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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
Richard Wagner - Great Recordings
Release Date: 02/26/2013   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 543504   Number of Discs: 40
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Wagner at The Met
Release Date: 04/09/2013   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 542717   Number of Discs: 25
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Toscanini Conducts Wagner
Release Date: 04/30/2013   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 541193   Number of Discs: 5
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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 / Pape, Denoke, Finley, Pappano, Royal Opera
Release Date: 11/18/2014   Label: Opus Arte  
Catalog: 1158   Number of Discs: 2
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Work: Tannhäuser: Dich, teure Halle

Browse 101-109 of 109 Available Recordings
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  • 101.
    Lebendige Vergangenheit - Barbara Kemp
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89056 Release Date: 02/07/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Meyerbeer,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Richard Strauss,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Barbara Kemp,  Delia Reinhardt,  Marion Claire
    Conductor:  Leo Blech
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin State Opera Orchestra
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 102.
    Lebendige Vergangenheit - Tiana Lemnitz
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89025 Release Date: 02/07/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Tiana Lemnitz
    Conductor:  Leo Blech,  Sir Thomas Beecham,  Bruno Seidler-Winkler,  Johannes Schüler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin State Opera Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
    On sale! $22.98
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  • 103.
    Kirsten Flagstad Vol 1 - The Early Recordings 1914-1941
    Label: Simax   Catalog: 1821 Release Date: 01/01/1995   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Edvard Grieg,  Eyvind Alnaes,  Sigurd Lie,  Christian Sinding  ... 
    Performer:  Kirsten Flagstad,  Eyvind Alnaes
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
    CD: $39.99
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  • 104.
    Kirsten Flagstad, Vol. 2: Live Performances 1935-1948
    Label: Simax   Catalog: 1822 Release Date: 01/01/1995   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Gioachino Rossini,  Carl Maria von Weber,  Traditional  ... 
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  • 105.
    Opera - Greatest Hits
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 66707 Release Date: 12/06/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Alexander Borodin,  Friedrich von Flotow  ... 
    Performer:  Agnes Baltsa,  Leo Nucci,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Richard Tucker  ... 
    Conductor:  Ion Marin,  Riccardo Chailly,  Emerson Buckley,  Emil Tchakarov  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Symphony Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Emilia Romagna Arturo Toscanini Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $8.99
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  • 106.
    The Art Of Frieda Leider
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89301 Release Date: 04/20/1994   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Richard Strauss,  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Frida Leider,  Carl Günther,  Martin Abendroth,  Heinrich Schlusnus  ... 
    On sale! $59.98
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  • 107.
    American Diva / Alessandrea Marc
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 3108 Release Date: 12/11/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Alfredo Catalani,  Francesco Cilèa,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Alessandra Marc
    Conductor:  Heinz Wallberg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $17.99
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  • 108.
    Prima Voce - Great Singers At The Berlin State Opera
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7848 Release Date: 12/02/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Engelbert Humperdinck,  Richard Strauss,  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Gerhard Hüsch,  Erna Berger,  Tiana Lemnitz,  Else Ruziczka  ... 
    Conductor:  Hanns Udo Müller,  Clemens Krauss,  Erich Orthmann,  Fritz Zweig  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin State Opera Orchestra,  Berlin Staatskapelle Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $11.99
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  • 109.
    Prima Voce - Kirsten Flagstad
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7847 Release Date: 12/02/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Richard Wagner,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Kirsten Flagstad
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy,  Edwin McArthur,  Hans Lange
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra,  San Francisco Opera Orchestra,  Orchestra
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