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: 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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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 Opera [Blu-ray]
Release Date: 04/01/2014   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 372572   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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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: Siegfried's Funeral Music

Browse 1-25 of 141 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Wagner: Lohengrin Prelude, Siegried's Funeral March, Ec / Ansermet, Suisse Romande Orchestra
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002083202 Release Date: 08/12/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra
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  • 2.
    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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  • 3.
    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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  • 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.
    My Wagner Album / Christian Thielemann
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001884102 Release Date: 08/27/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Paul Schöffler,  Brigitte Fassbaender,  Thomas Stewart,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau  ... 
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler,  Christian Thielemann,  Hans Knappertsbusch,  Carlos Kleiber  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus  ... 
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  • 6.
    Wagner, Strauss, Rimsky-korsakov / Leinsdorf,  Concert Arts Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 121116 Release Date: 07/16/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Richard Strauss,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
    Conductor:  Erich Leinsdorf
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concert Arts Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 7.
    Maazel Conducts Wagner / Meier, Berliner Philharmoniker
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 63143 Release Date: 06/18/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Waltraud Meier
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 8.
    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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  • 9.
    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
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  • 10.
    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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  • 11.
    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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  • 12.
    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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  • 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.
    Richard Wagner: Magic Fire Conflagration - A Biography By Jorg Handstein
    Label: Br Klassik   Catalog: 900903 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Mariss Jansons
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 15.
    Icon - Arturo Toscanini [6-CD Set]
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 233342 Release Date: 02/05/2013   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Gioachino Rossini,  Claude Debussy,  Sir Edward Elgar  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra
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  • 16.
    The Britannic Organ, Vol. 5: Richard Wagner On Welte
    Label: Oehms   Catalog: 844 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Kurt Grosse,  Clarence Eddy,  Emil Paur,  Samuel Atkinson Baldwin  ... 
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  • 17.
    The Essential Wagner
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 973399 Release Date: 11/06/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Siegfried Jerusalem,  Peter Haage,  Nicolai Gedda,  Reiner Goldberg  ... 
    Conductor:  Robert Heger,  Sir Adrian Boult,  Klaus Tennstedt,  Bernard Haitink  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian State Opera Orchestra,  Bavarian State Opera Chorus,  New Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 18.
    Solti Conducts The Wagner Operas [36-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001746302 Release Date: 10/16/2012   Number of Discs: 36
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  René Kollo,  Werner Krenn,  Isola Jones,  Janis Martin  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Chorus,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 19.
    Wagner: Orchestral Excerpts Vol 1 / Schwarz, Seattle Symphony
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8572767 Release Date: 08/28/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Seattle Symphony Orchestra
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  • 20.
    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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  • 21.
    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
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  • 22.
    Wagner: Ride Of The Valkyries
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001701602 Release Date: 07/24/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim
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  • 23.
    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  ... 
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  • 24.
    Wagner: Overtures & Orchestral Music
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 02300 Release Date: 04/24/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Mariss Jansons
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  • 25.
    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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