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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 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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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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Work: Ride of the Valkyries

Browse 1-25 of 194 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.
    Phase 4 Stereo - Stereo Concert Series
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002188302 Release Date: 10/27/2014   Number of Discs: 41
    Composer:  John Philip Sousa,  Charles A. Zimmerman,  Francis S. Van Boskerck,  George Norton  ... 
    Performer:  Stanley Black,  David Parkhouse,  Alan Loveday,  Robert Merrill  ... 
    Conductor:  Rodney Bashford,  Stanley Black,  Bernard Herrmann,  Edward Downes  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Grenadier Guards Band,  London Festival Orchestra,  London Festival Recording Ensemble  ... 
    On sale! $199.98
    CD: $139.99
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  • 3.
    Classic Karajan: The Essential Collection
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002092702 Release Date: 07/15/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Gustav Mahler,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Anne-Sophie Mutter,  José Carreras,  Ingrid Steger,  Lilo Brockhaus  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 4.
    Wagner: Orchestral Music
    Label: Praga   Catalog: 350107 Release Date: 06/10/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler
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  • 5.
    Wagner At The Organ: The Transcriptions Of Edwin Lemare
    Label: Regent   Catalog: 394 Release Date: 12/10/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Jonathan Vaughn
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  • 6.
    Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen Symphonic Excerpts / Stemme, Jordan
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 34142 Release Date: 12/03/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Nina Stemme
    Conductor:  Philippe Jordan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris National Opera Orchestra
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  • 7.
    Label: Gala   Catalog: 100668 Release Date: 11/01/2013   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Louise Trenton,  Arthur Fear,  Nellie Walker,  Elsie Suddaby  ... 
    Conductor:  Albert Coates,  Leo Blech,  Lawrence Collingwood,  Sir John Barbirolli  ... 
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  • 8.
    Berlin Philharmonic - Centenary Edition
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001923302 Release Date: 10/22/2013   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Hector Berlioz,  Richard Wagner,  Richard Strauss  ... 
    Performer:  Géza Anda,  Walter Berry,  Gundula Janowitz,  Hilde Rössl-Majdan  ... 
    Conductor:  Arthur Nikisch,  Alfred Hertz,  Richard Strauss,  Bruno Walter  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein,  Swedish Radio Chorus  ... 
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  • 9.
    Dedicated To The 200th Anniversary Of The Birth Of Richard Wagner
    Label: Melodiya   Catalog: 1002095 Release Date: 09/10/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Andrey Chistiakov,  Gennadi Rozhdestvensky,  Yevgeny Svetlanov,  Yevgeny Mravinsky  ... 
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  • 10.
    My Wagner Album / Christian Thielemann
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001884102 Release Date: 08/27/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Paul Schöffler,  Brigitte Fassbaender,  Thomas Stewart,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau  ... 
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler,  Christian Thielemann,  Hans Knappertsbusch,  Carlos Kleiber  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus  ... 
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  • 11.
    Sommernachtskonzert 2013 / Lorin Maazel, Wiener Philharmoniker
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 371205 Release Date: 07/30/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Richard Wagner,  Johann Strauss Jr.
    Performer:  Michael Schade
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 12.
    Sommernachtskonzert 2013 / Lorin Maazel, Wiener Philharmoniker [DVD]
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 371213 Release Date: 07/30/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Richard Wagner,  Johann Strauss Jr.
    Performer:  Michael Schade
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 13.
    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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  • 14.
    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
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  • 15.
    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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  • 16.
    Music Of Steel - Heroic Themes From The Movies
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001871502 Release Date: 07/09/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John T. Williams,  Gioachino Rossini,  Richard Strauss,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Birgit Nilsson,  Berit Lindholm,  Helen Watts,  Brigitte [Mezzo-Soprano Vocal] Fassbaender  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly,  Sir G. Solti,  Stanley Black,  Antal Doráti  ... 
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  • 17.
    Best Of Pops / Arthur Fiedler, Boston Pops Orchestra
    Label: Dynamic   Catalog: 3580 Release Date: 07/02/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Jacob Gade,  Leroy Anderson,  Victor Young,  Meredith Willson  ... 
    Conductor:  Arthur Fiedler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops
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  • 18.
    My First Orchestra Album
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8578253 Release Date: 06/25/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Larionoff
    Conductor:  Marin Alsop,  Gerard Schwarz,  Nicholas Ward,  Anthony Bramall  ... 
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  • 19.
    Wagner: Arrangements For Piano / Severin Von Eckardstein
    Label: Md&g (Dabringhaus & Grimm)   Catalog: 9041805 Release Date: 05/21/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Moritz Moszkowski,  Richard Wagner,  Sidney Corbett,  Ferruccio Busoni
    Performer:  Severin von Eckardstein
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  • 20.
    100 Greatest Film Themes, Take 3
    Label: Silva Screen   Catalog: 1398 Release Date: 05/07/2013   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Marvin Hatley,  Charles Chaplin,  Frank Churchill,  Paul Dukas  ... 
    Performer:  Keith Ferreira,  David Shannon,  Helen Hobson,  Emma Kershaw  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Music Works,  The Wire-Haired Terriers Athletic Social Club,  N.Y. Jazz Orchestra
    CD: $59.49
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  • 21.
    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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  • 22.
    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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  • 23.
    Richard Wagner: Der Ring Des Nibelungen - Great Scenes
    Label: Opus Arte   Catalog: 9011 Release Date: 04/30/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Andrew Shore,  Albert Dohmen,  Ralf Lukas,  Endrik Wottrich  ... 
    Conductor:  Christian Thielemann
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra
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  • 24.
    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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  • 25.
    100 Best Organ Classics
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 332452 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Jeremiah Clarke,  Dietrich Buxtehude,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Nicolas Kynaston,  Nicholas Kynaston,  Noel Rawsthorne,  Lionel Rogg  ... 
    Conductor:  Michel Plasson,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Georges Prêtre
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Capitole Orchestra,  Menuhin Festival Orchestra,  Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservato  ... 
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