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 / Grimsley, Mellor, Blythe, Vinke, Fisch, Seattle Opera
Release Date: 09/09/2014   Label: Avie  
Catalog: 2313   Number of Discs: 14
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Wagner Without Words / Llyr Williams
Release Date: 09/09/2014   Label: Signum U.k.  
Catalog: 388   Number of Discs: 2
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Wagner: Tristan Und Isolde / Knappertsbusch, Klose, Braun, Treptow, Frantz
Release Date: 03/25/2014   Label: Andromeda  
Catalog: 9011   Number of Discs: 3
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Wagner: Rienzi (Abridged) / Krips, Ludwig, Berry, Et Al
Release Date: 11/14/2000   Label: Opera D'oro  
Catalog: 1262   Number of Discs: 2
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Carlos Paita Conducts Wagner
Release Date: 04/08/2014   Label: Carlos Paita Edition  
Catalog: 803   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Lohengrin: Bridal Chorus

Browse 1-25 of 108 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    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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  • 2.
    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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  • 3.
    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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  • 4.
    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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  • 5.
    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: $13.99
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  • 6.
    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  ... 
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  • 7.
    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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  • 8.
    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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  • 9.
    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,  David [Pipe Organ] Briggs,  Katia Labèque,  Marielle Labèque  ... 
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink,  Andrew Parrott,  Stephen Cleobury,  Paavo Järvi  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Taverner Players,  Ensemble Orchestral de Paris,  Les Arts Florissants  ... 
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  • 10.
    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
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  • 11.
    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  ... 
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  • 12.
    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  ... 
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  • 13.
    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  ... 
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  • 14.
    Choeurs de l'Opera de Vienne - Aida & Other Great Choruses / Bauer-Theussl
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 62608 Release Date: 06/27/2011   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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  • 15.
    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
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  • 16.
    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,  Camille Maurane,  Marie-Claire Alain  ... 
    Conductor:  Jean-François Paillard,  Raymond Leppard,  Edward Higginbottom,  Louis Frémaux  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capricorn (Ensemble),  Il Giardino Armonico
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  • 17.
    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:  Jane Parker-Smith,  Maurice André,  Frederic Bayco,  Ole Edvard Antonsen  ... 
    Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury,  Sir David Willcocks,  Kenneth Montgomery,  David Munrow  ... 
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  • 18.
    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,  Andrew Lloyd Webber  ... 
    Performer:  Lesley Garrett,  Rick Clark,  Helena Blackman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Massed Fanfare Trumpets
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  • 19.
    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
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  • 20.
    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:  Placido Domingo,  Jessye Norman,  Eva Randová,  Siegmund Nimsgern  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 21.
    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  ... 
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  • 22.
    Essential Wedding
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 27937 Release Date: 08/24/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Markus Klinko,  Piers Lane,  Tasmin Little,  Frederic Bayco  ... 
    Conductor:  Reginald Kilbey,  Stephen Cleobury,  Sir David Willcocks,  Kenneth Montgomery  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nash Ensemble,  Camerata Lysy,  Liverpool Cathedral & Brass Ensemble  ... 
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  • 23.
    50 Classical Music Favorites
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001388102 Release Date: 06/08/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Luigi Boccherini,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Heinz Holliger,  Italo Colandrea,  Antonio Perez,  Michael Copley  ... 
    Conductor:  Frans Brüggen,  Sir Colin Davis,  Kurt Masur,  Silvio Varviso  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Musici
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  • 24.
    Top 100 Favorite Classical Melodies
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94027 Release Date: 05/04/2010   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Georges Bizet,  Edvard Grieg  ... 
    Performer:  Sara Crombach,  Vladislaw Warenberg,  Martijn van den Hoek,  Marc Grauwels  ... 
    Conductor:  Bohdan Warchal,  Enrique Bátiz,  Mark Ermler,  Georgi Robev  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Harp Ensemble,  London Baroque,  Musica ad Rhenum  ... 
    CD: $24.99
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  • 25.
    Wagner: Famous Opera Choruses / Solti, Vienna Philharmonic
    Label: London/Decca Opera Gala Series   Catalog: 421865 Release Date: 04/08/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Werner Krenn,  Isola Jones,  Janis Martin,  Helga Dernesch  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Boys' Choir,  Gumpoldskirchner Spatzen  ... 
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