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 - An Orchestral Adventure - Arranged by Henk de Vlieger
Release Date: 01/28/2014   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 2052   Number of Discs: 1
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Elgar: Sea Pictures;  Wagner: Wesendonck Lieder;  Etc
Release Date: 04/04/1994   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 530   Number of Discs: 1
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Wagner: Der Ring Des Nibelungen / Grimsley, Mellor, Blythe, Vinke,   Fisch, Seattle Opera
Release Date: 09/09/2014   Label: Avie  
Catalog: 2313   Number of Discs: 14
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Wagner Highlights Arranged For Two Pianos / Nagai, Achatz
Release Date: 11/15/1999   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 976   Number of Discs: 1
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Wagner: Orchestral Excerpts From Operas / Tennstedt, Et Al
Release Date: 10/18/2005   Label: Lpo  
Catalog: 3   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Götterdämmerung: Dawn and Siegfried's Rhine Journey

Browse 1-25 of 116 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    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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  • 2.
    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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  • 3.
    Richard Wagner: Der Ring Des Nibelungen - Orchestermusik
    Label: Oehms   Catalog: 944 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Christiane Kohl,  Tanja Ariane Baumgartner,  Monika Bohinec,  Mona Somm  ... 
    Conductor:  Sebastian Weigle
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  • 4.
    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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  • 5.
    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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  • 6.
    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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  • 7.
    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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  • 8.
    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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  • 9.
    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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  • 10.
    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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  • 11.
    Wagner: Operatic Highlights; Strauss: Tone Poems / Klemperer
    Label: Emi 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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  • 12.
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 189 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Birgit Nilsson,  George London,  Christa [Mezzo-soprano Vocal] Ludwig
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
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  • 13.
    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  ... 
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  • 14.
    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
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  • 15.
    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
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  • 16.
    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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  • 17.
    From Bach To Wagner / Boult, London Philharmonic Orchestra
    Label: Emi 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
    On sale! $57.98
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  • 18.
    Arturo Toscanini - The Complete RCA Collection [84 CDs + DVD]
    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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  • 19.
    Late Romantic Masterpieces / Charles Munch
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 899792 Release Date: 06/12/2012   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Antonín Dvorák,  Gustav Mahler  ... 
    Performer:  Eileen Farrell,  Henryk Szeryng,  Gregor Piatigorsky,  Maureen Forrester
    Conductor:  Charles Munch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
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  • 20.
    Wagner: Orchestral Highlights / Klemperer
    Label: Emi 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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  • 21.
    Arturo Toscanini: The Wagner Recordings
    Label: Opus Kura   Catalog: 2096 Release Date: 03/13/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Helen Traubel
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
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  • 22.
    Wagner: Highlights From Tristan Und Isolde & Tannhauser
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 6164 Release Date: 03/13/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Yondani Butt
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  • 23.
    Bruckner: Symphonies 3-5, 7-9
    Label: Andromeda   Catalog: 9010 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Anton Bruckner,  Richard Wagner,  Franz Liszt
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  • 24.
    Label: Archipel   Catalog: ARPCD0406 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Guido Cantelli
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  • 25.
    Label: Andromeda   Catalog: 5034 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Richard Wagner,  Christoph W. Gluck,  Franz Joseph Haydn  ... 
    Performer:  Edwin Fischer
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler
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