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

Ives: Three Places in New England; Sibelius, Wagner / Michael Tilson Thomas
Release Date: 09/24/2013   Label: Ica Classics  
Catalog: 5111   Number of Discs: 1
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Brahms: Symphony No 2; Wagner: Tannhauser Overture / Kempe
Release Date: 11/19/2013   Label: Ica Classics  
Catalog: 5119   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: Der Fliegende Hollander / Selig, Merbeth, Muzek, Thielemann, Bayreuth Festival Orchestra
Release Date: 07/29/2014   Label: Opus Arte  
Catalog: 1140   Number of Discs: 1
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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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Work: Farewell and Magic Fire Music

Browse 1-25 of 101 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Teldec - 50-CD Collection
    Label: Teldec   Catalog: 643851 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Antonín Dvorák,  Franz Joseph Haydn  ... 
    Performer:  András Schiff,  Josef Protschka,  Barbara Bonney,  Edita Gruberova  ... 
    Conductor:  Iván Fischer,  Nikolaus Harnoncourt,  Carlo Rizzi,  Reinbert De Leeuw  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Budapest Festival Orchestra,  Chamber Orchestra of Europe,  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra  ... 
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  • 2.
    Label: Gala   Catalog: 100668 Release Date: 11/01/2013   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Louise Trenton,  Arthur Fear,  Nellie Walker,  Elsie Suddaby  ... 
    Conductor:  Albert Coates,  Leo Blech,  Lawrence Collingwood,  Sir John Barbirolli  ... 
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  • 3.
    My Wagner Album / Christian Thielemann
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001884102 Release Date: 08/27/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Paul Schöffler,  Brigitte Fassbaender,  Thomas Stewart,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau  ... 
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler,  Christian Thielemann,  Hans Knappertsbusch,  Carlos Kleiber  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus  ... 
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  • 4.
    Great Wagner Voices
    Label: Br Klassik   Catalog: 900310 Release Date: 05/28/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Ingrid Bjoner,  Elisabeth Grümmer,  Martina Arroyo,  Rudolf Schock  ... 
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  • 5.
    Wagner: Der Ring Des Nibelungen (Highlights) / Janowski, Dresden Staatskapelle
    Label: Eurodisc   Catalog: 542093 Release Date: 05/28/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Jeanine Altmeyer,  Theo Adam,  René Kollo,  Peter Schreier  ... 
    Conductor:  Marek Janowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
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  • 6.
    Label: Gala   Catalog: 7704647 Release Date: 05/24/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Richard Strauss,  Carl Maria von Weber  ... 
    Performer:  Hermann Uhde,  Jerome Hines,  Lisa Della Casa,  Christel Goltz  ... 
    Conductor:  Fritz Stiedry,  Dimitri Mitropoulos,  H. Eckner,  Fausto Cleva  ... 
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  • 7.
    The Complete Arthur Endreze
    Label: Marston   Catalog: 55001 Release Date: 05/01/2013   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Jules Massenet,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Ambroise Thomas  ... 
    Performer:  Arthur Endrèze,  Gaston Micheletti,  René Verdière,  Paul-Henri Vergnes  ... 
    Conductor:  Henri Défosse,  Gustav Cloëz,  François Ruhlmann,  Selmar Meyrowitz
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  • 8.
    Great Wagner Singers [6-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001826302 Release Date: 04/30/2013   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Hans Hotter,  Sieglinde Wagner,  Dame Gwyneth Jones,  Gundula Janowitz  ... 
    Conductor:  Heinrich Hollreiser,  Wilhelm Pitz,  Ferdinand Leitner,  Richard Kraus  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian State Opera Orchestra,  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra,  Bayreuth Festival Chorus  ... 
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  • 9.
    Richard Wagner: Der Ring Des Nibelungen - Great Scenes
    Label: Opus Arte   Catalog: 9011 Release Date: 04/30/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Andrew Shore,  Albert Dohmen,  Ralf Lukas,  Endrik Wottrich  ... 
    Conductor:  Christian Thielemann
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra
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  • 10.
    Wagner In Switzerland
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 5479412 Release Date: 04/30/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Egils Silins
    Conductor:  David Zinman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra
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  • 11.
    The Britannic Organ, Vol. 5: Richard Wagner On Welte
    Label: Oehms   Catalog: 844 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Kurt Grosse,  Clarence Eddy,  Emil Paur,  Samuel Atkinson Baldwin  ... 
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  • 12.
    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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  • 13.
    Voices Of German Opera
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 40497 Release Date: 07/31/2012   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Carl Maria von Weber,  Heinrich Marschner  ... 
    Performer:  Natalie Dessay,  Edda Moser,  Kurt Moll,  Walter Berry  ... 
    Conductor:  Louis Langrée,  Wolfgang Sawallisch,  Berislav Klobucar,  Rudolf Moralt  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment,  Bavarian State Opera Orchestra,  Berlin Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 14.
    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,  Hanne-Lore Kuhse,  Martin Ritzmann  ... 
    Conductor:  Franz Konwitschny,  Heinz Fricke,  Otmar Suitner,  Hiroshi Wakasugi  ... 
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  • 15.
    The Road Not Taken / Washington Trombone Ensemble
    Label: Summit Records   Catalog: 589 Release Date: 04/10/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Norman Bolter,  Johannes Brahms,  James M. Stephenson,  Rob Deemer  ... 
    Performer:  Sam Woodhead,  Matthew Guilford,  Jonathan J. Deutsch
    Conductor:  Chris Branagan,  Jon Kalbfleisch,  John Marcellus
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Washington Trombone Ensemble
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  • 16.
    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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  • 17.
    Wagner / Pape, Barenboim, Staatskapelle Berlin
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001529702 Release Date: 10/04/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  René Pape,  Placido Domingo
    Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Staatskapelle Orchestra
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  • 18.
    The Very Best Of Dietrich Fischer-dieskau
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 94768 Release Date: 07/26/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Johannes Brahms,  Hugo Wolf,  Richard Strauss  ... 
    Performer:  Gerald Moore,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau,  Wolfgang Sawallisch,  Robert Veyron-Lacroix  ... 
    Conductor:  Alberto Erede,  Sir John Barbirolli,  George Szell,  Philip Ledger
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  • 19.
    Wagner: Opera Arias / Simon Estes
    Label: Newton Classics   Catalog: 8802071 Release Date: 06/28/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Simon Estes,  Eva-Maria Bundschuh,  Heinz Reeh
    Conductor:  Heinz Fricke
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Staatskapelle Orchestra
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  • 20.
    Klaus Tennstedt - The Great EMI Recordings
    Label: Emi 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  ... 
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  • 21.
    Gustav Neidlinger
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 93475 Release Date: 02/08/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Richard Wagner,  Richard Strauss,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Gustav Neidlinger,  Rudolf Schock,  Hans Hotter,  Josef Greindl  ... 
    Conductor:  Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt,  Rudolf Kempe,  Clemens Krauss,  Hans Knappertsbusch  ... 
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  • 22.
    Hans Schmidt-isserstedt - The Capitol Recordings
    Label: Tahra   Catalog: 694 Release Date: 12/14/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Franz Schubert,  Johannes Brahms,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Ventislaw Yankov
    Conductor:  Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Northwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 23.
    Wagner: Der Ring Des Nibelungen - Orchestral Highlights / Runnicles
    Label: Apex   Catalog: 2564680434 Release Date: 11/26/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Donald Runnicles
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
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  • 24.
    Georg Hann Edition Vol 3 - Wagner
    Label: Hafg   Catalog: 10102 Release Date: 10/15/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Georg Hann,  Hans Hotter,  Wilhelm Schirp,  Thea Kempf  ... 
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  • 25.
    Dokumente Einter Sangerkarriere: Hermann Uhde
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 93471 Release Date: 09/14/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Carl Maria von Weber,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Hermann Uhde
    Conductor:  Ferdinand Leitner,  Munich Philharmonic Orche,  Arthur Rother,  Hans Knappertsbusch  ... 
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