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
Carreras, Domingo, Pavarotti: The 3 Tenors Sing Puccini, Verdi, Donizetti, Bizet, Wagner And More
Release Date: 09/11/2015   Label: Rca  
Catalog: 88697757882   Number of Discs: 1
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Wagner: Overtures, Preludes & Orchestral Excerpts / Janowski, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin
Release Date: 09/09/2016   Label: Pentatone  
Catalog: 5186551   Number of Discs: 2
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Richard Wagner - The Bayreuth Edition [8 Blu-rays]
Release Date: 09/25/2015   Label: Opus Arte  
Catalog: 7184   Number of Discs: 8
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Wagner: Opera Scenes / Tennstedt, Norman, London Philharmonic
Release Date: 02/11/2014   Label: Warner Classics  
Catalog: 256463   Number of Discs: 1
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Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen / Solti
Release Date: 06/09/2015   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 002330102   Number of Discs: 16
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Work: Tannhäuser: O, du mein holder Abendstern

Browse 101-106 of 106 Available Recordings
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  • 101.
    Lebendige Vergangenheit - Gerhard Hüsch Vol 2
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89071 Release Date: 02/07/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Engelbert Humperdinck,  Richard Wagner,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Ambroise Thomas  ... 
    Performer:  Gerhard Hüsch,  Wilhelm Strienz,  Eugen Fuchs
    Conductor:  Hanns Udo Müller,  Alexander von Zemlinsky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin State Opera Orchestra,  Berlin City Opera Orchestra
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  • 102.
    Lebendige Vergangenheit - Heinrich Schlusnus
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89006 Release Date: 02/07/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Richard Wagner,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Heinrich Schlusnus
    Conductor:  Alois Melichar,  Leo Blech,  Johannes Schüler,  Gerhard Steeger
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin State Opera Orchestra
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  • 103.
    Lebendige Vergangenheit - Marcel Journet
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89021 Release Date: 02/07/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Jules Massenet,  J. Luce,  Omer Letorey  ... 
    Performer:  Marcel Journet,  Michel Cozette,  Fernand Ansseau
    Conductor:  Rosario Bourdon,  Piero Coppola,  Paul-Henri Büsser
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
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  • 104.
    Lebendige Vergangenheit - Riccardo Stracciari
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89003 Release Date: 02/07/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Giacomo Puccini,  Jules Massenet,  Giacomo Meyerbeer  ... 
    Performer:  Riccardo Stracciari
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  • 105.
    Prima Voce - Tibbett In Opera
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7825 Release Date: 12/02/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Lawrence Tibbett,  Giovanni Martinelli,  Leonard Warren,  Rose Bampton  ... 
    Conductor:  Nathaniel Shilkret,  Rosario Bourdon,  Wilfrid Pelletier,  Alexander Smallens  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Philadelphia Orchestra
    CD: $14.99
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  • 106.
    The Orchestra Sings - Great Operatic Themes For Orchestra / Dragon, Newman
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 65430 Release Date: 11/08/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gioachino Rossini,  Giacomo Puccini,  Charles Gounod  ... 
    Conductor:  Carmen Dragon,  Alfred Newman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capitol Symphony Orchestra,  Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra
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