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 / Sawallisch
Release Date: 02/26/2008   Label: Emi Classics  
Catalog: 09195   Number of Discs: 4
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Wagner: Die Meistersinger / Rafael Kubelik
Release Date: 12/30/2003   Label: Arts Music  
Catalog: 43020   Number of Discs: 4
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Wagner: Die Meistersinger / Jurowski, Finley , Selinger, Miles, Gabler, Jentzsch
Release Date: 10/30/2012   Label: Opus Arte  
Catalog: 1085   Number of Discs: 2
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Wagner: Die Meistersinger / Jurowski, Finley , Selinger, Miles, Gabler, Jentzsch [blu-ray]
Release Date: 10/30/2012   Label: Opus Arte  
Catalog: 7108   Number of Discs: 1
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Wagner: Tristan und Isolde / Böhm, Nilsson, Windgassen
Release Date: 11/11/1997   Label: Dg The Originals  
Catalog: 449772   Number of Discs: 3
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Work: Lohengrin: Act 3 Prelude

Browse 26-50 of 127 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Wagner: Overtures And Preludes From The Operas
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 02300 Release Date: 04/24/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Mariss Jansons
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  • 27.
    The Road Not Taken / Washington Trombone Ensemble
    Label: Summit Records   Catalog: 589 Release Date: 04/10/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Norman Bolter,  Johannes Brahms,  James M. Stephenson,  Rob Deemer  ... 
    Performer:  Sam Woodhead,  Matthew Guilford,  Jonathan J. Deutsch
    Conductor:  Chris Branagan,  Jon Kalbfleisch,  John Marcellus
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Washington Trombone Ensemble
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  • 28.
    Wagner: Orchestral Highlights / Klemperer
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 6782992 Release Date: 03/26/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 29.
    The Very Best Of Herbert Von Karajan
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 6789922 Release Date: 03/13/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Antonín Dvorák,  Jean Sibelius,  Richard Strauss  ... 
    Performer:  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Alexis Weissenberg,  Gidon Kremer,  James Galway  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
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  • 30.
    Helden / Klaus Florian Vogt
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 98864 Release Date: 01/24/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Richard Wagner,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Albert Lortzing  ... 
    Performer:  Klaus Florian Vogt,  Manuela Uhl
    Conductor:  Peter Schneider
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra
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  • 31.
    Label: Archipel   Catalog: ARPCD0467 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Charles Gounod
    Conductor:  André Cluytens
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  • 32.
    PentaTone - The First 10 Years
    Label: Pentatone   Catalog: 5186500 Release Date: 09/27/2011   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák,  Aram Khachaturian,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Alexander Glazunov  ... 
    Performer:  Julia Fischer,  Sa Chen,  Arabella Steinbacher,  Bram Beekman  ... 
    Conductor:  Yakov Kreizberg,  Simon Murphy,  Lawrence Foster,  Marek Janowski  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra,  Russian National Orchestra,  Chamber Soloists of The New Dutch Academy  ... 
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  • 33.
    Mravinsky Conducts The Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 698905 Release Date: 07/26/2011   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Mikhail Glinka,  Alexander Glazunov,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Conductor:  Yevgeny Mravinsky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 34.
    Wagner: Favourite Overtures & Preludes / Simonov, Philharmonia Orchestra
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 1165 Release Date: 07/12/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Yuri Simonov
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  • 35.
    Klaus Tennstedt - The Great EMI Recordings
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 94433 Release Date: 06/07/2011   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Anton Bruckner,  Richard Strauss  ... 
    Performer:  Jessye Norman,  Jorma Hynninen
    Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  BBC Symphony Chorus,  London Philharmonic Choir  ... 
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  • 36.
    50 Best Berliner Philharmoniker
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 48465 Release Date: 04/19/2011   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Carl Orff,  Claude Debussy,  Hector Berlioz,  Antonín Dvorák  ... 
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Leif Ove Andsnes,  Anne-Sophie Mutter,  Mstislav Rostropovich  ... 
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle,  Herbert von Karajan,  Rudolf Kempe,  Mariss Jansons  ... 
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  • 37.
    The Wagner Opera Experience
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 83449 Release Date: 02/22/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Jane Eaglen,  Rolando Villazón,  Felicity Palmer,  Peter Seiffert  ... 
    Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim
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  • 38.
    Wagner: Lohengrin Highlights / Solti, Domingo, Norman, Fischer-Dieskau
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 425530 Release Date: 12/17/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Eva Randová,  Placido [Tenor Vocals] Domingo,  Hans Sotin,  Siegmund Nimsgern  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir G. Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 39.
    Wagner: Orchestral Works, Vol. 1 / Edo De Waart, Radio Filharmonisch Orkest Holland
    Label: Exton   Catalog: 153 Release Date: 11/09/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Edo De Waart
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Holland Radio Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 40.
    Wagner: Orchestral Excerpts / Klemperer, Philharmonia Orchestra
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 31827 Release Date: 10/12/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 41.
    Icon - Rudolf Kempe
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 29557 Release Date: 09/14/2010   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov  ... 
    Performer:  Paul Tortelier,  Sylvia Geszty,  Teresa Zylis-Gara,  Gundula Janowitz  ... 
    Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 42.
    Wagner: Wesendonck Lieder, Overtures / Brueggergosman, Welser-Most, Cleveland
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001450302 Release Date: 07/27/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Measha Brueggergosman
    Conductor:  Franz Welser-Möst
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
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  • 43.
    Wagner - Arr. Henk De Vlieger: Parsifal - An Orchestral Quest / Jarvi, Royal Scottish National Orchestra
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 5077 Release Date: 05/25/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Neeme Järvi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
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  • 44.
    Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night's Dream; Wagner / Ormandy, Philadelphia
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 38285 Release Date: 04/22/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Judith Blegen,  Frederica Von Stade
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra,  Mendelssohn Club Chorus Philadelphia
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  • 45.
    Wagner: Famous Opera Choruses / Solti, Vienna Philharmonic
    Label: London/Decca Opera Gala Series   Catalog: 421865 Release Date: 04/08/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Werner Krenn,  Isola Jones,  Janis Martin,  Helga Dernesch  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Boys' Choir,  Gumpoldskirchner Spatzen  ... 
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  • 46.
    Open Air - A Night With The Berliner Philharmoniker
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2051968 Release Date: 02/23/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Michael Ziehrer,  Henri Wieniawski,  Richard Wagner,  Yuzo Toyama  ... 
    Performer:  Vadim Repin
    Conductor:  Mariss Jansons
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 47.
    Label: Caprice Records   Catalog: 22055 Release Date: 02/23/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Elisabeth Söderström,  Kerstin Lofgren,  Ingeborg Kjellgren,  Kerstin [Mezzo-Soprano Vocals] Meyer  ... 
    Conductor:  Sixten Ehrling,  Nils Grevillius
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  • 48.
    State Of The Art - The Story Of Deutsche Grammophon
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001341102 Release Date: 12/15/2009   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Frédéric Chopin,  Gabriel Fauré,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Martha Argerich,  Rafal Blechacz,  Kathleen Battle,  Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Carlo Maria Giulini,  Leonard Bernstein,  Pierre Boulez  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gabrieli Consort,  Andalucian Dogs
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  • 49.
    Favorite Overtures Vol 1 / United States Air Force Band
    Label: Mark Records   Catalog: 5637567789 Release Date: 11/24/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hector Berlioz,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Leonard Bernstein,  Ambroise Thomas  ... 
    Conductor:  Col. Arnald Gabriel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  United States Air Force Band
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  • 50.
    Waldbuhne Concert - A Romantic Opera Night
    Label: Kultur Video   Catalog: 4533 Release Date: 11/17/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Richard Strauss,  Paul Lincke
    Performer:  Ben Heppner
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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