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Richard Wagner


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: Symphony in C Major / Markl, MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony
Release Date: 03/10/2017   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8573413   Number of Discs: 1
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Wagner: Das Rheingold / DeYoung, Goerne, Begley, Reid, Samuil, van Zweden
Release Date: 11/13/2015   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8660374   Number of Discs: 2
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Wagner: Siegfried / Zweden, Hong Kong Philharmonic
Release Date: 11/10/2017   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8660413   Number of Discs: 4
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The Wagner Project / Goerne, Harding, Swedish Radio Symphony
Release Date: 12/08/2017   Label: Harmonia Mundi  
Catalog: 902250   Number of Discs: 2
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Wagner: Siegfried / Zweden, Hong Kong Philharmonic [Blu-ray Audio]
Release Date: 11/10/2017   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: NBD0069A   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Tannhäuser: Dich, teure Halle

Browse 76-83 of 83 Available Recordings
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  • 76.
    Evelyn Lear And Thomas Stewart Sing Wagner & Strauss
    Label: Vai Audio   Catalog: 1011 Release Date: 11/06/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Thomas Stewart,  Evelyn Lear
    CD: $15.99
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  • 77.
    Anna Tomowa-sintow - Famous Opera Arias
    Label: Orfeo   Catalog: 106841 Release Date: 05/23/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Richard Wagner,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Richard Strauss  ... 
    Performer:  Anna Tomowa-Sintow
    Conductor:  Peter Sommer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $22.49
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  • 78.
    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
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  • 79.
    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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  • 80.
    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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  • 81.
    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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  • 82.
    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: $14.99
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  • 83.
    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
    CD: $14.99
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