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 / Grimsley, Mellor, Blythe, Vinke, Fisch, Seattle Opera
Release Date: 09/09/2014   Label: Avie  
Catalog: 2313   Number of Discs: 14
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Wagner: Lieder / Sburlati, Scolastra
Release Date: 09/30/2014   Label: Brilliant Classics  
Catalog: 94451   Number of Discs: 1
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Wagner: Tristan Und Isolde / Knappertsbusch, Klose, Braun, Treptow, Frantz
Release Date: 03/25/2014   Label: Andromeda  
Catalog: 9011   Number of Discs: 3
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Wagner: Highlights From Tristan Und Isolde & Tannhauser
Release Date: 03/13/2012   Label: Nimbus  
Catalog: 6164   Number of Discs: 1
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Schumann & Wagner / Butt, London Symphony Orchestra
Release Date: 05/08/2012   Label: Nimbus  
Catalog: 6163   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Tannhäuser: Overture

Browse 1-25 of 131 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Leonard Bernstein Edition - Concertos & Orchestral Works
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 301330 Release Date: 10/27/2014   Number of Discs: 80
    Composer:  Samuel Barber,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Béla Bartók  ... 
    Performer:  Isaac Stern,  Leonard Bernstein,  Harold Gomberg,  William Heim  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Seiji Ozawa,  Maurice Peress
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  New York Philharmonic members,  Columbia Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 2.
    Bruckner: Symphonies 4-9
    Label: Andromeda   Catalog: 9008 Release Date: 03/25/2014   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Anton Bruckner,  Claude Debussy,  Richard Wagner,  Franz Schubert
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler
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  • 3.
    Wagner: Wesendonck Lieder; Tannhauser; Tristan Und Isolde
    Label: Capriccio Records   Catalog: 5174 Release Date: 02/25/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Anne Schwanewilms
    Conductor:  Cornelius Meister,  Manuel Lange
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  • 4.
    Wagner Gala / Kaufmann, Thielemann, Dresden
    Label: C Major   Catalog: 714908 Release Date: 01/28/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Jonas Kaufmann
    Conductor:  Christian Thielemann
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
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  • 5.
    Wagner Gala / Kaufmann, Thielemann, Staatskapelle Dresden [blu-ray]
    Label: C Major   Catalog: 715004 Release Date: 01/28/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Jonas Kaufmann
    Conductor:  Christian Thielemann
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
    Blu-ray Video: $29.99
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  • 6.
    Brahms: Symphony No 2; Wagner: Tannhauser Overture / Kempe
    Label: Ica Classics   Catalog: 5119 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bamberg Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 7.
    Dedicated To The 200th Anniversary Of The Birth Of Richard Wagner
    Label: Melodiya   Catalog: 1002095 Release Date: 09/10/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Andrey Chistiakov,  Gennadi Rozhdestvensky,  Yevgeny Svetlanov,  Yevgeny Mravinsky  ... 
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  • 8.
    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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  • 9.
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 22322 Release Date: 07/16/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Richard Wagner,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
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  • 10.
    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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  • 11.
    Overtures & Orchestral
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 2014 Release Date: 07/12/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Yuri Simonov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
    CD: $21.99
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  • 12.
    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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  • 13.
    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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  • 14.
    Igor Markevitch Conducts Richard Wagner And Claude Debussy
    Label: Idi   Catalog: 6665 Release Date: 04/30/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Claude Debussy
    Conductor:  Igor Markevitch
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  • 15.
    Wagner: Heavy Classix - The Ultimate Collection
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001819702 Release Date: 04/02/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Liselotte Rebmann,  Helga Jenckel,  Cvetka Ahlin,  Danica Mastilovic  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Karl Böhm,  Eugen Jochum,  Rafael Kubelik  ... 
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  • 16.
    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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  • 17.
    Wagner: Overtures - Organ Transcriptions / Hansjorg Albrecht
    Label: Oehms   Catalog: 690 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Hansjörg Albrecht
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  • 18.
    The Art Of Sir Georg Solti
    Label: Imports   Catalog: 1037609 Release Date: 03/05/2013   Number of Discs: 25
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Zoltán Kodály,  Leó Weiner,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Alexandru Agache,  Tamás Daróczy,  Julia Varády,  Iris Vermillion  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Hungarian Radio/TV Chorus,  Budapest Festival Orchestra  ... 
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  • 19.
    Richard Wagner - Great Recordings
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 543504 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 40
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Ben Heppner,  Deborah Voigt,  Jan-Hendrik Rootering,  Birgitta Svendén  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine,  Erich Leinsdorf,  Marek Janowski,  Joseph Keilberth  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Boston Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $28.49
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  • 20.
    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
    CD: $39.99
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  • 21.
    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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  • 22.
    Edition Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Vol. 2
    Label: Querstand   Catalog: 1110 Release Date: 01/08/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Richard Wagner,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Spoken Word  ... 
    Performer:  August Seider,  Friedrich Dahlberg,  Theodor Horand,  Margarete Bäumer  ... 
    Conductor:  Gustav Brecher,  Paul Schmitz
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  • 23.
    The Essential Wagner
    Label: Warner 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  ... 
    CD: $13.99
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  • 24.
    Label: Simply   Catalog: 1206108 Release Date: 09/04/2012   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini,  George Frideric Handel,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Joszef Mukle,  Alberto Cupido,  Graciela Alperyn  ... 
    Conductor:  Camerata Budapest,  László Kovács,  Martin Elmquist,  Alexander Rahbari  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scholars Baroque Ensemble,  I Solisti Italiani
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  • 25.
    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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