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

Wagner: Die Meistersinger Von Nurnberg / Gatti, Volle, Sacca, Gabler, Zeppenfeld
Release Date: 07/29/2014   Label: Euroarts  
Catalog: 72688   Number of Discs: 2
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Wagner: Der Fliegende Hollander / Selig, Merbeth, Muzek, Thielemann, Bayreuth Festival Orchestra
Release Date: 07/29/2014   Label: Opus Arte  
Catalog: 1140   Number of Discs: 1
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Wagner: Parsifal / Kaufmann, Pape, Gatti, Met Opera [Blu-ray]
Release Date: 04/01/2014   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 372572   Number of Discs: 1
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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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Verdi & Wagner - The Odeonsplatz Concert / Thomas Hampson, Ronaldo Villazon, Yannick Nezet-seguin
Release Date: 07/29/2014   Label: C Major  
Catalog: 716708   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Lohengrin: Act 3 Prelude

Browse 126-140 of 140 Available Recordings
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  • 126.
    100 Fiedler Favorites
    Label: Rca Victor Gold Seal   Catalog: 62698 Release Date: 10/11/1994   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Jacob Gade,  Stevie Wonder,  George Cory,  Jerry Herman  ... 
    Performer:  Leo Litwin,  Earl Wild,  Pasquale Cardillo,  Toni Noichl  ... 
    Conductor:  Arthur Fiedler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops
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  • 127.
    Mad About Wagner
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 445769 Release Date: 09/20/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  James Morris,  Andreas Schmidt,  Cheryl Studer
    Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim,  James Levine,  Giuseppe Sinopoli,  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de Paris,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus  ... 
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  • 128.
    Wagner: Preludes & Overtures / Dorati, London So
    Label: Mercury Living Presence   Catalog: 434342 Release Date: 09/20/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Antal Doráti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 129.
    The Royal Edition - Wagner: Orchestral Excerpts / Bernstein
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 47643 Release Date: 11/02/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
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  • 130.
    Wagner: The Ride Of The Valkyries, Etc. / Rickenbacher
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 9008 Release Date: 08/20/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Karl Anton Rickenbacher
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 131.
    Masters Of The Opera Vol 6 (1843-1850)
    Label: Laserlight   Catalog: 14076 Release Date: 07/20/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Richard Wagner,  Friedrich von Flotow,  Hector Berlioz  ... 
    Performer:  Piero Cappuccilli
    Conductor:  György Lehel,  Herbert Kegel,  Adám Fischer,  Lamberto Gardelli  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Budapest Symphony Orchestra,  Leipzig Radio Orchestra,  Leipzig Radio Chorus  ... 
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  • 132.
    Wagner: Overtüren, Vorspiele / Levine, The Met Orchestra
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 435874 Release Date: 04/13/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 133.
    Heavy Classix
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 64769 Release Date: 03/16/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Emmanuel Chabrier,  Richard Wagner,  Alexander Borodin,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Conductor:  Michel Plasson,  Klaus Tennstedt,  Seiji Ozawa,  Riccardo Muti  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Capitole Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 134.
    The Wagner Collection - Solti, Vienna Philharmonic
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 440107 Release Date: 01/19/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Chorus
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  • 135.
    Second Stage - The Symphonic Sound Stage Vol 2
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 3504 Release Date: 12/14/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Howard Hanson,  Walter Piston,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Carol Rosenberger,  János Starker
    Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz,  James DePreist,  Eleazar de Carvalho
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber Orchestra,  Seattle Symphony Orchestra,  Oregon Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 136.
    Ballet For Band / Fennell, Eastman Wind Ensemble
    Label: Mercury Living Presence   Catalog: 434322 Release Date: 10/13/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Charles Gounod,  Ottorino Respighi,  Arthur Sullivan
    Conductor:  Frederick Fennell
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Eastman Wind Ensemble
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  • 137.
    Wagner: Overtures & Preludes / Adrian Boult
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 62539 Release Date: 09/29/1992   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 138.
    Wagner: Lohengrin (Highlights)
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8550136 Release Date: 06/30/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Michael Halász
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 139.
    Wagner - Greatest Hits
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 60847 Release Date: 09/06/1991   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski,  Arthur Fiedler,  Erich Leinsdorf,  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Norman Luboff Choir,  New Symphony Orchestra,  Boston Pops  ... 
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  • 140.
    Bands And Pipes From The Borders
    Label: Bandleader   Catalog: 5130 Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky,  Traditional,  Richard Wagner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Northumberland Band Of The Royal Regiment Of Fusiliers,  Northumbria Police Band,  King's Division Waterloo Band
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