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: Masterworks (Dvd)  
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 Gala / Kaufmann, Thielemann, Dresden
Release Date: 01/28/2014   Label: C Major  
Catalog: 714908   Number of Discs: 1
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Wagner: Der Ring Des Nibelungen / Barenboim, Bayreuth Festival [blu-ray]
Release Date: 10/30/2012   Label: Kultur Video  
Catalog: 4755   Number of Discs: 4
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Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen / Barenboim
Release Date: 10/25/2011   Label: Kultur Video  
Catalog: 4755   Number of Discs: 11
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Work: Der fliegende Holländer: Overture

Browse 1-25 of 135 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.
    The Sea In Music
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8578269 Release Date: 02/25/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Arnold Bax,  Frank Bridge,  Claude Debussy,  Sir Edward Elgar  ... 
    Performer:  Sarah Connolly,  István Kassai,  François-Joël Thiollier
    Conductor:  David Lloyd-Jones,  James Judd,  Jun Märkl,  Simon Wright  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra,  New Zealand Symphony Orchestra,  Lyon National Orchestra  ... 
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  • 3.
    Wagner Gala / Kaufmann, Thielemann, Dresden
    Label: C Major   Catalog: 714908 Release Date: 01/28/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Jonas Kaufmann
    Conductor:  Christian Thielemann
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
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  • 4.
    Wagner Gala / Kaufmann, Thielemann, Staatskapelle Dresden [blu-ray]
    Label: C Major   Catalog: 715004 Release Date: 01/28/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Jonas Kaufmann
    Conductor:  Christian Thielemann
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
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  • 5.
    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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  • 6.
    Overtures & Orchestral
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 2014 Release Date: 07/12/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Yuri Simonov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 7.
    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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  • 8.
    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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  • 9.
    Wagner In Switzerland
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 5479412 Release Date: 04/30/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Egils Silins
    Conductor:  David Zinman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra
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  • 10.
    Wagner: Wesendonck-lieder, Overtures / Stemme, Dausgaard, Swedish Chamber Orchestra
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 2022 Release Date: 04/30/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Katarina Andreasson,  Nina Stemme
    Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Swedish Chamber Orchestra
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  • 11.
    Early Romantic Overtures / Norrington, London Classical Players
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 282742 Release Date: 04/09/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Hector Berlioz,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Conductor:  Roger Norrington
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Classical Players
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  • 12.
    Wagner: Heavy Classix - The Ultimate Collection
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001819702 Release Date: 04/02/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Cvetka Ahlin,  Danica Mastilovic,  Barbro Ericson,  Lilo Brockhaus  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Karl Böhm,  Eugen Jochum,  Rafael Kubelik  ... 
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  • 13.
    Wagner: Operatic Highlights; Strauss: Tone Poems / Klemperer
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 484682 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Christa Ludwig
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 14.
    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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  • 15.
    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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  • 16.
    The Art Of Sir Georg Solti
    Label: Imports   Catalog: 1037609 Release Date: 03/05/2013   Number of Discs: 25
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Zoltán Kodály,  Leó Weiner,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Alexandru Agache,  Tamás Daróczy,  Julia Varády,  Iris Vermillion  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Hungarian Radio/TV Chorus,  Budapest Festival Orchestra  ... 
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  • 17.
    EMI Eminence - The Original Jacket Collection [50-CD Set]
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 393872 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Richard Strauss,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  William Byrd  ... 
    Performer:  David Nolan,  Jonathan Small,  George Malcolm,  William Bennett  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Anton Rickenbacher,  Vernon Handley,  George Guest,  George Malcolm  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra,  Cambridge St. John's College Choir  ... 
    On sale! $201.98
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  • 18.
    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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  • 19.
    Wagner: Orchestral Excerpts Vol 1 / Schwarz, Seattle Symphony
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8572767 Release Date: 08/28/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Seattle Symphony Orchestra
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  • 20.
    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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  • 21.
    The Hindsley Legacy / University Of Illinois Concert Band
    Label: Mark Masters   Catalog: 5637665113 Release Date: 08/10/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Mikhail Glinka,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov  ... 
    Conductor:  Mark H. Hindsley
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  University of Illinois Concert Band
    CD: $23.99
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  • 22.
    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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  • 23.
    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,  Martin Ritzmann,  Hanne-Lore Kuhse  ... 
    Conductor:  Franz Konwitschny,  Heinz Fricke,  Otmar Suitner,  Hiroshi Wakasugi  ... 
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  • 24.
    50 Best Overtures & Preludes
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 27368 Release Date: 05/22/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Vincenzo Bellini  ... 
    Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini,  Gianluigi Gelmetti,  Lamberto Gardelli,  Sir Colin Davis  ... 
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  • 25.
    Best Overtures 100
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 27333 Release Date: 05/22/2012   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Vincenzo Bellini  ... 
    Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini,  Gianluigi Gelmetti,  Lamberto Gardelli,  Sir Colin Davis  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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