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: Der Ring des Nibelungen / Janowski, Berlin Radio Symphony & Choir
Release Date: 05/13/2016   Label: Pentatone  
Catalog: 5186581   Number of Discs: 13
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Wagner: The Ring - An Orchestral Adventure / Jarvi, Royal Scottish NO
Release Date: 03/04/2008   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 5060   Number of Discs: 1
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Wagner: Overtures, Preludes / Varviso, Staatskapelle Dresden
Release Date: 08/26/2003   Label: Pentatone  
Catalog: 5186123   Number of Discs: 1
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Wagner: Die Meistersinger Von Nurnberg / Janowksi, Dohmen, Henschel, Breedt, Sonn
Release Date: 11/15/2011   Label: Pentatone  
Catalog: 5186402   Number of Discs: 4
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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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Work: Götterdämmerung: Dawn and Siegfried's Rhine Journey

Browse 51-75 of 85 Available Recordings
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  • 51.
    Wagner: Orchestral Highlights
    Label: Selections   Catalog: 8571073 Release Date: 07/10/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Uwe Mund,  Alexander Rahbari,  Michael Halász
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  • 52.
    Strauss: Four Last Songs;  Wagner / Furtwangler, Flagstad
    Label: Testament   Catalog: 1410 Release Date: 06/12/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Kirsten Flagstad
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 53.
    Reiner Conducts Wagner / Chicago Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Rca Victor Gold Seal   Catalog: 61792 Release Date: 06/04/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Engelbert Humperdinck,  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
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  • 54.
    Label: Archipel   Catalog: 361 Release Date: 03/27/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Carl Schuricht
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  • 55.
    Sunday Evenings With Pierre Monteux - California 1941-52
    Label: Music & Arts Programs Of America   Catalog: 1192 Release Date: 03/13/2007   Number of Discs: 13
    Composer:  Sir William Walton,  Olivier Messiaen,  Carl Maria von Weber,  Gioachino Rossini  ... 
    Performer:  Dorothy Warenskjold,  William Kapell,  Boris Blinder,  Naum Blinder  ... 
    Conductor:  Pierre Monteux
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Standard Symphony Orchestra
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  • 56.
    Guido Cantelli Conducts Wagner And Brahms / Philharmonia
    Label: Testament   Catalog: 1012 Release Date: 10/10/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Dennis Brain
    Conductor:  Guido Cantelli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 57.
    Toscanini Conducts Wagner - Complete Carnegie Hall Farewell
    Label: Music & Arts Programs Of America   Catalog: 3008 Release Date: 04/25/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
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  • 58.
    Beethoven: Symphony No 9; Wagner / Leinsdorf, Boston Symphony
    Label: Video Artists International   Catalog: 4361 Release Date: 02/28/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Richard Cassilly,  Jane Marsh,  Eunice Alberts,  Thomas Paul
    Conductor:  Erich Leinsdorf
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  New England Conservatory Chorus,  Radcliffe Choral Society  ... 
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  • 59.
    Wagner: Orchestral Excerpts From Operas / Tennstedt, Et Al
    Label: Lpo   Catalog: 3 Release Date: 10/18/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 60.
    Carl Muck
    Label: Symposium   Catalog: 1345 Release Date: 09/27/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Karl Muck
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin State Opera Orchestra members
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  • 61.
    All Wagner Concert / Toscanini, Melchior, Nbc So
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 2242/43 Release Date: 02/22/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Helen Traubel,  Lauritz Melchior
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
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  • 62.
    Wagner: Orchestral Music / Tennstedt, Berlin Philharmonic
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 86248 Release Date: 02/15/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 63.
    Wagner: Opera Excerpts, Siegfried Idyll / Schuricht, Stuttgart Rso
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 93156 Release Date: 08/01/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Carl Schuricht
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 64.
    Wagner: Siegfried Idyll, Etc;  Strauss / Andre Cluytens, Etc
    Label: Testament   Catalog: 1255 Release Date: 04/08/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Richard Strauss
    Conductor:  André Cluytens
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Opera Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 65.
    Stokowski - Classic 1947-1949 Columbia Recordings Vol 2
    Label: Cala Records   Catalog: 534 Release Date: 10/29/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Aaron Copland,  Arnold Schoenberg,  Richard Wagner,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Martha Lipton
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
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  • 66.
    Klemperer Legacy - Wagner: Orchestral Works Vol 2
    Label: Emi Classics Special Import   Catalog: 66806 Release Date: 10/17/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 67.
    Wagner: Wesendonk Lieder, Arias / Varady, Fischer-dieskau
    Label: Orfeo   Catalog: 467981 Release Date: 09/16/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Julia Varády
    Conductor:  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin
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  • 68.
    Sir Georg Solti - A Celebration
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 466000 Release Date: 01/12/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Angela Gheorghiu,  Maxim Vengerov,  Anne Sofie von Otter
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Mstislav Rostropovich
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 69.
    Wagner: Der Ring Des Nibelungen - Highlights / Runnicles
    Label: Teldec   Catalog: 17109 Release Date: 05/19/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Donald Runnicles
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
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  • 70.
    Wilhelm Furtwangler - Wagner: Tannhauser Overture, Etc
    Label: Testament   Catalog: 1141 Release Date: 04/14/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Lucerne Festival Orchestra
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  • 71.
    R. Strauss, Wagner / Wolfgang Sawallisch, Philharmonia
    Label: Testament   Catalog: 1112 Release Date: 10/01/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Wolfgang Sawallisch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 72.
    Karl Muck - The Electrical Wagner Recordings 1927-1928
    Label: Vai Audio   Catalog: 1118-2 Release Date: 09/23/1996   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Karl Muck
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin State Opera Orchestra,  Bayreuth Festival Chorus,  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra
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  • 73.
    Wagner: The Best Of The Ring / Böhm, Nilsson, Rysanek, Et Al
    Label: Philips Duo   Catalog: 454020 Release Date: 04/09/1996   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Dorothea Siebert,  Ruth Hesse,  Helga Dernesch,  Gustav Neidlinger  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Böhm
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra
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  • 74.
    Rudolf Kempe Conducts Wagner
    Label: Testament   Catalog: 1035 Release Date: 01/01/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Antonio Vivaldi
    Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
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  • 75.
    The Begian Years Vol 6 / University Of Illinois Symphonic Band
    Label: Mark Records   Catalog: 1647 Release Date: 01/01/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Paul Hindemith,  Richard Strauss,  Richard Wagner,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Harry Begian
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  University of Illinois Symphonic Band
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