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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The Ride of the Valkyries - Orchestral Music by Wagner / Royal PO
Release Date: 09/08/2009   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 28080   Number of Discs: 1
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Wagner Without Words / Llyr Williams
Release Date: 09/09/2014   Label: Signum U.k.  
Catalog: 388   Number of Discs: 2
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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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Carlos Paita Conducts Wagner
Release Date: 04/08/2014   Label: Carlos Paita Edition  
Catalog: 803   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Siegfried Idyll

Browse 1-25 of 124 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    The Argo Years / Neville Marriner, Academy Of St Martin In The Fields [28-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002081902 Release Date: 06/03/2014   Number of Discs: 28
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Arcangelo Corelli,  Giuseppe Torelli,  Pietro Antonio Locatelli  ... 
    Performer:  Gwynne Howell,  Philip Langridge,  Anna Reynolds,  Elly Ameling  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chorus,  Philip Jones Brass Ensemble
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  • 2.
    Schubert: Unfinished Symphony; Beethoven: Symphony No 2; Wagner: Siegfried Idyll / Abbado
    Label: Audite   Catalog: 95627 Release Date: 04/29/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
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  • 3.
    Rafael Kubelik Conducts Great Symphonies
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 7884112 Release Date: 03/25/2014   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Robert Schumann,  Anton Bruckner,  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Rafael Kubelik
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 4.
    Scottish Chamber Orchestra 40th Special Anniversary Edition
    Label: Linn Records   Catalog: 540 Release Date: 02/25/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Jean Sibelius,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Conductor:  Robin Ticciati,  Joseph Swensen,  Sir Charles Mackerras
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber Orchestra
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  • 5.
    The Westminster Legacy
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001999302 Release Date: 02/18/2014   Number of Discs: 40
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Gustav Mahler  ... 
    Performer:  Sena Jurinac,  Lucretia West,  Hans Loeffler,  Frederick Guthrie  ... 
    Conductor:  Hermann Scherchen,  Pierre Monteux,  René Leibowitz,  Erich Leinsdorf  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Orchestra,  Vienna Academy Chamber Chorus  ... 
    On sale! $149.98
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  • 6.
    BBC Legends - Great Recordings from the Archive
    Label: Ica Classics   Catalog: 5113 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 20
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler,  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Robert Schumann,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Beryl Hatt,  Agnes Giebel,  Joyce Barker,  Kerstin Meyer  ... 
    Conductor:  Jascha Horenstein,  Yevgeny Mravinsky,  Arturo Toscanini,  Kiril Kondrashin  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Orpington Junior Singers,  Goldsmiths' Choral Union  ... 
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  • 7.
    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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  • 8.
    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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  • 9.
    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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  • 10.
    Toscanini Conducts Wagner [5-CD Set]
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 541193 Release Date: 04/30/2013   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Lauritz Melchior,  Helen Traubel
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
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  • 11.
    Wagner: Wesendonck-lieder, Overtures / Stemme, Dausgaard, Swedish Chamber Orchestra
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 2022 Release Date: 04/30/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Katarina Andreasson,  Nina Stemme
    Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Swedish Chamber Orchestra
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  • 12.
    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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  • 13.
    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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  • 14.
    Wagner: Siegfried Idyll, Bruckner: String Quintet In F Major / Gazarian, Wurttemberg Chamber Orchestra
    Label: Bayer Records   Catalog: 100391 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Anton Bruckner
    Conductor:  Ruben Gazarian
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Württemberg Chamber Orchestra Heilbronn
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  • 15.
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 189 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Birgit Nilsson,  George London,  Christa [Mezzo-soprano Vocal] Ludwig
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
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  • 16.
    Label: Farao   Catalog: S108061 Release Date: 01/01/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Richard Wagner,  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Maximilian Hochwimmer,  Franz Draxinger,  Rainer Schmitz,  Johannes Dengler
    Conductor:  Kent Nagano
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  • 17.
    Wagner Idyll  / Vestard Shimkus
    Label: Ars Produktion   Catalog: 38123 Release Date: 11/27/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Franz Liszt
    Performer:  Vestard Shimkus
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  • 18.
    The Other Wagner
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 705514 Release Date: 11/06/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Jessye Norman,  Irwin Gage,  Thomas Hampson,  Geoffrey Parsons  ... 
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer,  Michel Plasson,  Wolfgang Sawallisch,  Marek Janowski  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra,  Dresden Philharmonic Chorus Men  ... 
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  • 19.
    Glenn Gould  Plays Beethoven And Wagner
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 541289 Release Date: 10/30/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Franz Liszt
    Performer:  Glenn Gould
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  • 20.
    Icon: Colin Davis - The Early Recordings
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 63989 Release Date: 09/18/2012   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Gioachino Rossini,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Leon Goossens,  Yehudi Menuhin,  John Ogdon,  Sir Ralph Richardson  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sinfonia of London,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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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.
    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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  • 23.
    Faure: Pelleas Et Melisande, Elegie, Melodies / Sallaberger, Rouen Haute-Normandie Opera Orchestra
    Label: Zig Zag   Catalog: 300 Release Date: 04/10/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gabriel Fauré,  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  François Salque,  Karine Deshayes
    Conductor:  Oswald Sallaberger
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rouen Haute-Normandie Opera Orchestra
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  • 24.
    Wagner en Suisse / Thomas Rosner, Orchestre Symphonique Bienne
    Label: Atma Classique   Catalog: 2580 Release Date: 03/27/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Christoph W. Gluck,  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Daniel Kobyliansky,  Louise Pellerin
    Conductor:  Thomas Rösner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bienne Symphony Orchestra
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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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