Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) was the leading French composer of his generation. Although his output is small, he made significant contributions to ballet (Daphnis et Chloé), the piano concerto (Piano Concerto in G and Concerto for the Left Hand), music for solo piano (Miroirs and Gaspard de la nuit), solo violin (Tzigane) and chamber music (String Quartet and Piano Trio). He had a special gift for orchestration, as revealed in Bolero and many works which were originally written for piano and later orchestrated (such as Pavane pour une infante défunte and Le tombeau de Couperin). A man of slight build and small stature, Ravel was rejected from military service in World War I but was allowed to enlist as an army driver and carried out duties near Verdun. He was offered the Légion d’Honneur in 1920 but refused.

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