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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The Ride of the Valkyries - Orchestral Music by Wagner / Royal PO
Release Date: 09/08/2009   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 28080   Number of Discs: 1
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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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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 101-109 of 109 Available Recordings
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  • 101.
    Masters Of The Opera Vol 6 (1843-1850)
    Label: Laserlight   Catalog: 14076 Release Date: 07/20/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Richard Wagner,  Friedrich von Flotow,  Hector Berlioz  ... 
    Performer:  Piero Cappuccilli
    Conductor:  György Lehel,  Herbert Kegel,  Adám Fischer,  Lamberto Gardelli  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Budapest Symphony Orchestra,  Leipzig Radio Orchestra,  Leipzig Radio Chorus  ... 
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  • 102.
    Music For Festive Occasions / Giangiulio, Riedo
    Label: Crystal   Catalog: 232 Release Date: 06/15/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Stanley,  Bert Truax,  Claude Gervaise,  Dietrich Buxtehude  ... 
    Performer:  Paul Riedo,  Richard Giangiulio
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dallas Trumpets
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  • 103.
    The Wagner Collection - Solti, Vienna Philharmonic
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 440107 Release Date: 01/19/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Chorus
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  • 104.
    Music For All Occasions
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 61488 Release Date: 01/12/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Traditional,  Irving Berlin,  George Frideric Handel,  Adriaen Valerius  ... 
    Performer:  Alfred Krips,  James Galway
    Conductor:  Robert Shaw,  Arthur Fiedler,  James Galway,  Sir Thomas Beecham  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Robert Shaw Chorale,  Boston Pops,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 105.
    World's Greatest Choruses
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 61241 Release Date: 09/08/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alexander Borodin,  Martin Luther,  George Frideric Handel,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Thomas Dunn,  Thomas Pyle,  Geneviève Macaux,  Monique Linval  ... 
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy,  Robert Shaw,  Richard Westenburg,  Erich Leinsdorf  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra,  Mendelssohn Club Chorus Philadelphia,  Robert Shaw Chorale  ... 
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  • 106.
    Wagner - Greatest Hits
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 60847 Release Date: 09/06/1991   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski,  Arthur Fiedler,  Erich Leinsdorf,  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Norman Luboff Choir,  New Symphony Orchestra,  Boston Pops  ... 
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  • 107.
    The Best Of Richard Wagner
    Label: Rca Victrola   Catalog: 60777 Release Date: 06/06/1991   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy,  Robert Shaw
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra,  Robert Shaw Chorale,  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra
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  • 108.
    The Wedding Album / Anthony Newman
    Label: Sony Classical Masterworks   Catalog: 47273 Release Date: 05/24/1991   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  André Campra,  Franz Schubert,  Henry Purcell  ... 
    Performer:  Anthony Newman
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  • 109.
    Opera Choruses - Aida, Faust, Nabucco, Etc
    Label: Rca Victor Gold Seal   Catalog: 60205 Release Date: 10/19/1989   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Pietro Mascagni,  Ambroise Thomas,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Harold Enns,  Thomas Jamerson,  Dorothy Krebill,  Leontyne Price  ... 
    Conductor:  Erich Leinsdorf,  Robert Shaw,  Renato Cellini,  Georges Prêtre  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rome Opera House Orchestra,  Rome Opera House Chorus,  Robert Shaw Chorale  ... 
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