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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 / Kaufmann, Pape, Gatti, Met Opera [Blu-ray]
Release Date: 04/01/2014   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 372572   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Tristan und Isolde: Prelude and Liebestod

Browse 1-25 of 78 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Karajan - 1980s
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002187902 Release Date: 12/09/2014   Number of Discs: 78
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Anton Bruckner,  Johannes Brahms,  Jacques Offenbach  ... 
    Performer:  David Bell,  José Van Dam,  Barbara Hendricks,  Gösta Winbergh  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Domenico Bartolucci
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein  ... 
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  • 2.
    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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  • 3.
    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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  • 4.
    Bernard Haitink - The Philips Years [20-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001903502 Release Date: 09/24/2013   Number of Discs: 20
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Henryk Szeryng,  Herman Krebbers,  Menahem Pressler,  Isidore Cohen  ... 
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Beaux Arts Trio  ... 
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  • 5.
    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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  • 6.
    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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  • 7.
    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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  • 8.
    Richard Wagner: Magic Fire Conflagration - A Biography By Jorg Handstein
    Label: Br Klassik   Catalog: 900903 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Mariss Jansons
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $39.99
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  • 9.
    Leopold Stokowski - The Stereo Collection 1954-1975
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 1916852 Release Date: 08/21/2012   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Gustav Mahler,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Margaret Price,  Brigitte Fassbaender,  Anna Moffo,  Martina Arroyo  ... 
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  New Symphony Orchestra,  Norman Luboff Choir  ... 
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  • 10.
    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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  • 11.
    Wagner: Highlights From Tristan Und Isolde & Tannhauser
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 6164 Release Date: 03/13/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Yondani Butt
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  • 12.
    Edition Wilhelm Furtwangler [14 LP set]
    Label: Audite   Catalog: AUD87101 Release Date: 01/31/2012   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Anton Bruckner,  Franz Schubert,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
    LP: $349.99
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  • 13.
    Celibidache  Vol 4 - Sacred Music & Opera / Munich Phiharmonic
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 85617 Release Date: 11/29/2011   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Johannes Brahms,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Anton Scharinger,  Yaron Windmuller,  Peter Schreier,  Barbara Bonney  ... 
    Conductor:  Sergiu Celibidache
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Philharmonic Orchestra,  Munich Philharmonic Choir,  Munich Bach Choir
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  • 14.
    Icon: William Steinberg
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 26486 Release Date: 10/11/2011   Number of Discs: 20
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Nathan Milstein,  Rudolf Firkusny
    Conductor:  William Steinberg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $63.99
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  • 15.
    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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  • 16.
    Fritz Busch Conducts Mendelssohn, Beethoven, Wagner, Alfven, Schubert
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 2366 Release Date: 01/11/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Conductor:  Fritz Busch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Winterthur Symphony Orchestra,  Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra,  Malmö Concerthouse Foundation Orchestra
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  • 17.
    Daniel Barenboim [4-DVD box set]
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2058238 Release Date: 10/26/2010   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Franz Liszt,  Astor Piazzolla,  Carlos Gardel,  Julio De Caro  ... 
    Performer:  Daniel Barenboim,  Leopoldo Federico
    Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buenos Aires Philharmonic Orchestra,  West-Eastern Divan Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
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    DVD: $90.49
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  • 18.
    Wagner: Orchestral Excerpts / Klemperer, Philharmonia Orchestra
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 31827 Release Date: 10/12/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 19.
    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,  Sylvia Geszty,  Teresa Zylis-Gara,  Gundula Janowitz  ... 
    Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    Recommendation
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  • 20.
    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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  • 21.
    Furtwangler - The Best Of The Early Recordings 1929-1943
    Label: Music & Arts   Catalog: 954 Release Date: 01/28/2010   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Christoph W. Gluck,  Gioachino Rossini,  Wilhelm Furtwängler  ... 
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler
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  • 22.
    Wagner: Orchestral Favorites From The Operas / Simonov
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 1065 Release Date: 01/26/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Yuri Simonov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 23.
    Waldbuhne Concert - A Romantic Opera Night
    Label: Kultur Video   Catalog: 4533 Release Date: 11/17/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Richard Strauss,  Paul Lincke
    Performer:  Ben Heppner
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 24.
    Ormandy Conducts Wagner - Die Meistersinger, Tannhauser, Tristan
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 38114 Release Date: 10/13/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
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  • 25.
    Edition Wilhelm Furtwängler - The Complete RIAS Recordings
    Label: Audite   Catalog: 21403 Release Date: 06/09/2009   Number of Discs: 13
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Richard Wagner,  Richard Strauss,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Gerhard Taschner,  Yehudi Menuhin
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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