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: Parsifal / Kaufmann, Pape, Gatti, Met
Release Date: 04/01/2014   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 372558   Number of Discs: 2
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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: 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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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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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: Tannhäuser: Overture

Browse 26-50 of 134 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    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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  • 27.
    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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  • 28.
    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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  • 29.
    Music & Painters - Music Of The Era Of Monet, Chagall, Courbet & Picasso
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 5283 Release Date: 01/31/2012   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Claude Debussy,  Gabriel Fauré,  Ernest Chausson  ... 
    Performer:  Anne Gastinel,  Daniel Blumenthal,  Marie-Nicole Lemieux,  Noel Lee  ... 
    Conductor:  Dmitry Yablonsky,  Christoph Eschenbach,  Alain Lombard,  Bernard Haitink  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kasbek Ensemble,  Russian State Symphony Orchestra,  Orchestre de Paris  ... 
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  • 30.
    Label: Archipel   Catalog: ARPCD0467 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Charles Gounod
    Conductor:  André Cluytens
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  • 31.
    Label: Andromeda   Catalog: 5034 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Richard Wagner,  Christoph W. Gluck,  Franz Joseph Haydn  ... 
    Performer:  Edwin Fischer
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler
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  • 32.
    Celibidache  Vol 4 - Sacred Music & Opera / Munich Phiharmonic
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 85617 Release Date: 11/29/2011   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Johannes Brahms,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Anton Scharinger,  Yaron Windmuller,  Peter Schreier,  Barbara Bonney  ... 
    Conductor:  Sergiu Celibidache
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Philharmonic Orchestra,  Munich Philharmonic Choir,  Munich Bach Choir
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  • 33.
    Mravinsky Conducts The Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 698905 Release Date: 07/26/2011   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Mikhail Glinka,  Alexander Glazunov,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Conductor:  Yevgeny Mravinsky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 34.
    Wagner: Favourite Overtures & Preludes / Simonov, Philharmonia Orchestra
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 1165 Release Date: 07/12/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Yuri Simonov
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  • 35.
    Klaus Tennstedt - The Great EMI Recordings
    Label: Emi 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  ... 
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  • 36.
    100 Best Vienna Philharmonic
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 17639 Release Date: 01/11/2011   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Josef Strauss,  Johann Strauss Sr.,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 37.
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 648513 Release Date: 01/11/2011   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Josef Strauss,  Johann Strauss Sr.,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
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  • 38.
    Wagner: Orchestral Works, Vol. 1 / Edo De Waart, Radio Filharmonisch Orkest Holland
    Label: Exton   Catalog: 153 Release Date: 11/09/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Edo De Waart
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Holland Radio Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 39.
    Label: Northquest   Catalog: 315000 Release Date: 10/12/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johann Pachelbel,  Richard Wagner,  Robert Schumann,  Franz Joseph Haydn  ... 
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  • 40.
    Wagner: Orchestral Excerpts / Klemperer, Philharmonia Orchestra
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 31827 Release Date: 10/12/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 41.
    100 Best Romantic Classics
    Label: Sonoma Entertainment   Catalog: 101 Release Date: 09/28/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Stephen Foster,  Dmitri Kabalevsky,  Camille Saint-Saëns  ... 
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  • 42.
    Grosses Festspielhaus Salzburg - 50 Years [25 CDs]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001469202 Release Date: 09/14/2010   Number of Discs: 25
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Johannes Brahms,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Martha Argerich,  Nelson Freire,  Alfred Brendel,  Placido Domingo  ... 
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez,  Claudio Abbado,  Sir Georg Solti,  James Levine  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 43.
    Seiji Ozawa - Anniversary [11-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001464002 Release Date: 09/14/2010   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Hector Berlioz,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Trevor Pinnock,  Everett Firth,  Simon Preston,  Kathleen Battle  ... 
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  San Francisco Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 44.
    Wagner: Die Walkure / Keilberth, Modl, Varnay, Hotter, Vinay
    Label: Testament   Catalog: 1432 Release Date: 10/13/2009   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Wolfgang Windgassen,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau,  Georgine von Milinkovic,  Ramon Vinay  ... 
    Conductor:  Joseph Keilberth
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival Chorus,  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra
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  • 45.
    The Ride of the Valkyries - Orchestral Music by Wagner / Royal PO
    Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks   Catalog: 28080 Release Date: 09/08/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Vernon Handley
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 46.
    Wagner: Siegfried Idyll / Marek Janowski, Radio France
    Label: Virgin Classics   Catalog: 59689 Release Date: 08/10/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Marek Janowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  ORTF Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 47.
    Edition Staatskapelle Dresden Vol 22 - Karl Bohm Conducts Wagner / Elmendorff, Striegler, Schech, Lorenz, Et Al
    Label: Profil   Catalog: 7058 Release Date: 06/30/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Hans Hermann Nissen,  Josef Herrmann
    Conductor:  Karl Böhm
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle,  Dresden State Opera Chorus
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  • 48.
    The Number One Wagner Album
    Label: Eloquence   Catalog: 4765891 Release Date: 03/20/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 49.
    Wagner: Overtures & Preludes / Ozawa, Berlin Phil
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 426271 Release Date: 02/18/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 50.
    Staatskapelle Dresden - Legendary Masterworks Recordings
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 184532 Release Date: 02/10/2009   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert,  Carl Maria von Weber  ... 
    Performer:  Walter Berry,  Anneliese Rothenberger,  Hermann Prey,  Hilde Gueden  ... 
    Conductor:  Otmar Suitner,  Herbert Blomstedt,  Jeffrey Tate,  Marek Janowski  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle,  Dresden State Opera Chorus
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