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: Sony  
Catalog: 372558   Number of Discs: 2
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Wagner: Two Symphonies, Marches, Rienzi Overture / Jarvi, Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Release Date: 03/27/2012   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 5097   Number of Discs: 1
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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: Die Meistersinger Von Nurnberg / Gatti, Volle, Sacca, Gabler, Zeppenfeld
Release Date: 07/29/2014   Label: Euroarts  
Catalog: 72688   Number of Discs: 2
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Verdi & Wagner - The Odeonsplatz Concert / Thomas Hampson, Ronaldo Villazon, Yannick Nezet-seguin
Release Date: 07/29/2014   Label: C Major  
Catalog: 716708   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Lohengrin: Act 1 Prelude

Browse 101-122 of 122 Available Recordings
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  • 101.
    Wagner: Orchestral Music / Levine, The Met Orchestra
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 447764 Release Date: 09/16/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 102.
    Wagner: Overtures And Preludes / Bohm, Vienna Philharmonic
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 453989 Release Date: 09/08/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Karl Böhm
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 103.
    Jascha Horenstein Conducts Strauss, Wagner, Mahler, Et Al
    Label: Vox Box Legends   Catalog: 5529 Release Date: 10/22/1996   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Arnold Schoenberg,  Richard Wagner,  Gustav Mahler,  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Norman Foster
    Conductor:  Jascha Horenstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Bamberg Symphony Orchestra
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  • 104.
    Wagner: Scenes from Tannhauser, Lohengrin, Die Walkure / Varady, Seiffert
    Label: Emi Classics Special Import   Catalog: 56138 Release Date: 09/10/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Peter Seiffert,  Julia Varády
    Conductor:  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian State Opera Orchestra,  Bavarian State Opera Chorus
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  • 105.
    Ben Heppner Sings Lohengrin
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 68239 Release Date: 07/16/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Jan-Hendrik Rootering,  Ben Heppner,  Sharon Sweet,  Eva Martón  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Bavarian State Opera Chorus members,  Bavarian Radio Chorus
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  • 106.
    Wagner: Orchestral Music / Klaus Tennstedt
    Label: Emi Classics Double Fforte   Catalog: 68616 Release Date: 06/25/1996   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 107.
    Wagner: Orchestral Music / Ormandy, Szell
    Label: Sony Classical Essential Classics   Catalog: 62403 Release Date: 04/16/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  George Szell,  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra,  Philadelphia Orchestra
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  • 108.
    Wagner: Overtures And Preludes / Barenboim, Chicago So
    Label: Teldec   Catalog: 99595 Release Date: 01/09/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
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  • 109.
    Wagner: Overtures And Preludes / Rudolf Kempe, Adrian Boult
    Label: Emi Seraphim   Catalog: 69037 Release Date: 10/17/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe,  Sir Adrian Boult
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 110.
    Wagner: Overtures And Preludes / Böhm, Gerdes, Kubelik Et Al
    Label: Dg Double   Catalog: 439687 Release Date: 02/14/1995   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Otto Gerdes,  Karl Böhm,  Rafael Kubelik,  Eugen Jochum  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra,  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 111.
    Hans Knappertsbusch In London And In Switzerland
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 90189 Release Date: 02/07/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Johannes Brahms
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra,  Suisse Romande Orchestra
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  • 112.
    Max Von Schillings Dirigiert Richard Wagner
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 90080 Release Date: 02/07/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Max von Schillings
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin State Opera Orchestra
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  • 113.
    Bruno Walter Edition - Wagner: Orchestral Music
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 64456 Release Date: 01/24/1995   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Bruno Walter
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Columbia Symphony Orchestra
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  • 114.
    Wagner: Orchestral Favourites / Solti, Wiener Philharmoniker
    Label: London/Decca Double Decker   Catalog: 440606 Release Date: 10/11/1994   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein,  Vienna State Opera Chorus
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  • 115.
    Wagner: Preludes & Overtures / Dorati, London So
    Label: Mercury Living Presence   Catalog: 434342 Release Date: 09/20/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Antal Doráti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 116.
    Classical Music For People Who Hate Classical Music
    Label: Classical Heritage   Catalog: 1212 Release Date: 06/09/1994   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Johann Strauss Sr.  ... 
    Performer:  Hans-Christoph Becker-Foss,  Anna Lelkes,  Philippe Entremont,  Joseph Brezina  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Salzburg Camerata Academica,  London Festival Orchestra,  Vienna Volksoper Orchestra  ... 
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  • 117.
    The Best Of Wagner
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8556657 Release Date: 02/15/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Michael Halász,  Uwe Mund,  Johannes Wildner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra,  Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony,  Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra Katowice
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  • 118.
    The Royal Edition - Wagner: Orchestral Excerpts / Bernstein
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 47643 Release Date: 11/02/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
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  • 119.
    Wagner: The Ride Of The Valkyries, Etc. / Rickenbacher
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 9008 Release Date: 08/20/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Karl Anton Rickenbacher
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 120.
    Wagner: Overtures & Preludes / Adrian Boult
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 62539 Release Date: 09/29/1992   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 121.
    Wagner: Lohengrin (Highlights)
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8550136 Release Date: 06/30/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Michael Halász
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 122.
    Wagner: Overtures - Selections / Walter, Columbia Symphony
    Label: Cbs Masterworks   Catalog: 42050 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Bruno Walter
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Columbia Symphony Orchestra
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