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: Tristan und Isolde: Act 1 Prelude

Browse 1-25 of 104 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Strauss Conducts Strauss, Mozart, Beethoven [7-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002037802 Release Date: 05/19/2014   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Christoph W. Gluck,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Karl Reitz,  Enrico Mainardi,  Philipp Haass,  Oswald Uhl  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Strauss
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Staatskapelle Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Bavarian State Orchestra
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  • 2.
    Teldec - 50-CD Collection
    Label: Teldec   Catalog: 643851 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Antonín Dvorák,  Franz Joseph Haydn  ... 
    Performer:  András Schiff,  Josef Protschka,  Barbara Bonney,  Edita Gruberova  ... 
    Conductor:  Iván Fischer,  Nikolaus Harnoncourt,  Carlo Rizzi,  Reinbert De Leeuw  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Budapest Festival Orchestra,  Chamber Orchestra of Europe,  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra  ... 
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  • 3.
    Wagner: Overtures and Preludes / Jarvi, Royal Scottish National Orchestra
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 5126 Release Date: 09/24/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Neeme Järvi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
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  • 4.
    Sommernachtskonzert 2013 / Lorin Maazel, Wiener Philharmoniker
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 371205 Release Date: 07/30/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Richard Wagner,  Johann Strauss Jr.
    Performer:  Michael Schade
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 5.
    Sommernachtskonzert 2013 / Lorin Maazel, Wiener Philharmoniker [DVD]
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 371213 Release Date: 07/30/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Richard Wagner,  Johann Strauss Jr.
    Performer:  Michael Schade
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 6.
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 22367 Release Date: 07/16/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Richard Wagner,  Johannes Brahms,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  Ignace Jan Paderewski
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  • 7.
    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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  • 8.
    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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  • 9.
    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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  • 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: 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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  • 12.
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 189 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Birgit Nilsson,  George London,  Christa Ludwig
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
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  • 13.
    Wagner: Orchestral Excerpts Vol 3 / Gerard Schwarz, Seattle Symphony
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8572769 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Alessandra Marc
    Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Seattle Symphony Orchestra
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  • 14.
    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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  • 15.
    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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  • 16.
    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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  • 17.
    Best Of Wagner
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 300345 Release Date: 07/10/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Fritz Wunderlich,  Els Bolkestein,  Hanne-Lore Kuhse,  Martin Ritzmann  ... 
    Conductor:  Franz Konwitschny,  Heinz Fricke,  Otmar Suitner,  Hiroshi Wakasugi  ... 
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  • 18.
    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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  • 19.
    Schoenberg: Pelleas Und Melisande / Pierre Boulez, Mahler Jugendorchester
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001535502 Release Date: 03/06/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Arnold Schoenberg
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra
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  • 20.
    Label: Archipel   Catalog: ARPCD0361 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Carl Schuricht
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  • 21.
    Sensual Classics: Desire
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 300254 Release Date: 09/13/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Antonín Dvorák,  Hector Berlioz  ... 
    Performer:  Annerose Schmidt
    Conductor:  Georges Sebastian,  Herbert Kegel,  Arthur Apelt,  Franz Konwitschny  ... 
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  • 22.
    Birgit Nilsson Sings Wagner
    Label: Eloquence   Catalog: 4803550 Release Date: 08/02/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Birgit Nilsson,  Helge Brilioth,  Norman Bailey,  Grace Hoffman
    Conductor:  Leif Segerstam,  Sir Colin Davis,  Hans Knappertsbusch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  John Alldis Choir,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 23.
    Wagner: Piano Transcriptions / Chitose Okashiro
    Label: Pro Piano   Catalog: 224521 Release Date: 06/21/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gabriel Fauré,  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Ju-Ying Song,  Chitose Okashiro
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  • 24.
    Richard Wagner: Organ Transcriptions
    Label: Tactus   Catalog: 812301 Release Date: 06/14/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Giulio Mercati
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  • 25.
    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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