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
Carreras, Domingo, Pavarotti: The 3 Tenors Sing Puccini, Verdi, Donizetti, Bizet, Wagner And More
Release Date: 09/11/2015   Label: Rca  
Catalog: 88697757882   Number of Discs: 1
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Wagner: Overtures, Preludes & Orchestral Excerpts / Janowski, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin
Release Date: 09/09/2016   Label: Pentatone  
Catalog: 5186551   Number of Discs: 2
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Richard Wagner - The Bayreuth Edition [8 Blu-rays]
Release Date: 09/25/2015   Label: Opus Arte  
Catalog: 7184   Number of Discs: 8
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Wagner: Opera Scenes / Tennstedt, Norman, London Philharmonic
Release Date: 02/11/2014   Label: Warner Classics  
Catalog: 256463   Number of Discs: 1
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Wagner: Der Ring Des Nibelungen / Solti, Vienna Philharmonic
Release Date: 10/14/1997   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 455555   Number of Discs: 14
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Work: Das Rheingold: Entrance of the Gods into Valhalla

Browse 1-25 of 27 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Stokowski Transcriptions / Serebrier, Bournemouth Symphony
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8578305 Release Date: 04/08/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Richard Wagner,  Modest Mussorgsky  ... 
    Performer:  Timothy Walden
    Conductor:  José Serebrier
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $9.99
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  • 2.
    Mercury Living Presence - The Collector's Edition Vol 3
    Label: Mercury Living Presence   Catalog: 002275902 Release Date: 03/23/2015   Number of Discs: 53
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Franz Lehár,  Emil Waldteufel,  Johann Strauss Jr.  ... 
    Performer:  Rafael Druian,  Georges Miquelle,  Eugene List,  Alfred Mouledous  ... 
    Conductor:  Antal Doráti,  Stanislaw Skrowaczewski,  Frederick Fennell,  Anatole Fistoulari  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Hungarica  ... 
    CD: $213.99
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  • 3.
    Phase 4 Stereo - Stereo Concert Series
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002188302 Release Date: 10/27/2014   Number of Discs: 41
    Composer:  John Philip Sousa,  Charles A. Zimmerman,  Francis S. Van Boskerck,  George Norton  ... 
    Performer:  Stanley Black,  David Parkhouse,  Alan Loveday,  Robert Merrill  ... 
    Conductor:  Rodney Bashford,  Stanley Black,  Bernard Herrmann,  Edward Downes  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Grenadier Guards Band,  London Festival Orchestra,  London Festival Recording Ensemble  ... 
    CD: $168.99
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  • 4.
    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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  • 5.
    Wagner: Arrangements For Piano / Severin Von Eckardstein
    Label: Md&g (Dabringhaus & Grimm)   Catalog: 9041805 Release Date: 05/21/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Moritz Moszkowski,  Richard Wagner,  Sidney Corbett,  Ferruccio Busoni
    Performer:  Severin von Eckardstein
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  • 6.
    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  ... 
    CD: $29.99
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  • 7.
    Wagner: Operatic Highlights; Strauss: Tone Poems / Klemperer
    Label: Warner 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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  • 8.
    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  ... 
    CD: $34.99
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  • 9.
    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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  • 10.
    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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  • 11.
    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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  • 12.
    From Bach To Wagner / Boult, London Philharmonic Orchestra
    Label: Warner 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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  • 13.
    Wagner: Orchestral Highlights / Klemperer
    Label: Warner 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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  • 14.
    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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  • 15.
    Klaus Tennstedt - The Great EMI Recordings
    Label: Warner 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  ... 
    CD: $58.99
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  • 16.
    The Ultimate Wagner Opera Album
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8578070-71 Release Date: 12/14/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Ingrid Haubold,  Marga Schiml,  Hedwig Fassbender,  John Erik Eleby  ... 
    Conductor:  Pinchas Steinberg,  Uwe Mund,  Michael Halász,  Johannes Wildner  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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  • 17.
    Stokowski Transcriptions - Bach, Wagner, Mussorgsky / Serebrier, Bournemouth SO
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8505086 Release Date: 04/27/2010   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Giovanni Palestrina,  William Byrd  ... 
    Conductor:  José Serebrier
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
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  • 18.
    Ride Of The Valkyries / Ormandy, Philadelphia Orchestra
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 38286 Release Date: 04/22/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
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    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 19.
    Wagner-Stokowski: Symphonic Syntheses / Serebrier, Bournemouth SO
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8570293 Release Date: 09/25/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  José Serebrier
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
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  • 20.
    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
    CD: $6.99
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  • 21.
    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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  • 22.
    Bayreuth Festival 1927 - Siegfried Wagner, Karl Muck, Et Al
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 90393 Release Date: 03/28/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Maria Nezadel,  Minnie Ruske-Leopold,  Charlotte Müller,  Ingeborg Holmgren  ... 
    Conductor:  Franz Von Hoesslin,  Karl Muck
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra,  Bayreuth Festival Chorus
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  • 23.
    The Best Of Wagner
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8556657 Release Date: 02/15/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Michael Halász,  Uwe Mund,  Johannes Wildner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra,  Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony,  Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra Katowice
    CD: $9.99
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  • 24.
    Wagner: Highlights From The Ring / Mund, Czech-slovak Rso
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8550211 Release Date: 02/15/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Uwe Mund
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bratislava Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Czecho-Slovak Radio Orchestra
    CD: $9.99
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  • 25.
    Soundscapes Vol 2 - A Delos Digital Compact Disc Sampler
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 3501 Release Date: 12/14/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Sigfrid Karg-Elert,  Olivier Messiaen  ... 
    Performer:  John Browning,  Robert Noehren,  Warren Lash,  William Doppmann  ... 
    Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz,  Aldo Parisot
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra,  Chamber Music Northwest,  Orford String Quartet  ... 
    CD: $9.99
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