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: Tristan und Isolde / Gould, Thielemann, Bayreuther Festspiele
Release Date: 07/08/2016   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 002503809   Number of Discs: 2
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The Wagner Opera Experience
Release Date: 02/22/2011   Label: Warner Classics  
Catalog: 83449   Number of Discs: 2
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Wagner: Die Walkure Act 2 / Flagstad, Lehmann, Melchior, Schorr, Reiner
Release Date: 07/30/2013   Label: Music & Arts  
Catalog: 1272   Number of Discs: 1
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Wagner: Der Ring - An Organ Transcription / Albrecht
Release Date: 08/12/2016   Label: Oehms  
Catalog: OC 072   Number of Discs: 2
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Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen / Solti
Release Date: 06/09/2015   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 002330102   Number of Discs: 16
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Work: Lohengrin: Act 1 Prelude

Browse 26-50 of 101 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    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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  • 27.
    Semperoper Edition, Vol. 3: Wagner Again?
    Label: Profil   Catalog: 11044 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Kurt Böhme,  Dora Zschille,  Margarete Bäumer,  Brünnhild Friedland  ... 
    Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe,  Joseph Keilberth,  Rolf Kleinert,  Gerhard Pflüger  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle,  Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra,  Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 28.
    Wagner: Orchestral Excerpts, Vol. 2 / Gerard Schwarz, Seattle Symphony
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8572768 Release Date: 08/28/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Alessandra Marc
    Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Seattle Symphony Orchestra
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  • 29.
    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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  • 30.
    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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  • 31.
    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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  • 32.
    Wagner: Orchestral Highlights / Klemperer
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 6782992 Release Date: 03/26/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 33.
    Arturo Toscanini: The Wagner Recordings
    Label: Opus Kura   Catalog: 2096 Release Date: 03/13/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Helen Traubel
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
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  • 34.
    Label: Andromeda   Catalog: 5034 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Richard Wagner,  Christoph W. Gluck,  Franz Joseph Haydn  ... 
    Performer:  Edwin Fischer
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler
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  • 35.
    Mravinsky Conducts The Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 698905 Release Date: 07/26/2011   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Mikhail Glinka,  Alexander Glazunov,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Conductor:  Yevgeny Mravinsky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 36.
    Wagner: Favourite Overtures & Preludes / Simonov, Philharmonia Orchestra
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 1165 Release Date: 07/12/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Yuri Simonov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 37.
    Richard Wagner: Organ Transcriptions
    Label: Tactus   Catalog: 812301 Release Date: 06/14/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Giulio Mercati
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  • 38.
    Toscanini: Christmas Day 1937 & Farewell Concert 1954
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 2369/70 Release Date: 06/14/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Spoken Word,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Johannes Brahms,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
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  • 39.
    Klaus Tennstedt - The Great EMI Recordings
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 94433 Release Date: 06/07/2011   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Anton Bruckner,  Richard Strauss  ... 
    Performer:  Jessye Norman,  Jorma Hynninen
    Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  BBC Symphony Chorus,  London Philharmonic Choir  ... 
    CD: $58.99
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  • 40.
    Toscanini Collection Vol 49 - Wagner: Orchestral Opera Excerpts
    Label: Rca Victor Gold Seal   Catalog: 60306 Release Date: 03/08/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
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  • 41.
    The Wagner Opera Experience
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 83449 Release Date: 02/22/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Jane Eaglen,  Rolando Villazón,  Felicity Palmer,  René Pape  ... 
    Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Staatskapelle Berlin,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 42.
    Wagner: Lohengrin Highlights / Solti, Domingo, Norman, Fischer-Dieskau
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 425530 Release Date: 12/17/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Eva Randová,  Placido Domingo,  Hans Sotin,  Siegmund Nimsgern  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 43.
    The Ultimate Wagner Opera Album
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8578070-71 Release Date: 12/14/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Ingrid Haubold,  Marga Schiml,  Hedwig Fassbender,  John Erik Eleby  ... 
    Conductor:  Pinchas Steinberg,  Uwe Mund,  Michael Halász,  Johannes Wildner  ... 
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  • 44.
    Icon - Rudolf Kempe
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 29557 Release Date: 09/14/2010   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov  ... 
    Performer:  Paul Tortelier,  Teresa Zylis-Gara,  Sylvia Geszty,  Gundula Janowitz  ... 
    Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 45.
    Seiji Ozawa - Anniversary
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001464002 Release Date: 09/14/2010   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Hector Berlioz,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Trevor Pinnock,  Everett Firth,  Simon Preston,  Kathleen Battle  ... 
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  San Francisco Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 46.
    Wagner: Wesendonck Lieder, Overtures / Brueggergosman, Welser-Most, Cleveland
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001450302 Release Date: 07/27/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Measha Brueggergosman
    Conductor:  Franz Welser-Möst
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
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  • 47.
    Label: Archipel   Catalog: 467 Release Date: 03/30/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Charles Gounod
    Conductor:  André Cluytens
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  • 48.
    19th Century Masterpieces
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 98317 Release Date: 11/17/2009   Number of Discs: 17
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Paul Dukas,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Lucia Popp,  Emmanuel Pahud,  Aldo Ciccolini,  Elisabeth Schwarzkopf  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult,  Carlo Maria Giulini,  Michel Plasson,  Eugene Ormandy  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Capitole Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $116.99
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  • 49.
    Wagner: Siegfried Idyll / Marek Janowski, Radio France
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 59689 Release Date: 08/10/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Marek Janowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  ORTF Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 50.
    Beethoven: Choral Fantasy, Etc;  Wagner / Semkow, St. Louis
    Label: Vox Box   Catalog: 5104 Release Date: 05/22/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Walter Klien
    Conductor:  Jerzy Semkow
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Louis Symphony Orchestra,  St. Louis Symphony Chorus
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