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: Tristan und Isolde: Prelude and Liebestod

Browse 51-75 of 82 Available Recordings
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  • 51.
    Lotte Lehman Sings Lieder & Orchestral Songs 1941-1950
    Label: Vai Audio   Catalog: 1247 Release Date: 12/27/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Michael Praetorius,  Bernhard Flies,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Paul Ulanowsky,  Lotte Lehmann,  Bruno Walter
    Conductor:  Pierre Monteux,  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  San Francisco Symphony Orchestra,  Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra
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  • 52.
    Karajan Collection - Wagner: Orchestral Music / Berlin PO
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 76896 Release Date: 08/16/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Deutsche Oper Chorus
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  • 53.
    Wagner: Preludes & Overtures / Kreizberg, Netherlands Po
    Label: Pentatone   Catalog: 5186041 Release Date: 12/14/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Yakov Kreizberg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 54.
    Wagner: Die Meistersinger / Wilhelm Furtwängler
    Label: Music & Arts Programs Of America   Catalog: 1153 Release Date: 11/30/2004   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Erich Zimmermann,  Fritz Krenn,  Camilla Kallab,  Josef Greindl  ... 
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival Chorus,  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 55.
    Carl Schuricht-collection - Bruckner: Symphony No 7;  Wagner
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 93147 Release Date: 08/01/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anton Bruckner,  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Carl Schuricht
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 56.
    Wagner: Orchestral Music / Herbert Von Karajan, Berlin Po
    Label: Emi Great Recordings Of The Century   Catalog: 62772 Release Date: 04/06/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Deutsche Oper Chorus
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  • 57.
    Wagner: Orchestral Works, Etc / Stokowski, Verrett, Arroyo
    Label: Rca 24/96 Sound Dimension   Catalog: 55306 Release Date: 01/13/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Louise Parker,  Carlotta Ordassy,  Martina Arroyo,  Doris Yarick  ... 
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Symphony of the Air
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  • 58.
    Wagner: Tristan Prelude And Liebestod, Etc / Flagstad, Et Al
    Label: Opus Kura   Catalog: 2035 Release Date: 09/30/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Kirsten Flagstad
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 59.
    James Levine - A Celebration In Music
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000041502 Release Date: 06/10/2003   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Richard Strauss,  Igor Stravinsky,  Anton Webern  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 60.
    Original Masters - Wilhelm Furtwängler - Live Recordings
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 474030 Release Date: 02/11/2003   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Maurice Ravel,  César Franck,  Paul Hindemith  ... 
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 61.
    Wagner: Orchestral Music From Operas / Kempe, Vienna Po
    Label: Testament   Catalog: 1274 Release Date: 01/14/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 62.
    Wagner: Orchestral Music / Klemperer, Philharmonia Orchestra
    Label: Emi Great Recordings Of The Century   Catalog: 67896 Release Date: 09/17/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 63.
    Leonard Bernstein - The Unanswered Question
    Label: Kultur Video   Catalog: 1570 Release Date: 11/20/2001   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler,  Maurice Ravel,  Charles Ives,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
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  • 64.
    Carl Schuricht - Unissued Recordings From The Archives
    Label: Music & Arts Programs Of America   Catalog: 1094 Release Date: 10/23/2001   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johann Christian Bach,  Richard Wagner,  Anton Bruckner  ... 
    Performer:  Enrico Mainardi
    Conductor:  Carl Schuricht
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 65.
    Klemperer Legacy - Wagner: Orchestral Works Vol 2
    Label: Emi Classics Special Import   Catalog: 66806 Release Date: 10/17/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 66.
    Chopin, Prokofiev, Wagner / Pyotr Dmitriev
    Label: Boheme Music   Catalog: 906069 Release Date: 09/26/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Frédéric Chopin
    Performer:  Peter Dmitriev
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  • 67.
    Wagner Highlights Arranged For Two Pianos / Nagai, Achatz
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 976 Release Date: 11/15/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Dag Achatz,  Inzuki "Yukie" Nagai
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  • 68.
    Reger, Karg-elert: Organ Transcriptions / Arturo Sacchetti
    Label: Arts Music   Catalog: 47555 Release Date: 08/17/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Franz Liszt,  Franz Schubert,  Hugo Wolf  ... 
    Performer:  Arturo Sacchetti
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  • 69.
    Wagner: Overtures And Orchestral Music / Jansons, Oslo Po
    Label: Emi Seraphim   Catalog: 73299 Release Date: 04/20/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Mariss Jansons
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 70.
    Wagner: Overtures And Preludes / Haitink, Concertgebouw
    Label: Philips Silverline Classics   Catalog: 420886 Release Date: 04/03/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
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  • 71.
    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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  • 72.
    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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  • 73.
    Bellini, Wagner / Jane Eaglen
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 62032 Release Date: 10/15/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Vincenzo Bellini
    Performer:  Jane Eaglen,  Anne-Marie Owens
    Conductor:  Mark Elder
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment,  New Company Singers
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  • 74.
    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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  • 75.
    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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