Wagner, Richard (1818 – 1883)

Wilhelm Richard Wagner was a German composer, theatre director, polemicist, and conductor who is primarily known for his operas (or, as some of his later works were later known, “music dramas”). Unlike most opera composers, Wagner wrote both the libretto and the music for each of his stage works. Initially establishing his reputation as a composer of works in the romantic vein of Weber and Meyerbeer, Wagner revolutionized opera through his concept of the Gesamtkunstwerk (“total work of art”), by which he sought to synthesize the poetic, visual, musical and dramatic arts, with music subsidiary to drama. He described this vision in a series of essays published between 1849 and 1852. Wagner realized these ideas most fully in the first half of the four-opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung).

His compositions, particularly those of his later period, are notable for their complex textures, rich harmonies and orchestration, and the elaborate use of leitmotifs—musical phrases associated with individual characters, places, ideas, or plot elements. His advances in musical language, such as extreme chromaticism and quickly shifting tonal centres, greatly influenced the development of classical music. His Tristan und Isolde is sometimes described as marking the start of modern music.

Until his final years, Wagner’s life was characterized by political exile, turbulent love affairs, poverty and repeated flight from his creditors. His controversial writings on music, drama and politics have attracted extensive comment, notably, since the late 20th century, where they express antisemitic sentiments. The effect of his ideas can be traced in many of the arts throughout the 20th century; his influence spread beyond composition into conducting, philosophy, literature, the visual arts and theater. (source: Wikipedia)

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Ring Cycle (Coming Soon!)

Epic and expert – Jeremy Van Hoy has done a masterful job excerpting important storytelling pieces from the entire Ring Cycle to create this masterful concert work for large brass ensemble.

BB BE 170803a – 15 Minutes

Part 1 includes these famous excerpts: Spear Motif, Entrance of the Gods Into Valhalla

BB BE 170803b – 45 minutes

Part 2 includes these famous excerpts: Ride of the Valkyries, Long Call for Solo Horn, Battle with Fafner, Siegfried’s Rhine Journey, Siegfried’s Funeral Music

Premiered by the Boulder Brass in January 2015 and soon available from Boulder Brass Publications and Art of Sound Music.

Trumpet 1 in E flat, Trumpet 2 in B flat (doubling on piccolo), Trumpet 3 & 4 in B flat (doubling on Flugelhorn), 4 Horns, 2 Tenor Trombones (Trombone 1 doubles on Bass Trumpet), 2 Bass Trombones, Euphonium, Bass Tuba, and Contrabass Tuba, Timpani and 2 Percussion.

Here’s a quick look at the Boulder Brass preparing for the premier


Siegfried’s Funeral Music
BB BE 131003 – $50.00
9′ 00″ – virtuoso

Götterdämmerung (Twilight of the Gods) is the last in Richard Wagner’s cycle of four operas titled Der Ring des Nibelungen. It received its premiere in 1876, as part of the first complete performance of the Ring. In the opera after Siegfried dies, his body is carried away in to this solemn funeral procession music that recapitulates many of the themes of the opera.

arranged by Michael Allen for Trumpet in E flat, Trumpet in B flat (doubles on Piccolo), Trumpet in B flat (doubles on Flugelhorn), Flugelhorn, 2 Horns, 2 Tenor Trombones , Bass Trombone, Euphonium, Tuba, Timpani, Percussion (Triangle, Suspended Cymbal)

Recorded live, April 2013 by the Boulder Brass – performed without a conductor.

BB BE 920101 – $38.00
7′ 00″ – medium

Trauersinfonie was originally scored by Wagner for large windband and is based on themes from Carl Maria von Weber’s Euryanthe. It was first performed on December 14, 1844 during the torchlight procession that carried the remains of Weber from the Dresden train station to his final resting place, some eighteen years after his death in London.

arranged by Michael Allen for Piccolo Trumpet, Trumpet in E flat, Trumpet in B flat, Flugelhorn, 4 Horns, 2 Tenor Trombones, Bass Trombone, Euphonium, Tuba, Field Drum