his love of music, which shaped the young Maurice’s future. His musical talents led him to the Paris Conservatoire, and whilst he was not academically successful there he was acknowledged as a gifted musician.

 

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Ravel’s grave in Paris

 

Ravel went on to enjoy an illustrious career as a composer, especially known for his piano pieces like ‘Gaspard de la nuit’ and ‘Jeux d’eau’. However Ravel’s most famous work is probably the orchestral piece ‘Boléro’ which premiered in 1928. In the spirit of the recent Winter Olympics in Sochi, here is a link to Torvill and Dean’s gold medal winning ice dancing performance at the 1984 Sarajevo Winter Olympic Games. This performance is how I first heard of Ravel, and I think it may be the same for many others. ‘Boléro’ is often considered synonymous with Torvill and Dean, but we must remember the man behind the music: Maurice Ravel. 

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