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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: Der fliegende Holländer: Overture

Browse 1-25 of 123 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Decca - Vienna Philharmonic - The Orchestral Edition
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002227902 Release Date: 12/09/2014   Number of Discs: 65
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Tom Krause,  Werner Krenn,  Elly Ameling,  Werner Tripp  ... 
    Conductor:  Pierre Monteux,  Herbert von Karajan,  Karl Münchinger,  Leonard Bernstein  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus,  Vienna Singverein  ... 
    On sale! $199.98
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  • 2.
    Pierre Boulez - The Complete Columbia Album Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 301333 Release Date: 11/24/2014   Number of Discs: 67
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Alexander Scriabin,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Alban Berg  ... 
    Performer:  Karl Dönch,  Isabel Strauss,  Walter Berry,  Fritz Uhl  ... 
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez,  Anton Webern
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  Camerata Singers,  Schola Cantorum New York  ... 
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  • 3.
    Seiji Ozawa - The Philips Years: Original Jacket Collection [50-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002185602 Release Date: 11/18/2014   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Béla Bartók,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Hector Berlioz  ... 
    Performer:  Mariko Kobayashi,  Everett Firth,  Hiroshi Arimori,  Sawako Yasue  ... 
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  Saito Kinen Orchestra,  Ambrosian Singers  ... 
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  • 4.
    Leonard Bernstein Edition - Concertos & Orchestral Works
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 301330 Release Date: 10/27/2014   Number of Discs: 80
    Composer:  Samuel Barber,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Béla Bartók  ... 
    Performer:  Isaac Stern,  Leonard Bernstein,  Harold Gomberg,  William Heim  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Seiji Ozawa,  Maurice Peress
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  New York Philharmonic members,  Columbia Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 5.
    Wagner: Orchestral Music
    Label: Praga   Catalog: 350107 Release Date: 06/10/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler
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  • 6.
    James Rutherford Sings Wagner
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 2080 Release Date: 05/27/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  James Rutherford
    Conductor:  Andrew Litton
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 7.
    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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  • 8.
    Karajan 1951-1960: Mozart, Schubert, Brahms, Strauss, Wagner
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 633623 Release Date: 05/13/2014   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Richard Strauss,  Richard Wagner,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra
    CD: $74.49
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  • 9.
    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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  • 10.
    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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  • 11.
    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
    Blu-ray Video: $29.99
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  • 12.
    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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  • 13.
    Dedicated To The 200th Anniversary Of The Birth Of Richard Wagner
    Label: Melodiya   Catalog: 1002095 Release Date: 09/10/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Andrey Chistiakov,  Gennadi Rozhdestvensky,  Yevgeny Svetlanov,  Yevgeny Mravinsky  ... 
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  • 14.
    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
    CD: $21.99
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  • 15.
    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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  • 16.
    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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  • 17.
    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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  • 18.
    Wagner: Heavy Classix - The Ultimate Collection
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001819702 Release Date: 04/02/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Liselotte Rebmann,  Helga Jenckel,  Cvetka Ahlin,  Danica Mastilovic  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Karl Böhm,  Eugen Jochum,  Rafael Kubelik  ... 
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  • 19.
    Wagner: Operatic Highlights; Strauss: Tone Poems / Klemperer
    Label: Warner 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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  • 20.
    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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  • 21.
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 189 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Birgit Nilsson,  George London,  Christa [Mezzo-soprano Vocal] Ludwig
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
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  • 22.
    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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  • 23.
    The Essential Wagner
    Label: Warner 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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  • 24.
    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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  • 25.
    From Bach To Wagner / Boult, London Philharmonic Orchestra
    Label: Warner 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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