What Was Maurice Ravel Last Words?

Joseph Maurice Ravel was a French composer, pianist, and conductor who lived from March 7, 1875, until December 28, 1937. 

Frequently associated with the “Impressionist” category, along with his older contemporaries, Claude Debussy, despite their mutual rejection of the label, Ravel was considered the premier French composer in the 1920s and 1930s.

Ravel originated from a musical family and studied at France’s foremost music school, the Paris Conservatoire, where he received an unfavorable reception from the traditional establishment. 

After leaving music school, Ravel became a composer, creating a distinctive sound that blended modernism, baroque, neoclassicism, and even jazz in his later works. 

As seen in his most prominent work, Boléro (1928), where repetition substitutes growth, he enjoyed experimenting with musical structure. 

Ravel, celebrated for his orchestration skills, authored various orchestral arrangements of other composers’ piano music; his 1922 arrangement of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition is especially well-known.

Ravel, a meticulous worker, produced fewer pieces than many of his contemporaries due to his slow pace. 

While he did not compose symphonies or sacred music, many of his works, including piano pieces, chamber music, two piano concertos, music for ballet, two operas, and eight song cycles, have made their way into concert halls worldwide. 

His piano pieces like Gaspard de la nuit (1908) and orchestral pieces like Daphnis et Chloé (1912) are demanding and require expert musicianship for successful execution.

Ravel was one of the first composers to recognize the potential of recording in introducing his work to new audiences. Despite not being as skilled as a pianist or conductor, he began participating in recordings of his compositions in the 1920s and supervised the recordings of others.

What about Maurice Ravel’s Last Years Before His Death?

Ravel commenced the composition of two piano concertos in the early 1930s. Firstly, he completed the Left Hand Piano Concerto in D Major. 

Austrian pianist Paul Wittgenstein commissioned this piece after losing his right arm in World War II. Due to the technical challenges involved, Ravel felt compelled to create the piece: “In a work of this nature, it is crucial to provide a texture no less substantial than that intended for both hands.” 

Since Ravel’s left-hand abilities were insufficient, he performed the piece using both hands. Initially unimpressed, Wittgenstein eventually considered it a masterpiece after careful consideration. 

He premiered it in Vienna in January 1932, and the following year, with Ravel at the helm, performed it in Paris. 

Reviewer Henry Prunières commented, “From the opening phrases, we are transported to a realm Ravel had seldom presented to us before.” 

What Happened to Maurice Ravel Exactly?

Exactly a year later, the Piano Concerto in G major was completed. The soloist Marguerite Long and Ravel’s composition received glowing reviews after the premiere in January 1932. However, Ravel’s conducting was criticized. 

The concerto’s dedicatee, Long, performed it in over twenty European cities under Ravel’s baton. The two had intended to record it together, but during the sessions,

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