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Royalty Free Music - Richard Wagner

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Richard Wagner- Biography

Richard Wagner was a German composer whose works in the opera genre brought tremendous development in composition, conception, staging and performance. His works typify the "Romantic" period by their dramatically expressive qualities, but his harmonies pointed towards the new music of the twentieth century.

Richard Wagner was born on May 22nd 1813 in Leipzig, Germany. His early years were much influenced by his actor stepfather, who took the young Richard with him to the theatre and helped him to develop an early love of the stage. At school he began to learn about harmony and counterpoint with a local conductor, and attended performances of works by Beethoven and von Weber. This combination of theatre and music brought Wagner to a desire to write opera, and on leaving school he began to compose in earnest.

His early works were not always well received, and with his new wife Minna Planner, Wagner travelled much to escape his creditors. Finally however, he achieved success in 1842 with "Rienzi", and the audience were astonished at the five hour long performance and the complexity of the tenor's part. It became known that Wagner wrote his own libretti, an unusual practise at this time, and Wagner found an admiring public at last for his works. The premier of "Der Fliegende Hollander" (The Flying Dutchman) on January 2nd, 1843 amazed audiences, and Wagner was offered a position at the court of the King of Saxony, his first taste of financial stability. He wrote more and more music, developing his own style and working with grand stories and epic adventure. He also wrote several papers espousing his view on theatre, music and culture.

His works and theories began to have a profound effect on society, and his benefactors adored him. He built his own opera house in Bayreuth, where he for the first time used an orchestra pit and darkened the theatre during performances. He wote a work a conducting which influenced the whole tradition of conducting in Europe, and his new harmonic constructions strongly influenced the musical styles of the twentieth century. He died on February 13th, 1883 in Venice, and was buried in the grounds of his theatre in Bayreuth. Some of Wagner's works are available here to download and license as royalty free music.

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