French composer who studied with Fauré at the Paris Conservatoire, failing to win the coveted Prix de Rome on several occasions. A gifted pianist he developed the pianistic techinque, writing his Piano Concerto for the Left Hand for a friend who lost an arm in the First World War. He was also a consummate orchestrator and the Mussorgsky Pictures at the Exhibition are best known in Ravel's orchestration. Of his chamber music, the String Quartet is very characteristic of his style. He declined to accept the Légion d'honneur from his country but did accept an honorary Doctorate of Music from Oxford University, admiring greatly the rose damask robes that went with it. He was also very fond of Gauloise cigarettes.
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