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

Ives: Three Places in New England; Sibelius, Wagner / Michael Tilson Thomas
Release Date: 09/24/2013   Label: Ica Classics  
Catalog: 5111   Number of Discs: 1
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Brahms: Symphony No 2; Wagner: Tannhauser Overture / Kempe
Release Date: 11/19/2013   Label: Ica Classics  
Catalog: 5119   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: Der Fliegende Hollander / Selig, Merbeth, Muzek, Thielemann, Bayreuth Festival Orchestra
Release Date: 07/29/2014   Label: Opus Arte  
Catalog: 1140   Number of Discs: 1
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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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Work: Götterdämmerung: Dawn and Siegfried's Rhine Journey

Browse 51-75 of 116 Available Recordings
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  • 51.
    Wagner: Pages Symphoniques D'operas
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 575389 Release Date: 01/13/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 52.
    Wagner: Ride Of The Valkyries / Chailly, Royal Concertgebouw
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 448155 Release Date: 12/10/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
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  • 53.
    Wagner Without Words / Fruhbeck De Burgos, Dresden Philharmonic
    Label: Genuin Musikproduction   Catalog: 87095 Release Date: 11/12/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 54.
    Wagner: Orchestral Highlights / Tennstedt, London PO
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 91008 Release Date: 07/17/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 55.
    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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  • 56.
    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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  • 57.
    Reiner Conducts Wagner / Chicago Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Rca Victor Gold Seal   Catalog: 61792 Release Date: 06/11/2007   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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  • 58.
    Carl Schuricht Collection - Historical Recordings 1950-1966
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 93140 Release Date: 03/13/2007   Number of Discs: 20
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Richard Wagner,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Barry McDaniel,  Clara Haskil,  Fritz Wunderlich,  Elisabeth Schwarzkopf  ... 
    Conductor:  Carl Schuricht
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Stuttgart Southwest German Radio Vocal Ensemble,  Hessian Radio Chorus Frankfurt  ... 
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  • 59.
    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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  • 60.
    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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  • 61.
    Wagner / Heppner, Schneider, Staatskapelle Dresden
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000641702 Release Date: 05/09/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Ben Heppner,  Burkhard Ulrich
    Conductor:  Peter Schneider
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
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  • 62.
    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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  • 63.
    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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  • 64.
    Toscanini - The Television Concerts 1948-52 Vol. 1 - Wagner, Beethoven
    Label: Testament   Catalog: 1003 Release Date: 02/14/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Norman Scott,  Jane Hobson,  Erwin Dillon,  Anne McKnight
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra,  Collegiate Chorale
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  • 65.
    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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  • 66.
    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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  • 67.
    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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  • 68.
    Gemini - Wagner: Orchestral Music / Tennstedt, Berlin Po
    Label: Emi 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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  • 69.
    Original Masters - Leopold Stokowski Vol 2
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000394902 Release Date: 02/08/2005   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Alexander Borodin,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov  ... 
    Performer:  Erich Gruenberg,  Alexander Young,  Donald McIntyre,  Heather Harper  ... 
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Welsh National Opera Chorus,  Royal Philharmonic Chorus,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 70.
    Historical - Wagner: Operatic Extracts / Furtwängler
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 86191 Release Date: 01/11/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Kirsten Flagstad
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 71.
    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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  • 72.
    Great Conductors Of The 20th Century / Fritz Reiner
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 62866 Release Date: 07/13/2004   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Manuel de Falla,  Maurice Ravel,  Richard Strauss  ... 
    Performer:  Carol Brice,  Emil Gilels
    Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra,  NBC Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 73.
    Classic Library - Wagner: Orchestral Works
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 59414 Release Date: 04/20/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 74.
    Wagner: Orchestral Works, Etc / Stokowski, Verrett, Arroyo
    Label: Rca 24/96 Sound Dimension   Catalog: 55306 Release Date: 01/13/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Louise Parker,  Carlotta Ordassy,  Martina Arroyo,  Doris Yarick  ... 
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Symphony of the Air
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  • 75.
    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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