Happy Birthday, Richard Wagner

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A year ago, the classical music world was busy commemorating Richard Wagner warts and all – on the 200th anniversary of his birth. There were new productions, statues, stamps, films and books. WQXR brought you a special Wagner Week in July 2013.

As the composer's 201st birthday arrives on Thursday, Wagner continues to uniquely delight and divide audiences: he's known as an undisputed musical genius who also displayed many troubling character traits. In Israel this week, this schism is in the spotlight with an academic conference called “In the Footsteps of Wagner: The Politics of Music in the 20th Century." The Docaviv film festival in Tel Aviv has been screening the documentary "Wagner's Jews."

Wagner's music, of course, remains timeless. As a thank you to listeners for pledging support to Operavore and WQXR, we're playing Die Walküre in full on the Operavore stream starting at 12 noon. And there's plenty of his orchestral music throughout the day on WQXR (a full schedule is below).

We give the last word to Wagner's wife, Cosima, who "maintains" a lively Twitter feed:


This morning, when I called out to him, "Are you amicably disposed toward me?" he answered, "Quite amicably, and every day I love you more."

— Cosima Wagner (@CosimaWagner) April 15, 2014



The following selections will play at some point during the hours listed (not specifically on the hour) on Thursday:

6 am: Wesendonck Lieder: Traume (Wagner own arrangement for violin and chamber orchestra)
8 am: Die Meistersinger Von Nurnberg: Morgenlich leuchtend (Walther's Prize Song)
9 am: Gotterdammerung: Final Scene (Orchestral music only, no vocals)
11 am: Parsifal: Good Friday Music
1 pm: Tannhauser: Overture and Venusberg Music
3 pm: Siegfried Idyll
5 pm: Lohengrin: Treulich gefuhrt (Bridal Chorus)
7 pm: Die Walküre: Wotan's Farewell and Magic Fire Music (Orchestral Version)

On Operavore

Tune in at 12 pm to hear Die Walküre in the 1961 recording by Eric Leinsdorf and the London Symphony Orchestra.


Conductor: Eric Leinsdorf
Siegmund: Jon Vickers
Sieglinde: Gre Brouwestijn
Hunding: David Ward
Wotan: George London
Brünnhilde: Birgit Nilsson
Fricka: Rita Gorr
Gerhilde: Marie Collier
Ortlinde: Julia Malyon
Waltraute: Margreta Elkins
Schwertleite: Joan Edwards
Helmwige: Judith Pierce
Siegrune: Noreen Berry
Grimgerde: Maureen Guy
Rossweisse: Josephine Veasey
London Symphony Orchestra