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: The Ring - An Orchestral Adventure - Arranged by Henk de Vlieger
Release Date: 01/28/2014   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 2052   Number of Discs: 1
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Elgar: Sea Pictures;  Wagner: Wesendonck Lieder;  Etc
Release Date: 04/04/1994   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 530   Number of Discs: 1
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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 Highlights Arranged For Two Pianos / Nagai, Achatz
Release Date: 11/15/1999   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 976   Number of Discs: 1
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Wagner: Orchestral Excerpts From Operas / Tennstedt, Et Al
Release Date: 10/18/2005   Label: Lpo  
Catalog: 3   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Tristan und Isolde: Liebestod

Browse 1-25 of 148 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Callas Remastered
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 633991 Release Date: 09/23/2014   Number of Discs: 70
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini,  Richard Wagner,  Amilcare Ponchielli,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Gianni Poggi,  Fedora Barbieri,  Paolo Silveri  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Basile,  Antonino Votto,  Gabriele Santini,  Tullio Serafin  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Turin,  Italian Radio Chorus Turin,  Milan Teatro alla Scala 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.
    Ludmila Dvorakova Sings Wagner & Smetana
    Label: Supraphon   Catalog: 4137 Release Date: 09/24/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Bedrich Smetana
    Performer:  Ludmila Dvoráková
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  • 4.
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 22336 Release Date: 07/16/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Christoph W. Gluck
    Performer:  Kirsten Flagstad
    Conductor:  Georges Sebastian,  Johan Hye-Knudsen
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  • 5.
    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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  • 6.
    Label: Gala   Catalog: 7702567 Release Date: 06/14/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini,  Gioachino Rossini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas
    Conductor:  Georges Sebastian,  Nicola Rescigno,  Georges Prętre,  Antonino Votto  ... 
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  • 7.
    Great Wagner Voices
    Label: Br Klassik   Catalog: 900310 Release Date: 05/28/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Ingrid Bjoner,  Elisabeth Grümmer,  Martina Arroyo,  Rudolf Schock  ... 
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  • 8.
    Great Wagner Singers [6-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001826302 Release Date: 04/30/2013   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Hans Hotter,  Sieglinde Wagner,  Dame Gwyneth Jones,  Gundula Janowitz  ... 
    Conductor:  Heinrich Hollreiser,  Wilhelm Pitz,  Ferdinand Leitner,  Richard Kraus  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian State Opera Orchestra,  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra,  Bayreuth Festival Chorus  ... 
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  • 9.
    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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  • 10.
    Wagner: Meistersinger; Lohengrin; Parsifal; Tristan Und Isolde
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001819302 Release Date: 04/02/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Christian Thielemann
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  • 11.
    Karajan Adagio: Music To Free Your Mind
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001805202 Release Date: 03/05/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Pietro Mascagni,  Johann Pachelbel,  Gustav Mahler,  Jules Massenet  ... 
    Performer:  Wolfgang Meyer,  Frank Maus,  Michel Schwalbé,  Karlheinz Zöller  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
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  • 12.
    50 Best Sensual Classics
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 333022 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  James Horner,  Pietro Mascagni,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Nino Rota  ... 
    Performer:  Jean-Bernard Pommier,  Cécile Ousset,  Mikhail Rudy,  Natasha Marsh  ... 
    Conductor:  Mariss Jansons,  Lawrence Foster,  Simon Rattle,  François-Xavier Roth  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Cellists,  Ahn Trio,  Virtuosi
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  • 13.
    Solti: The Legacy, 1937-1997
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001777802 Release Date: 12/04/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Benjamin Britten,  Umberto Giordano,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Margaret Price,  Tito Gobbi,  Mirella Freni,  Willi Domgraf-Fassbaender  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti,  Arturo Toscanini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chamber Orchestra of Europe,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 14.
    Harry Begian
    Label: Klavier Records   Catalog: 56001 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Paul Hindemith,  Alfred Reed,  Richard Wagner,  Johannes Hanssen  ... 
    Conductor:  Harry Begian
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  • 15.
    The Essential Wagner
    Label: Emi 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  ... 
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  • 16.
    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
    CD: $9.99
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  • 17.
    Maria Callas - The Live Recitals
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 59794 Release Date: 08/28/2012   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Léo Delibes,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Nicola Rescigno,  Sir Malcolm Sargent,  Jeffrey Tate
    Conductor:  Oliviero de Fabritiis,  Georges Prętre,  Nicola Rescigno,  Alfredo Simonetto  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Rome,  ORTF National Orchestra,  Dallas Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 18.
    Voices Of German Opera
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 40497 Release Date: 07/31/2012   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Carl Maria von Weber,  Heinrich Marschner  ... 
    Performer:  Natalie Dessay,  Edda Moser,  Kurt Moll,  Walter Berry  ... 
    Conductor:  Louis Langrée,  Wolfgang Sawallisch,  Berislav Klobucar,  Rudolf Moralt  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment,  Bavarian State Opera Orchestra,  Berlin Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 19.
    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
    CD: $8.99
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  • 20.
    The Very Best Of Jessye Norman
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 21725 Release Date: 07/17/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Franz Schubert,  Johannes Brahms,  Jacques Offenbach  ... 
    Performer:  Jessye Norman,  Irwin Gage,  Anne Murray,  Dale Duesing  ... 
    Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt,  Sylvain Cambreling,  Riccardo Muti,  Michel Plasson
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  • 21.
    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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  • 22.
    Martha Modl: The Portrait Of A Legend
    Label: Profil   Catalog: 12006 Release Date: 04/24/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Richard Strauss,  Wolfgang Fortner,  Aribert Reimann  ... 
    Performer:  Martha Mödl
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  • 23.
    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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  • 24.
    Strauss, Wagner, Mahler / Dijkstra, Bavarian Radio Chorus
    Label: Br Klassik   Catalog: 900503 Release Date: 03/27/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Gustav Mahler,  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Peter Dijkstra
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Chorus
    CD: $17.99
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  • 25.
    Arturo Toscanini: The Wagner Recordings
    Label: Opus Kura   Catalog: 2096 Release Date: 03/13/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Helen Traubel
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
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