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Richard Wagner

Biography

Born: May 22, 1813; Germany   Died: Feb 13, 1883; Italy   Period: Romantic
Richard Wagner was one of the most revolutionary figures in the history of music, a composer who made pivotal contributions to the development of harmony and musical drama that reverberate even today. Indeed, though Wagner occasionally produced successful music written on a relatively modest scale, opera -- the bigger, the better -- was clearly his milieu, and his aesthetic is perhaps the most grandiose that Western music has ever known. Early in Read more his career, Wagner learned both the elements and the practical, political realities of his craft by writing a handful of operas which were unenthusiastically, even angrily, received. Beginning with Rienzi (1838-40) and The Flying Dutchman (1841), however, he enjoyed a string of successes that propelled him to immortality and changed the face of music. His monumental Ring cycle of four operas -- Das Rheingold (1853-54), Die Walküre (1854-56), Siegfried (1856-71) and Götterdämmerung (1869-74) -- remains the most ambitious and influential contribution by any composer to the opera literature. Tristan and Isolde (1857-59) is perhaps the most representative example of Wagner's musical style, which is characterized by a high degree of chromaticism, a restless, searching tonal instability, lush harmonies, and the association of specific musical elements (known as leitmotifs, the flexible manipulation of which is one of the glories of Wagner's music) with certain characters and plot points. Wagner wrote text as well as music for all his operas, which he preferred to call "music dramas."
Wagner's life matched his music for sheer drama. Born in Leipzig on May 22, 1813, he began in the early 1830s to write prolifically on music and the arts in general; over his whole career, his music would to some degree serve to demonstrate his aesthetic theories. He often worked as a conductor in his early years; a conducting engagement took him to Riga, Latvia, in 1837, but he fled the country in the middle of the night two years later to elude creditors. Wagner as a young man had some sympathy with the revolutionary movements of the middle nineteenth century (and even the Ring cycle contains a distinct anti-materialist and vaguely socialist drift); in the Dresden uprisings of 1849 he apparently took up arms, and he had to leave Germany when the police restored order. Settling in Zurich, Switzerland, he wrote little for some years but evolved the intellectual framework for his towering mature masterpieces. Wagner returned to Germany in 1864 under the protection and patronage of King Ludwig II of Bavaria; it was in Bayreuth, near Munich, that he undertook the construction of an opera house (completed in 1876) built to his personal specifications and suited to the massive fusion of music, staging, text, and scene design that his later operas entailed. Bayreuth became something of a shrine for the fanatical Wagnerites who carried the torch after his death; it remains the goal of many a pilgrimage today. His attitude toward Jews was deeply ambivalent (he believed, mistakenly, that his stepfather was Jewish), but some of his writings contain anti-Semitic elements that have aroused considerable controversy among opera lovers, especially in view of Adolf Hitler's apparent predilection for the composer's music. Read less
Richard Wagner - Great Recordings
Release Date: 02/26/2013   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 543504   Number of Discs: 40
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Wagner: Der Ring Des Nibelungen / Norman, Jerusalem, Salminen, Schreier, Kollo, Adam, Janowski
Release Date: 02/12/2013   Label: Rca  
Catalog: 546223   Number of Discs: 14
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Wagner at The Met
Release Date: 04/09/2013   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 542717   Number of Discs: 25
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Toscanini Conducts Wagner
Release Date: 04/30/2013   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 541193   Number of Discs: 5
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Wagner: Parsifal / Kaufmann, Pape, Gatti, Met
Release Date: 04/01/2014   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 372558   Number of Discs: 2
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Work: Lohengrin: Act 3 Prelude

Browse 1-25 of 127 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Leonard Bernstein Edition - Concertos & Orchestral Works
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 301330 Release Date: 10/27/2014   Number of Discs: 80
    Composer:  Samuel Barber,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Béla Bartók  ... 
    Performer:  Isaac Stern,  Leonard Bernstein,  Harold Gomberg,  William Heim  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Seiji Ozawa,  Maurice Peress
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  New York Philharmonic members,  Columbia Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 2.
    Verdi & Wagner - The Odeonsplatz Concert / Thomas Hampson, Ronaldo Villazon, Yannick Nezet-seguin
    Label: C Major   Catalog: 716708 Release Date: 07/29/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Jules Massenet,  Richard Wagner,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Thomas Hampson,  Rolando Villazón
    Conductor:  Yannick Nézet-Séguin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Bavarian Radio Chorus
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  • 3.
    RCA Living Stereo Collection Vol 2
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 300350 Release Date: 05/13/2014   Number of Discs: 60
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Richard Strauss,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Artur Rubinstein,  Byron Janis,  Gary Graffman,  Vladimir Horowitz  ... 
    Conductor:  Josef Krips,  Fritz Reiner,  Pierre Monteux,  Charles Munch  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Symphony of the Air,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Boston Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $125.98
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  • 4.
    Karajan: Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, R. Strauss, Opera Arias - 1946-1949
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 633618 Release Date: 04/08/2014   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Leopold Wlach,  Julius Patzak,  Elisabeth Schwarzkopf,  Elisabeth Höngen  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Friends of Music Chorus
    CD: $64.49
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  • 5.
    Bernard Haitink - The Philips Years [20-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001903502 Release Date: 09/24/2013   Number of Discs: 20
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Henryk Szeryng,  Herman Krebbers,  Menahem Pressler,  Isidore Cohen  ... 
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Beaux Arts Trio  ... 
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  • 6.
    Wagner: Overtures and Preludes / Jarvi, Royal Scottish National Orchestra
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 5126 Release Date: 09/24/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Neeme Järvi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
    CD: $19.99
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  • 7.
    Wagner, Strauss, Rimsky-korsakov / Leinsdorf,  Concert Arts Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 121116 Release Date: 07/16/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Richard Strauss,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
    Conductor:  Erich Leinsdorf
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concert Arts Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 8.
    Overtures & Orchestral
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 2014 Release Date: 07/12/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Yuri Simonov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
    CD: $21.99
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  • 9.
    German Brass Celebrating Wagner
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 300533 Release Date: 07/09/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  German Brass
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  • 10.
    Verdi, Wagner: Overtures And Preludes
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 121258 Release Date: 07/01/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gioachino Rossini,  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Antal Doráti
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  • 11.
    Great Wagner Conductors [4-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001826202 Release Date: 04/30/2013   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch,  Wilhelm Furtwängler,  Eugen Jochum,  Victor De Sabata  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 12.
    Igor Markevitch Conducts Richard Wagner And Claude Debussy
    Label: Idi   Catalog: 6665 Release Date: 04/30/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Claude Debussy
    Conductor:  Igor Markevitch
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  • 13.
    Wagner: Heavy Classix - The Ultimate Collection
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001819702 Release Date: 04/02/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Liselotte Rebmann,  Helga Jenckel,  Cvetka Ahlin,  Danica Mastilovic  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Karl Böhm,  Eugen Jochum,  Rafael Kubelik  ... 
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  • 14.
    Wagner: Operatic Highlights; Strauss: Tone Poems / Klemperer
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 484682 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Christa Ludwig
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 15.
    EMI Eminence - The Original Jacket Collection [50-CD Set]
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 393872 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Richard Strauss,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  William Byrd  ... 
    Performer:  David Nolan,  Jonathan Small,  George Malcolm,  William Bennett  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Anton Rickenbacher,  Vernon Handley,  George Guest,  George Malcolm  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra,  Cambridge St. John's College Choir  ... 
    On sale! $201.98
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  • 16.
    New Year's Concert 2013 / Franz Welser-most, Vienna Philharmonic [blu-ray]
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 544222 Release Date: 02/05/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Josef Strauss,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Franz von Suppé,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Conductor:  Franz Welser-Möst
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 17.
    New Year's Concert 2013 / Franz Welser-Most, Vienna Philharmonic [DVD]
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 544073 Release Date: 02/05/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Josef Strauss,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Franz von Suppé,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Conductor:  Franz Welser-Möst
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 18.
    New Year's Concert 2013 / Franz Welser-Most, Vienna Philharmonic
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 2103618 Release Date: 01/04/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Josef Strauss,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Franz von Suppé,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Conductor:  Franz Welser-Möst
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 19.
    The Essential Wagner
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 973399 Release Date: 11/06/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Siegfried Jerusalem,  Peter Haage,  Nicolai Gedda,  Reiner Goldberg  ... 
    Conductor:  Robert Heger,  Sir Adrian Boult,  Klaus Tennstedt,  Bernard Haitink  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian State Opera Orchestra,  Bavarian State Opera Chorus,  New Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 20.
    Wagner: Orchestral Excerpts, Vol. 2 / Gerard Schwarz, Seattle Symphony
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8572768 Release Date: 08/28/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Alessandra Marc
    Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Seattle Symphony Orchestra
    On sale! $9.99
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  • 21.
    From Bach To Wagner / Boult, London Philharmonic Orchestra
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 35657 Release Date: 08/14/2012   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Janet Baker
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  John Alldis Choir
    Recommendation
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    CD: $45.99
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  • 22.
    Arturo Toscanini - The Complete RCA Collection
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 791631 Release Date: 07/10/2012   Number of Discs: 85
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Joseph Haydn  ... 
    Performer:  Eileen Farrell,  Nan Merriman,  Jan Peerce,  Norman Scott  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra,  Robert Shaw Chorale,  NBC Symphony Chorus  ... 
    On sale! $149.98
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  • 23.
    Best Of Wagner
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 300345 Release Date: 07/10/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Fritz Wunderlich,  Els Bolkestein,  Hanne-Lore Kuhse,  Martin Ritzmann  ... 
    Conductor:  Franz Konwitschny,  Heinz Fricke,  Otmar Suitner,  Hiroshi Wakasugi  ... 
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  • 24.
    Essential Overtures
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 27866 Release Date: 06/05/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  George Frideric Handel,  Christoph W. Gluck,  Mikhail Glinka  ... 
    Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini,  Gianluigi Gelmetti,  Sir David Willcocks,  Riccardo Muti  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 25.
    50 Best Overtures & Preludes
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 27368 Release Date: 05/22/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Vincenzo Bellini  ... 
    Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini,  Gianluigi Gelmetti,  Lamberto Gardelli,  Sir Colin Davis  ... 
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