Richard Wagner

I write music with an exclamation point!

Richard Wagner is one of the most, if not the most influential romantic composer in the nineteenth century. His music is and bold usually written to accompany epic drama, telling of ancient heroes and legends. However, Wagner is also riled with controversy, due to his personal views and turbulent life.

Education and Early Career

The famed composer, Richard Wagner, was born May 22nd, 1813, in Leipzig, Germany. He received education from a private boarding school in Dresden, where he was impressed by several operas he attended, most notably Der Freischütz by Carl Maria Weber. Determined to write music of his own, in 1832 he composed his first symphony, with heavy influences from his idols, Beethoven and Carl Maria Weber.

In Germany

In 1836, he became music director at Magdeburg , and feel in love with one of the singers, Minna Planer,marrying in 1836. In 1837, he moved to Riga, and Lithuania , but was shortly expelled due to extraordinary debts. While running from creditors, Wagner wrote many of his early operas, such as the The Flying Dutchman, Rienzi and others. `Finally settling in Dresden, Germany, he was then expelled in 1849 not only for debts, but for assisting in an attempt to overthrow the government. Wagner spent the next twelve years in exile. Without a stable income, Wagner feel on hard times, and began taking up anti-semitic and racist views. This is also when Wagner started developing his trademark style, the Drama, a combination of theatre, music, and aesthetics. He also started producing his most famous work, the three part epic: Der Ring des Nibelungen. He also composed Tristan und Isolde, a drama set within king Arthur’s Britain .

In Exile

Wagner spent the next twelve years in exile. Without a stable income, Wagner feel on hard times, and began taking up anti-semitic and racist views. This is also when Wagner started developing his trademark style, the Drama, a combination of theatre, music, and aesthetics. He also started producing his most famous work, the three part epic: Der Ring des Nibelungen. He also composed Tristan und Isolde, a drama set within King Arthur’s Britain .

Final Years and Death

In 1862, Wagner was finally allowed back in Germany, but still suffered major financial problems. However, in 1864, Wagner finally found an ardent admirer in the newly crowned king of Bavaria, young Ludwig the II. Wagner’s debts were finally paid and a had new opera house built, the Bayreuth Festspielhaus in Bavaria, exclusively built to showcase his work. He completed many unfinished operas and remarried (Minna had separated with him and eventually died.) In failing health, Wagner moved to Venice, where he died in 1883.

Legacy & Facts

Wagner is a highly controversial figure not because of his music, but because of his personal views. Wagner grew to despise Jews, and drew widespread criticism for this during and after his lifetime. Long after his death, the Nazi Party championed him as an ideal german composer, and adopted many of his views. However, his music is considered to be some of the finest works of the 1800’s. Wagner’s music, such as The Flight of The Valkyries is still widely performed and featured in movies such as Apocalypse Now.

Wagner's life is very turbulent, almost like his musci

Wagner ~ Tannhäuser Overture

Recognition

- Although Wagner did not win any awards (as almost none existed at the time) many prominent figures, such as composers Camille Saint-Saëns and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky attended his operas.

-World leaders, such as Queen Victoria and Pedro II of Brazil attended his concerts.