German Classical Music

Artists of Classical Music
  • Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Gustav Mahler
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  • Arnold Schönberg
  • Robert Schumann
  • Karlheinz Stockhausen
  • Richard Wagner

Richard Wagner, 1813 - 1883

Richard Wagner was one of the most revolutionary figures in the history of music, a composer who made fundamental contributions to the development of musical harmony and staging.

Although he occasionally wrote music on a relatively moderate scale, opera (the bigger the better) was his ideal environment, and its beauty is probably the greatest ever known in western music. Despite the fact that his first works were not well received by audiences, since Rienzi (composed between 1838 and 1840) he enjoyed a series of 'hits' that made him legendary.

His monumental Circle of Rings, divided into four operas - Das Rheingold (1853 - 1854), Die Walküre (1854 - 1856), Siegfried (1856 - 1871) and Götterdämmerung (1869 - 1874) - is still one of the most ambitious works in operatic literature. Tristan e Isolda (1857 - 1859) is probably the most representative example of his musical style, characterized by a high level of chromatism, tonal instability, luxurious harmonies and the association of specific musical elements (known as leitmotifs) with characters and plots. Wagner wrote both the music and the words to his operas, which he preferred to call "musical dramas".