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: The Ring Without Words / Maazel, Berlin Philharmonic
Release Date: 09/25/2012   Label: Euroarts  
Catalog: 2020228   Number of Discs: 1
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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: Parsifal / Nagano, Ventris, Meier, Salminen, Hampson
Release Date: 05/25/2010   Label: Opus Arte  
Catalog: 7063   Number of Discs: 2
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Wagner: Complete Piano Works / Dario Bonuccelli
Release Date: 04/30/2013   Label: Dynamic  
Catalog: 761   Number of Discs: 2
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Wagner, Verdi: Paraphrases for Violin & Piano / Manara, Sollini
Release Date: 04/29/2014   Label: Concerto  
Catalog: 2092   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Götterdämmerung: Dawn and Siegfried's Rhine Journey

Browse 1-25 of 79 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Wagner: Orchestral Highlights / Thielemann, Orchestra of the German Opera, Berlin
    Label: Orfeo   Catalog: 8791321 Release Date: 03/11/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Christian Thielemann
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin
    CD: $39.99
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  • 2.
    Glenn Gould Remastered: The Complete Columbia Album Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 503222 Release Date: 10/09/2015   Number of Discs: 81
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Glenn Gould,  Elizabeth Benson-Guy,  Donald Gramm,  Charles Bressler  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Walter Susskind,  Vladimir Golschmann,  Igor Stravinsky  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  CBC Symphony Orchestra,  Columbia Symphony Orchestra,  Symphonia String Quartet  ... 
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  • 3.
    Mercury Living Presence - The Collector's Edition Vol 3
    Label: Mercury Living Presence   Catalog: 002275902 Release Date: 03/23/2015   Number of Discs: 53
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Franz Lehár,  Emil Waldteufel,  Johann Strauss Jr.  ... 
    Performer:  Rafael Druian,  Georges Miquelle,  Eugene List,  Alfred Mouledous  ... 
    Conductor:  Antal Doráti,  Stanislaw Skrowaczewski,  Frederick Fennell,  Anatole Fistoulari  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Hungarica  ... 
    CD: $213.99
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  • 4.
    Wagner: Preludes And Interludes / Luisi, Philharmonia Zurich
    Label: Accentus   Catalog: 102 Release Date: 02/24/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Fabio Luisi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Zürich
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  • 5.
    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  ... 
    CD: $168.99
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  • 6.
    Wagner Without Words / Llyr Williams
    Label: Signum U.k.   Catalog: 388 Release Date: 09/09/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Liszt,  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Llŷr Williams
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  • 7.
    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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  • 8.
    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  ... 
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  • 9.
    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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  • 10.
    Richard Wagner: Der Ring Des Nibelungen - Orchestermusik
    Label: Oehms   Catalog: 944 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Bernadett Fodor,  Anja Fidelia Ulrich,  Eve-maud Hubeaux,  Mona Somm  ... 
    Conductor:  Sebastian Weigle
    CD: $19.99
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  • 11.
    Fritz Reiner - The Complete RCA Album Collection
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 370198 Release Date: 10/15/2013   Number of Discs: 63
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Johannes Brahms,  Rolf Liebermann,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Artur Rubinstein,  Jascha Heifetz,  Emil Gilels,  Inge Borkh  ... 
    Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Chicago Lyric Theatre Chorus,  Studio Orchestra
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  • 12.
    Ives: Three Places in New England; Sibelius, Wagner / Michael Tilson Thomas
    Label: Ica Classics   Catalog: 5111 Release Date: 09/24/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Ives,  Jean Sibelius,  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Michael Tilson Thomas
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
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  • 13.
    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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  • 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
    CD: $21.99
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  • 15.
    Wagner: Gotterdammerung; Die Meistersinger Von Nurnberg; Siegfried-idyll
    Label: Channel Classics   Catalog: 32713 Release Date: 06/11/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Petra Lang
    Conductor:  Iván Fischer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Budapest Festival Orchestra
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  • 16.
    Wagner: Der Ring Des Nibelungen (Highlights) / Janowski, Dresden Staatskapelle
    Label: Eurodisc   Catalog: 542093 Release Date: 05/28/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Jeanine Altmeyer,  Theo Adam,  René Kollo,  Peter Schreier  ... 
    Conductor:  Marek Janowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
    CD: $12.99
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  • 17.
    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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  • 18.
    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,  Alberto Dohmen,  Ralf Lukas,  Endrik Wottrich  ... 
    Conductor:  Christian Thielemann
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra
    CD: $19.99
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  • 19.
    Toscanini Conducts Wagner
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 541193 Release Date: 04/30/2013   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Lauritz Melchior,  Helen Traubel
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
    CD: $23.99
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  • 20.
    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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  • 21.
    Wagner: Transcribed Solo Piano By August Stradel, Vol. 1
    Label: Toccata Classics   Catalog: 151 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Juan Guillermo Vizcarra
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  • 22.
    Glenn Gould  Plays Beethoven And Wagner
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 541289 Release Date: 10/30/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Franz Liszt
    Performer:  Glenn Gould
    CD: $12.99
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  • 23.
    Twilight Of The Gods - The Ultimate Wagner Ring Collection
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001724902 Release Date: 09/11/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Jennifer Johnson,  Eric Owens,  Lisette Oropesa,  Tamara Mumford  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine,  Fabio Luisi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    CD: $21.99
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  • 24.
    Leopold Stokowski - The Stereo Collection 1954-1975
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 1916852 Release Date: 08/21/2012   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Gustav Mahler,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Margaret Price,  Brigitte Fassbaender,  Anna Moffo,  Martina Arroyo  ... 
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  New Symphony Orchestra,  Norman Luboff Choir  ... 
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  • 25.
    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
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