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: Der Ring des Nibelungen / Solti
Release Date: 06/09/2015   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 002330102   Number of Discs: 16
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Wagner: Lohengrin / Kempe, Grummer, Ludwig, Fischer-Dieskau
Release Date: 01/29/2016   Label: Warner Classics  
Catalog: 554009   Number of Discs: 2
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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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Wagner: Tristan und Isolde / Furtwangler, Flagstad, Schock, Fischer-Dieskau
Release Date: 04/06/2004   Label: Warner Classics  
Catalog: 85873   Number of Discs: 4
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Wagner: Parsifal / Meier, Barenboim, Berlin Philharmonic
Release Date: 05/20/2016   Label: Warner Classics  
Catalog: 555535   Number of Discs: 4
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Work: Lohengrin: Bridal Chorus

Browse 1-25 of 86 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Discover Opera
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 0300715 Release Date: 05/27/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Engelbert Humperdinck,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Martin Ritzmann,  Theo Adam,  Sylvia Geszty,  Ingeborg Springer  ... 
    Conductor:  Manfred Honeck,  Heinz Rögner,  Otmar Suitner,  Kurt Masur  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bamberg Symphony Orchestra,  Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Leipzig Radio Chorus  ... 
    CD: $11.99
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  • 2.
    Feierliche Kirchenmusik: In Freude und Trauer / Henry Albert Jr.
    Label: Zyx Records   Catalog: 1016 Release Date: 01/15/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dimitri Bortniansky,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Friedrich Silcher,  Erik Satie  ... 
    Performer:  Henry Albert Jr.
    CD: $10.99
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  • 3.
    The History of Classical Music in 24 Hours
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002403602 Release Date: 11/13/2015   Number of Discs: 24
    Composer:  Anonymous,  Pérotin,  Guillaume de Machaut,  John Dunstable  ... 
    Performer:  Konrad Ragossnig,  Charles [Tenor Vocals] Daniels,  Susan Gritton,  Trevor Pinnock  ... 
    Conductor:  Pater Godehard Joppich,  David Munrow,  Josef Ulsamer,  Bruno Turner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Early Music Consort of London,  Ulsamer-Collegium,  Hamburger Bläserkreis für Alte Musik  ... 
    CD: $75.49
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  • 4.
    Karajan: Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, R. Strauss, Opera Arias - 1946-1949
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 633618 Release Date: 04/08/2014   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Leopold Wlach,  Julius Patzak,  Elisabeth Schwarzkopf,  Elisabeth Höngen  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Friends of Music Chorus
    CD: $64.49
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  • 5.
    The Most Beautiful Opera Choruses, Vol. 2
    Label: Dacapo   Catalog: 984 Release Date: 03/11/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Modest Mussorgsky  ... 
    Performer:  Oleksandra [Mezzo-soprano Vocal] Kunitsyna
    Conductor:  Matthias G. Kendlinger
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  • 6.
    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  ... 
    CD: $39.99
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  • 7.
    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  ... 
    CD: $34.99
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  • 8.
    Label: Somerset Entertainment   Catalog: 50841 Release Date: 01/01/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Pachelbel,  Richard Wagner,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Charles Gounod  ... 
    Performer:  Bettina Gregory,  Lloyd Swenson,  Lucinda Walker,  Zachary Rossi  ... 
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  • 9.
    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  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 10.
    The Best Wedding Music Ever!
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 04106 Release Date: 09/18/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Johann Pachelbel,  George Frideric Handel,  Jeremiah Clarke  ... 
    Performer:  Frederic Bayco,  Ian Tracey,  Jane Parker-Smith,  Maurice André  ... 
    Conductor:  Andrew Parrott,  Eric Ericson,  Fritz Lehani,  George Fischer  ... 
    CD: $7.99
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  • 11.
    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  ... 
    CD: $14.99
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  • 12.
    Mariage / Hervieux, Gauvin, LeBlanc, Taylor, Belanger
    Label: Atma Classique   Catalog: 3009 Release Date: 06/26/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Louis Vierne,  César Franck,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Philippe Bélanger,  Marc Hervieux,  Régis Rousseau,  Stéphane Beaulac  ... 
    Conductor:  Bernard Labadie,  Francis Colpron
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Violons du Roy,  Les Boréades Montreal
    CD: $6.99
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  • 13.
    Classics For Your Wedding
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 623247 Release Date: 06/05/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Johann Pachelbel,  César Franck,  Gioachino Rossini  ... 
    Performer:  Aldo Ciccolini,  Marielle Labèque,  Katia Labèque,  David [Pipe Organ] Briggs  ... 
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink,  Andrew Parrott,  Stephen Cleobury,  Paavo Järvi  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Taverner Players,  Ensemble Orchestral de Paris,  Les Arts Florissants  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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  • 14.
    Richard Wagner: Lohengrin (Excerpts) (Bayreuth 1936)
    Label: Archipel   Catalog: 284 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Spoken Word,  Richard Wagner,  Richard Strauss
    CD: $9.99
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  • 15.
    Weddings From The Harp
    Label: Harp Music To Go   Catalog: 8907 Release Date: 11/22/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Pachelbel,  Richard Wagner,  Jeremiah Clarke,  Jean Joseph Mouret  ... 
    Performer:  Merry Miller
    CD: $13.99
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  • 16.
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 828262 Release Date: 11/01/2011   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Henry Purcell  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Wolfgang Gönnenwein,  David Munrow  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  Ambrosian Singers,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields  ... 
    CD: $19.99
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  • 17.
    Best Choruses 100
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 80416 Release Date: 11/01/2011   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Henry Purcell  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Wolfgang Gönnenwein,  David Munrow  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  Ambrosian Singers,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields  ... 
    CD: $21.99
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  • 18.
    Wedding Classics
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 82163 Release Date: 07/26/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Marc-Antoine Charpentier,  Johann Pachelbel,  Charles Gounod  ... 
    Performer:  Peter Seiffert,  Heinz [Tenor Vocal] Hoppe,  Pilar [Lyric soprano] Lorengar,  Hans Kalafusz  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Heinz Wallberg,  William Christie,  Andrew Parrott  ... 
    CD: $7.99
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  • 19.
    Choeurs de l'Opera de Vienne - Aida & Other Great Choruses / Bauer-Theussl
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 62608 Release Date: 05/31/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Georges Bizet,  Jacques Offenbach,  Charles Gounod  ... 
    Conductor:  Franz Bauer-Theussl
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Volksoper Orchestra,  Vienna Opera Chorus
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  • 20.
    Ultimate Wedding Collection [emi Classics]
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 27203 Release Date: 05/17/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  George Frideric Handel,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Markus Klinko,  Ian Brown,  Susan Tomes,  Frederic Bayco  ... 
    Conductor:  Reginald Kilbey,  Stephen Cleobury,  Sir David Willcocks,  Kenneth Montgomery  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nash Ensemble,  Taverner Players
    CD: $17.99
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  • 21.
    Music For A Royal Wedding
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 4674219 Release Date: 04/26/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Johann Pachelbel,  George Frideric Handel,  Gabriel Fauré  ... 
    Performer:  Jorgen Ernst Hansen,  Placido Domingo,  Marie-Claire Alain,  Camille Maurane  ... 
    Conductor:  Jean-François Paillard,  Raymond Leppard,  Edward Higginbottom,  Louis Frémaux  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capricorn (Ensemble),  Il Giardino Armonico
    CD: $18.99
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  • 22.
    Best Wedding 50
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 48501 Release Date: 04/19/2011   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Jeremiah Clarke,  Richard Wagner,  Giovanni Battist Martini,  Norwegian Traditional  ... 
    Performer:  Maurice André,  Jane Parker-Smith,  Frederic Bayco,  Ole Edvard Antonsen  ... 
    Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury,  Sir David Willcocks,  Kenneth Montgomery,  David Munrow  ... 
    CD: $11.99
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  • 23.
    Music For A Royal Wedding [silva Screen]
    Label: Silva Screen   Catalog: 1358 Release Date: 04/05/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Arthur Benjamin,  Richard Wagner,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Sir William Walton  ... 
    Performer:  Rick Clark,  Helena Blackman,  Lesley Garrett
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Massed Fanfare Trumpets
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  • 24.
    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,  Peter Seiffert  ... 
    Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Staatskapelle Berlin,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 25.
    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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