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: Parsifal / Kaufmann, Pape, Gatti, Met
Release Date: 04/01/2014   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 372558   Number of Discs: 2
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Wagner: Two Symphonies, Marches, Rienzi Overture / Jarvi, Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Release Date: 03/27/2012   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 5097   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: 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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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: Götterdämmerung: Dawn and Siegfried's Rhine Journey

Browse 26-50 of 116 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Bruckner: Symphonies / Hans Knappertsbusch
    Label: Music & Arts   Catalog: 1256 Release Date: 11/08/2011   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Anton Bruckner,  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian State Orchestra,  Bavarian State Opera Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 27.
    Icon: William Steinberg
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 26486 Release Date: 10/11/2011   Number of Discs: 20
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Nathan Milstein,  Rudolf Firkusny
    Conductor:  William Steinberg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 28.
    Toscanini: Christmas Day 1937 & Farewell Concert 1954
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 2369/70 Release Date: 06/14/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Spoken Word,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Johannes Brahms,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
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  • 29.
    Klaus Tennstedt - The Great EMI Recordings
    Label: Emi 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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  • 30.
    Toscanini Collection Vol 49 - Wagner: Orchestral Opera Excerpts
    Label: Rca Victor Gold Seal   Catalog: 60306 Release Date: 03/10/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
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  • 31.
    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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  • 32.
    Hans Schmidt-isserstedt - The Capitol Recordings
    Label: Tahra   Catalog: 694 Release Date: 12/14/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Franz Schubert,  Johannes Brahms,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Ventislaw Yankov
    Conductor:  Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Northwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 33.
    Wagner: Der Ring Des Nibelungen - Orchestral Highlights / Runnicles
    Label: Apex   Catalog: 2564680434 Release Date: 11/26/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Donald Runnicles
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
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  • 34.
    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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  • 35.
    Wagner: Gotterdammerung Highlights / Behrens, Goldberg, Levine
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 435489 Release Date: 08/20/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Matti Salminen,  Hildegard Behrens,  Reiner Goldberg
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 36.
    Father and Son - Wagner Scenes and Arias / Simon O'Neill
    Label: Virgin Classics   Catalog: 57817 Release Date: 05/04/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Simon O'Neill,  Susan Bullock,  John Tomlinson
    Conductor:  Pietari Inkinen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
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  • 37.
    Wagner: Orchestral Favorites From The Operas / Simonov
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 1065 Release Date: 01/26/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Yuri Simonov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 38.
    Strauss: Four Last Songs, Tod und Verklarung; Wagner / Popp, Tennstedt
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 64290 Release Date: 01/12/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Lucia Popp
    Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 39.
    Hans Knappertsbusch Conducts Richard Wagner
    Label: Idi   Catalog: 6569 Release Date: 05/26/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin State Opera Orchestra,  Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 40.
    Ride Of The Valkyries / Ormandy, Philadelphia Orchestra
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 38286 Release Date: 05/08/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
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  • 41.
    Wagner: Gotterdammerung / Keilberth, Modl, Windgassen, Greindl, Hotter, Et Al
    Label: Testament   Catalog: 1433 Release Date: 02/10/2009   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Martha Mödl,  Josef Greindl,  Gré Brouwenstijn,  Hans Hotter  ... 
    Conductor:  Joseph Keilberth
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra,  Bayreuth Festival Chorus
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  • 42.
    Wagner: The Ring (Highlights) / Haitink, Bavarian Rso, Et Al
    Label: Emi Classics For Pleasure   Catalog: 28377 Release Date: 10/28/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Eva Martón,  Johannes Ritzkowsky,  Siegfried Jerusalem,  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa  ... 
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 43.
    The Classic Sound - Bruckner: Symphony No 5 (Schalk Version) / Knappertsbusch
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 448581 Release Date: 09/30/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Anton Bruckner
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 44.
    Beethoven: Symphony No 3;  Wagner: Preludes / Solti, Nilsson, Et Al
    Label: Bbc Legends   Catalog: 4239 Release Date: 09/16/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra
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  • 45.
    Sydney Opera House Opening Concert 1973 [includes Bonus Dvd]
    Label: Abc Classics   Catalog: 1371715 Release Date: 09/09/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Birgit Nilsson
    Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
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  • 46.
    Ultimate Wagner - Essential Masterpieces
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 00115870 Release Date: 08/26/2008   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Ruth Hesse,  Gustav Neidlinger,  Dorothea Siebert,  Helga Dernesch  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Böhm,  Sir Georg Solti,  Silvio Varviso,  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Bayreuth Festival Chorus
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  • 47.
    Toscanini Collection Vol 66 - Overtures & Preludes
    Label: Rca Victor Gold Seal   Catalog: 60318 Release Date: 08/05/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Richard Wagner,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Christoph W. Gluck
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
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  • 48.
    Mussorgsky, Berlioz, Wagner, Etc / Cantelli, Nbc So, New York Po
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 2328 Release Date: 05/06/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Hector Berlioz,  Albert Roussel,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Conductor:  Guido Cantelli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  NBC Symphony Orchestra
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  • 49.
    Wagner: The Ring - An Orchestral Adventure / Jarvi, Royal Scottish NO
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 5060 Release Date: 03/04/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Neeme Järvi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Symphony Orchestra
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  • 50.
    Wagner: Orchestral Works From The Operas
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 567893 Release Date: 01/13/2008  
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
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