January 3, 1878: Anton Bruckner (53) is granted a permanent appointment as court organist, in Vienna.
January 4, 1878: Russo-Turkish War: Russian forces occupy Sofiya.
January 5, 1878: In response to a question from Nadezhda von Meck about the Kuchka, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (37) writes from San Remo, “All the Petersburg composers are very talented, but they are all poisoned to the core with the most horrible conceit and a purely amateur confidence in their own superiority above everyone else in the musical world...”
January 9, 1878: King Vittorio Emanuele II of Italy dies in Rome and is succeeded by his son Umberto I.
January 9, 1878: 150 Cheyenne break out of a military stockade at Fort Robinson, Nebraska. 47 are killed, 23 wounded but 38 escape. Of those who escape, soldiers will kill 23.
January 9, 1878: Russo-Turkish War: After four days of confused fighting and bad weather, Turkish forces south of the Shipka Pass surrender at Sheinovo to the Russians.
January 11, 1878: Ahmed Hamdi Pasha replaces Tunuslu Ibrahim Edhem Pasha to become Chief Minister of the Ottoman Empire.
January 17, 1878: By a treaty between the United States and Samoa, Samoa allows a US naval station at Pago Pago.
January 17, 1878: Russo-Turkish War: After three days of fighting at Philippopolis (Plovdiv), 130 km southeast of Sofiya, Russian forces decisively defeat the Turks in Bulgaria, ending Turkish resistance in Europe.
January 18, 1878: Johannes Brahms (44) begins a tour of mostly the Netherlands with a performance of the First Symphony in Hamburg. His song Alte Liebe op.72/1 to words of Candidus, is performed for the first time.
January 18, 1878: Antoine César Becquerel dies in Paris at the age of 89.
January 19, 1878: Au Bord de l’eau op.8/1 for voice and piano by Gabriel Fauré (32) to words of Sully-Prudhomme is performed for the first time, by the Société National de Musique, Paris.
January 20, 1878: Russo-Turkish War: Russian troops enter Adrianople (Edirne) without resistance.
January 21, 1878: After almost being lost in the Bay of Biscay, Cleopatra’s Needle arrives at Gravesend from Alexandria.
January 22, 1878: Mädchenfluch op.69/9, a song by Johannes Brahms (44) to traditional words, is performed for the first time, in Bremen.
January 23, 1878: Alexander Koumoundouros becomes Prime Minister of Greece.
January 23, 1878: Russo-Turkish War: At the request of Sultan Abdülhamid II, the British government sends fleet of Royal Navy ships to Constantinople.
January 24, 1878: Anton Bruckner (53) is named a full member of the Vienna Hofkapelle, a salaried position.
January 24, 1878: The Edison Speaking Phonograph Company is founded.
January 26, 1878: António Maria de Fontes Pereira de Melo replaces António José de Avila, marquês de Avila e Bolama, conde de Avila as Prime Minister of Portugal.
January 27, 1878: The Cunning Peasant, a comic opera by Antonín Dvorák (36) to words of Vesely, is performed for the first time, in the Prague Provisional Theatre.
January 28, 1878: The first commercial telephone exchange opens, in New Haven, Connecticut. It has 21 subscribers and is only open during the day.
January 31, 1878: Russo-Turkish War: An armistice is signed between Russia and Turkey at Adrianople (Edirne). Russia is allowed to occupy territory within 15 km of Constaninople.
February 2, 1878: Greece declares war on the Ottoman Empire in support of a rising by Greeks in Thessalia. 25,000 troops cross the border.
February 2, 1878: A new opera house, designed by Gottfried Semper, opens in Dresden.
February 3, 1878: After demands by the western powers, Greece withdraws its troops from Thessalia. Some remain, however, and join guerrilla groups.
February 4, 1878: Ahmed Vefik Pasha replaces Ahmed Hamdi Pasha as Chief Minister of the Ottoman Empire.
February 5, 1878: St. Petersburg Police Chief General Fyodor Trepov is shot by a young woman named Vera Ivanovna Zasulich in retribution for the flogging of a student. Trepov will recover and Zasulich is arrested.
February 7, 1878: Giovanni Maria Giambattista Pietro Pellegrino Isidoro, conte Mastai-Ferretti, Pope Pius IX, dies in Rome.
February 8, 1878: A British fleet anchors in Turkish waters to forestall a Russian move against Constantinople.
February 9, 1878: After a three-day battle, Cuban rebels defeat Spanish troops near San Ulpiano.
February 10, 1878: The Cuban revolt against Spanish rule ends with the Pact of Zanjón in which Spain promises reforms.
February 11, 1878: Narcisse, an idylle antique for solo voices and chorus by Jules Massenet (35) to words of Collin is performed for the first time.
February 18, 1878: In Naples, Ruggero Leoncavallo (20) is informed that he will not have to serve in the military since his older brother has already.
February 19, 1878: Thomas A. Edison receives a US patent for his phonograph.
February 19, 1878: Ballsträußchen op.380, a polka schnell by Johann Strauss (52), is performed for the first time, in the Sophiensaal, Vienna.
February 20, 1878: Gioacchino Vincenzo Raffaele Aloisio Pecci becomes Pope Leo XIII.
February 22, 1878: Symphony no.4 by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (37) is performed for the first time, in Moscow. It is generally successful.
February 24, 1878: A peaceful demonstration in Hyde Park, London by those urging restraint in dealing with Russia is brutally attacked by an anti-Russia mob. The anti-Russians move on to Downing Street to continue their call for war while others attack the house of opposition leader William Gladstone.
February 25, 1878: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (37) writes to his brother Anatoly from Florence, “Only now, especially after the tale of my marriage, have I finally begun to understand that there is nothing more fruitless than not wanting to be that which I am by nature.”
February 28, 1878: The United States reintroduces a silver standard.
March 2, 1878: Three of the Six Etudes op.52 for piano by Camille Saint-Saëns (42) are performed for the first time, at a concert of the Société National de Musique, Paris.
March 3, 1878: A suite from Jules Massenet’s (35) opera Le Roi de Lahore is performed for the first time, in Paris. See 27 April 1877.
March 3, 1878: Russo-Turkish War: By the Treaty of San Stefano (Yesilköy, Turkey), Russia imposes humiliating concessions on Turkey, including a large, autonomous Bulgaria. Kars, Ardahan, and Batumi go to Russia.
March 11, 1878: A Piano Trio in c minor by George Whitefield Chadwick (23) is performed for the first time, in the Hôtel du Pologne, Leipzig, the composer at the piano.
March 13, 1878: Maître Péronilla, an opéra-bouffe by Jacques Offenbach (58) to words of Nuitter, Ferrier, and the composer, is performed for the first time, at the Bouffes-Parisiens, Paris.
March 15, 1878: The definitive version of The Two Widows, a comic opera by Bedrich Smetana (54) to words of Züngel after Mallefille, is performed for the first time, in the Provisional Theatre, Prague. See 27 March 1874.
March 16, 1878: The Caribbean island of Saint Barthelemy is transferred by Sweden to French control.
March 18, 1878: Willst du, daß ich gehen? op.71/4, a song for voice and piano by Johannes Brahms (44) to words of Lemcke, is performed for the first time, in Hamburg.
March 23, 1878: Irredentist sympathizer Benedetto Cairoli replaces Agostino Depretis as Prime Minister of Italy.
March 23, 1878: Franz August Julius Schrecker is born in the Principality of Monaco, second (and eldest surviving) of five children of Ignaz (Isak) Schrecker, Jewish Imperial and Royal Court Photographer, and Eleonore von Clossmann, descended from Austrian Catholic nobility.
March 24, 1878: The frigate HMS Eurydice goes down in a storm off the Isle of Wight taking 317 crewmen with her. Only two survive.
March 24, 1878: Piano Concerto op.33 by Antonín Dvorák (36) is performed for the first time, in Prague.
March 24, 1878: Jules Massenet (35) meets the new Pope, Leo XIII in an audience at the Vatican. Later he is presented to Queen Margherita, now the Queen Mother for whom he plays selections from Le Roi de Lahore.
March 31, 1878: The Munich Hoftheater, directed by King Ludwig II, agrees to pay off the Bayreuth Festival’s debt based on receipts of royalties from the production of Richard Wagner’s (64) works. The Munich Hoftheater receives the right to perform Parsifal free after the Bayreuth premiere. Bayreuth is finally solvent.
April 4, 1878: This is the probable date of Friedrich Nietzsche’s visit to his doctor, Otto Eiser, in Frankfurt. After his examination, Eiser, a fervent Wagnerite, shows Nietzsche a letter from Richard Wagner (54) wherein the composer accuses the philosopher of homosexuality. Nietzsche explodes. “Why Nietzsche broke with Wagner is something that I alone know, for the break took place under my roof, in my surgery...Nietzsche was beside himself--the words that he found for Wagner are unrepeatable.” (Köhler, 526).
April 7, 1878: Herbstlied for chorus and piano by Engelbert Humperdinck (23), to words of G. Humperdinck, is performed for the first time, in the Musikschule, Munich.
April 8, 1878: Three songs by Johannes Brahms (44) are performed for the first time, in Vienna: Tambourliedchen op.69/5, to words of Candidus, Es liebt sich so lieblich im Lenze! op.71/1 to words of Heine, and An den Mond, op.71/2 to words of Simrock.
April 8, 1878: Much to the dismay of his parents, Charles Villiers Stanford (25) marries a singer, Jennie Anna Maria Wetton, daughter of an adventurer and land speculator, at St. Margaret's Church, Ockley, Surrey.
April 11, 1878: Mein wundes Herz verlangt op.59/7, a song by Johannes Brahms (46) to words of Groth, is performed for the first time, in Vienna.
April 11, 1878: Großes Duo for two pianos by Hubert Parry (30) is performed for the first time, in London.
April 12, 1878: Vera Ivanovna Zasulich goes on trial in St. Petersburg, charged with shooting Police Chief Fyodor Trepov last February. When the jury finds her not guilty, shouts of joy and approval erupt in the courtroom and out into the street.
April 17, 1878: The British government dispatches 7,000 Indian troops to Malta to counter Russian moves against the Ottoman Empire. It is the first time that Indian native troops are deployed outside of India.
April 18, 1878: Mehmed Sadik Pasha replaces Ahmed Vefik Pasha as Chief Minister of the Ottoman Empire.
April 21, 1878: The first White House Easter Egg Roll takes place. Previously it was held at the Capitol but the Congress banned the event and President Hayes accepted it on the grounds of the White House.
April 23, 1878: Duo concertante for violin and violoncello op.33 by John Knowles Paine (39) is performed for the first time, in Sanders Theatre at Harvard University. This was to be the premiere of the composer’s Spring Symphony, but when this is not ready, the Duo concertante is substituted. The audience applauds each movement.
April 28, 1878: Swiss physicist Louis Soret publishes his discovery of the element Holmium.
April 28, 1878: Today and tomorrow in Leipzig, Richard Wagner’s (54) Das Rheingold and Die Walküre are performed for the first time outside Bayreuth with the composer’s blessings.
April 30, 1878: A large Irredentist rally takes place in Rome, causing official protests from Austria and Germany.
May 1, 1878: The Exposition Universelle of 1878 opens in Paris. 250,000 visitors will see it in the first week.
May 5, 1878: Johannes Brahms (44) writes to Simrock advocating the publication of Antonín Dvorák’s (36) music. “The best that a musician can have, Dvorák has...”
May 11, 1878: A tinker named Emil Max Hödel, recently expelled from the Leipzig Social-Democratic Association, attempts to kill Kaiser Wilhelm I by firing several shots at him in Berlin. He misses, but kills a bystander, and is finally restrained by the crowd.
May 14, 1878: At a meeting in St. Petersburg, Ambassador to Britain Count Shuvalov presents a plan for peace to Tsar Alyeksandr that he worked out with British Foreign Minister Lord Salisbury. The Russians are relieved that it is not worse than it is.
May 14, 1878: Robert Chesebrough trademarks his invention, petroleum jelly, under the name Vaseline.
May 15, 1878: The Tokyo Stock Exchange is established.
May 16, 1878: Slavonic Dances nos. 1, 3, and 4 by Antonín Dvorák (36) are performed for the first time, in Prague. See 4 December 1878.
May 17, 1878: Incidental music to Tillier’s play Nina Zombi by Camille Saint-Saëns (42) and ten others is performed for the first time, in Paris
May 18, 1878: Colombia grants a nine-year concession for a canal across the Isthmus of Panama to a French company.
May 21, 1878: The foundation stone for Schloß Neuschwanstein is laid.
May 21, 1878: The rebel government of Cuba ratifies the Pact of Zanjón signed on 10 February.
May 22, 1878: A Requiem by Camille Saint-Saëns (42) is performed for the first time, at the Church of Saint-Sulpice, Paris. The work is in memory of Albert Libon who died last year and left the composer 100,000 francs.
May 25, 1878: HMS Pinafore, or The Lass that Loved a Sailor, an operetta by Arthur Sullivan (36) to words of Gilbert, is performed for the first time, in the Opera Comique Theatre, London, the composer conducting. The public is appreciative but the reviews are decidedly mixed. Many comment that Sullivan is wasting his talent on such trivialities. However, the play will run 571 performances.
May 28, 1878: Seven weeks after the death of his wife, Johann Strauss, Jr. (52) marries Ernestine Henriette Angelika Dittrich, an actress, in Vienna.
May 28, 1878: André Saint-Saëns, four-year-old son of the composer (42), leans out the window of his Paris home to talk to playmates and falls four stories to his death.
May 29, 1878: String Quartet no.1 by George Whitefield Chadwick (23) is performed for the first time, in the Gewandhaus, Leipzig.
May 30, 1878: Great Britain and Russia conclude a secret treaty, limiting the borders of Bulgaria given in the Treaty of San Stefano.
May 31, 1878: SMS König Wilhelm of the Germany Royal Navy accidentally rams SMS Großer Kurfürst off Folkestone. The Großer Kurfürst goes down quickly, taking about 270 crewmen with her. Severely damaged, the König Wilhelm makes for Portsmouth for repairs. On his way to Paris, Arthur Sullivan (36) witnesses the entire event.
June 1, 1878: Trading opens at the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
June 2, 1878: Dr. Karl Nobiling of Posen (Poznan) fires a shotgun at Kaiser Wilhelm I in Berlin and severely wounds him. The assassin attempts to kill himself and will die of his wounds in three months. His motives are not known, although Chancellor Bismarck uses the event to suppress the Social Democrats. Wilhelm survives.
June 4, 1878: Modest Musorgsky (39) is promoted to Collegiate Councillor in the Russian Forestry Department.
June 4, 1878: By a secret convention between Great Britain and Turkey, the British agree to support Turkey against Russian encroachments in Asia in return for Cyprus and Turkish internal reforms.
June 4, 1878: A setting of Tota pulchra es for tenor, chorus, and organ by Anton Bruckner (53) is performed for the first time, in the Votivkapelle des neuen Doms, Linz.
June 6, 1878: Great Britain and Austria-Hungary conclude a treaty in Vienna. Austria agrees to the same limitations on Bulgaria that Russia agreed to, in return for Bosnia-Herzegovina and the continued separation of Montenegro and Serbia.
June 9, 1878: Franz Liszt (66) spends ten days in Paris as President of the Jury of the section of the World Exhibition containing musical instruments. He was asked by the Hungarian government to represent Hungary.
June 10, 1878: The League for the Defense of the Rights of the Albanian Nation is officially founded in Prizren.
June 10, 1878: Henry Stanley meets with King Leopold II of Belgium at his palace at Laeken to discuss the exploitation of the Congo.
June 12, 1878: Introductory Overture for the Christy Minstrels for flute, cornet, and strings by Edward Elgar (21) is performed for the first time, in the Worcester Music Hall, the composer conducting.
June 13, 1878: The Congress of Berlin opens, attended by Great Britain, Austria, France, Italy, Russia, and the Ottoman Empire. Many nations are fearful of growing Russian power in the Balkans.
June 15, 1878: In Palo Alto, California, English photographer Eadweard Muybridge sets up a series of cameras to take pictures of a horse and rider as they gallop by. The photographs he takes will be placed on a disc to be viewed sequentially on a zoopraxiscope, thus producing “moving pictures.” He is also able to prove (his original intent) that all four hooves of a galloping horse are off the ground simultaneously.
June 18, 1878: Albanian leaders meeting in Prizren declare their support for the Ottoman Empire and its territorial integrity and their opposition to the independence of Serbia and Bulgaria.
June 19, 1878: Hubert Joseph Walthère Frère-Orban replaces Jules Malou as head of government for Belgium.
June 20, 1878: The Sweetheart’s Resolve from the song cycle Bouquet of Czech Folk Songs for male chorus by Antonín Dvorák (36) is performed for the first time, in Brünn (Brno).
June 23, 1878: United States troops raid Bannock Indian camp on Silver Creek in Harney County, Oregon. 100 Indians are killed, over 100 are wounded.
June 27, 1878: The prologue to Les béatitudes, an oratorio by César Franck (55) to words of the Bible adapted by Colomb, is performed for the first time, in the Trocadéro, Paris. See 15 June 1891.
June 27, 1878: Les Djinns op.12 for chorus and orchestra by Gabriel Fauré (33) to words of Hugo is performed for the first time with orchestral accompaniment, by the Société National de Musique, Paris. See 22 April 1876.
July 1, 1878: The Providence Daily Journal (Rhode Island) announces that a recent immigrant, Prof. Maximilian Berlitz, is now taking pupils in French and German. He will be successful.
July 2, 1878: A piano quintet by Gustav Mahler (17) is awarded first prize in composition at the Vienna Conservatory. This completes his education at the Conservatorium der Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde
July 5, 1878: The earliest documented composition by Pietro Mascagni (14) is dated today. It is a song entitled Duolo eterno!
July 7, 1878: Little more than a month after the death of his four-year-old son, Camille Saint-Saëns’ (42) eight-month-old baby Jean dies of “an infantile malady.” Within three years, the composer will leave his wife, never to see her again. (She will die on 30 January 1950.)
July 11, 1878: The scherzo of a Piano Quintet by Gustav Mahler (18) is performed for the first time, at the Vienna Conservatory, the composer at the keyboard. This quintet won the first prize in composition at the Conservatory on 2 July.
July 12, 1878: Great Britain begins to administer Cyprus under the sovereignty of the Ottoman Empire.
July 12, 1878: A Credo for solo voices, chorus, and orchestra by Giacomo Puccini (19) is performed for the first time, in the Church of San Paolino, Lucca.
July 13, 1878: The Treaty of Berlin is signed by representatives of Austria-Hungary, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, the Ottoman Empire, and Russia. It creates Bulgaria with an autonomous Christian government under Turkish rule, sets up Eastern Roumelia under direct rule of the Sultan but with a Christian governor-general, calls for the removal of Russian troops from Eastern Roumelia, provides for the occupation and administration of Bosnia and Herzegovina by Austria-Hungary, establishes an independent Montenegro, Serbia, and Romania, and grants Bessarabia to Russia.
July 15, 1878: Die Wallfahrt nach Kevlaar for alto, tenor, chorus, and orchestra by Engelbert Humperdinck (23) to words of Heine, is performed for the first time, in the Königliche Musikschule, Munich.
July 21, 1878: Irredentists rally in Rome calling on volunteers to capture Trentino for Italy.
July 25, 1878: La mort d’Orphée, a lyric scene for tenor, chorus, and orchestra by Léo Delibes (42), is performed for the first time, in the Trocadéro, Paris.
July 26, 1878: A Russian mission is received in Kabul, causing the British government to send an ultimatum to the Afghan government.
July 26, 1878: Edward MacDowell (17) participates in his first concours at the Paris Conservatoire before a committee which includes Henri Herz (75), Camille Saint-Saëns (42), and Ambroise Thomas (66). His prepared piece goes well, but his sight-reading from manuscript is a disaster when he mistakenly plays the piece in minor, abruptly switching to major in the middle when he realizes his mistake. Among the other pianists is Claude Debussy (15).
July 27, 1878: Two crew members infected with yellow fever disembark from a boat in Vicksburg, Mississippi.
July 28, 1878: In an attempt to stop the yellow fever epidemic from the south, the mayor of Memphis, Tennessee declares a quarantine.
July 30, 1878: Voting for the fourth Reichstag of the German Empire results in a loss of 30 seats for the leading National Liberals. They now hold only five more seats than the second place Center Party.
July 30, 1878: The Bell Telephone Company is incorporated in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
August 7, 1878: Alexandre Guilmant inaugurates the organ at the Trocadéro, Paris.
August 10, 1878: After 431 reported cases and 118 deaths, the Louisiana State Board of Health declares that a yellow fever epidemic is in progress.
August 13, 1878: One man dies of yellow fever in Memphis causing about 25,000 residents (over half the population) to flee the city.
August 15, 1878: Hymn to the Most Holy Trinity for voice and organ by Antonín Dvorák (36) is performed for the first time, in Sychrov.
August 16, 1878: Emil Max Hödel is beheaded in Berlin for attempting to kill Kaiser Wilhelm I last May.
August 17, 1878: In Belgium, the Second Law on the Use of Languages allows Flemish to be used in official transactions in Flanders.
August 24, 1878: At a promenade concert at Covent Garden, Arthur Sullivan (36) conducts a compilation of music from HMS Pinafore by Hamilton Clarke. The music is extremely popular with the public and the press and will ensure the success of the operetta currently in production.
August 30, 1878: Vladimir Stasov writes to Mily Balakirev (42) from Paris, “In front of our very eyes, Musorgsky (39), one of our most talented comrades and brothers, is sinking to the bottom, silently plunging deeper and deeper into the water, like a ship in which the cursed worms have gnawed a hole through the bottom. He is surrounded by disgusting drunks and scoundrels of the crudest and lowest sort...they are dragging him down and destroying him because of his weak and impressionable nature...The point is to separate and remove him from that vile drunken crowd and from all the inactivity.”
September 3, 1878: The coal ship Bylwell Castle strikes the paddle steamship Princess Alice in the Thames River off Tripcock Point. The Princess Alice goes down in minutes taking around 650 people with her.
September 12, 1878: A large ancient obelisk from Egypt is erected in London and dubbed “Cleopatra’s Needle.”
September 15, 1878: Festive Chorus for the consecration of the new building of the Imperial and Royal Slavonic Teachers’ Institute by Leos Janácek (24) to words possibly by Kucera is performed for the first time, in Brünn (Brno).
September 17, 1878: Elections to the Fourth Parliament of Canada take place. The Liberal government of Alexander Mackenzie is defeated by the Conservatives, and John A. Macdonald is returned to office.
September 18, 1878: After serialization in The Atlantic Monthly, The Europeans by Henry James is published in book form in London.
September 18, 1878: The Secret, a comic opera by Bedrich Smetana (54) to words of Krásnohorská, is performed for the first time, in the New Czech Theatre, Prague.
September 20, 1878: Valse-scherzo op.34 for violin and orchestra by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (38) is performed for the first time, in Paris.
September 21, 1878: Regnum mundi for chorus and organ by Leos Janácek (24) is performed for the first time.
September 21, 1878: Today and tomorrow see the first performances of Richard Wagner’s (65) Siegried and Götterdammerung outside Bayreuth. They are produced with the composer’s blessings, in Leipzig.
September 23, 1878: Richard D’Oyly Carte takes WS Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan (36) to the spot on the Strand in London where he proposes to build his theatre to produce their operettas.
October 1, 1878: Jules Massenet (36) is appointed professor of counterpoint, fugue, and composition at the Paris Conservatoire.
October 1, 1878: César Franck (55) premieres his Trois pieces in a recital of all his own works, on the new organ of the Trocadéro, Paris.
October 3, 1878: Ambroise Thomas (67) marries Jeanne Marie Elvire Remaury in the mairie of Argenteuil near Paris.
October 4, 1878: China establishes its first embassy in the United States.
October 7, 1878: Polyeucte, an opéra by Charles Gounod (60) to words of Barbier and Carré after Corneille, is performed for the first time, at the Paris Opéra. The work is not successful.
October 11, 1878: Austria-Hungary and Prussia agree to annul the clause in the Peace of Prague calling for a plebiscite in Schleswig.
October 12, 1878: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (38) informs Director Nikolay Rubinstein that he will leave his post at Moscow Conservatory within a month.
October 13, 1878: Jovan Ristic replaces Stevca Mihailovic as Prime Minister of Serbia.
October 15, 1878: The first electric company incorporates. The Edison Electric Light Company in New York City begins selling shares to finance development of the incandescent lamp.
October 17, 1878: John Alexander Macdonald replaces Alexander Mackenzie as Prime Minister of Canada.
October 18, 1878: Today is Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s (38) last day as a teacher at Moscow Conservatory.
October 19, 1878: A British mission to Kabul is refused entry, precipitating war.
October 19, 1878: The German Reichstag passes a law designed to suppress socialism.
October 19, 1878: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (38) departs Moscow for St. Petersburg, having resigned his post at the Moscow Conservatory. “And so, at last, I am a free man.”
October 20, 1878: The Frankfurt Conservatory fetes their newest faculty member, Clara Schumann (59). She is escorted down a flower-strewn path to a chair bedecked with garlands to listen to speeches, receive a laurel wreath, and listen to a concert of her own works by students and teachers.
October 20, 1878: The first and third of the Four Choruses op.29 by Antonín Dvorák (37) to words of Heyduk and a Moravian folk poem are performed for the first time, in Turnov.
October 22, 1878: Swiss chemist Jean-Charles-Galissard de Marignac reports his discovery of the element Ytterbium.
October 22, 1878: O kühler Wald op.72/3, a song for voice and piano by Johannes Brahms (45) to words of Brentano, is performed for the first time, in Breslau.
October 24, 1878: Clara Schumann (59) is given a day of celebration in Leipzig, commemorating the 50th anniversary of her first public performance at the Leipzig Gewandhaus. In the morning she receives numerous presents, telegrams and flowers. At her concert, she plays Robert Schumann’s (†22) Piano Concerto. The orchestra presents her with a laurel wreath, with the names of composers whose music she performed during her career on the leaves. Later, she attends a party in her honor, serenaded by the Paulinerchor on her arrival.
October 25, 1878: After several insurrections, the Sultan Abdülhamid II, with British urging, signs the Pact of Halépa which promises reforms on Crete.
October 26, 1878: The Betrayed Shepherd from the song cycle Bouquet of Czech Folk Songs for male chorus by Antonín Dvorák (37) is performed for the first time, in Brünn (Brno).
October 29, 1878: String Quartet no.1 op.27 by Edvard Grieg (35) is performed for the first time, in the concert hall of the Cologne Conservatory. The composer is present, participating in other sections of the program. It is a great success.
November 2, 1878: Charilaos Spiridonou Trikoupis replaces Alexandros Koumoundouros as Prime Minister of Greece.
November 7, 1878: Alexandros Koumoundouros replaces Charilaos Spiridonou Trikoupis as Prime Minister of Greece.
November 8, 1878: President Aníbal Pinto Garmendia of Chile protests to President Hilarión Daza of Bolivia for imposing a heavy tax on a Chilean mining company in Antofagasta, in violation of their treaty.
November 9, 1878: Frühlingslied D.914 for male vocal quartet by Franz Schubert (†49) to words of Pollak is performed for the first time, in the Musikverein, Vienna, 51 years after it was composed.
November 15, 1878: Antonín Dvorák (37) gains international fame when his Slavonic Dances and Moravian Duets are given a rave notice in the Berlin Nationalzeitung.
November 16, 1878: As he enters the Senate chamber in Lima, former President Manuel Pardo is shot to death by Sgt. Melchor Montoya. Montoya blames Pardo for his lack of advancement.
November 17, 1878: Anarchist Giovanni Passannante attacks King Umberto I of Italy with a knife during a parade in Naples. The king is able to defend himself and is only slightly wounded but, in attempting to protect the king, Prime Minister Benedetto Cairoli receives a serious leg wound.
November 17, 1878: Five new works by Antonín Dvorák (37) are performed for the first time, in Prague: the Slavonic Rhapsodies nos.1&2 for orchestra, the Serenade for winds and strings, Three Modern Greek Poems for voice and orchestra and Furiants for piano.
November 18, 1878: Anarchists throw a bomb into a crowd in Florence, assembled to celebrate the survival of King Umberto yesterday. Three people are killed, ten injured.
November 18, 1878: Edward MacDowell (17) and his mother board a train in Paris, leaving the Conservatoire for the Royal Conservatory in Stuttgart.
November 21, 1878: British forces in India invade Afghanistan in two places.
November 25, 1878: A Comité d’Etudes du Haut-Congo is formed for a Belgian advance into the Congo.
November 25, 1878: La corona d’Italia for band by Gioachino Rossini (†10) is performed for the first time, in Rome. It was written in 1868 when King Vittorio Emanuele II nominated Rossini for the Grand Knight of the Order of the Crown of Italy, but never performed. The production today is by seven massed bands plus 30 drummers.
November 26, 1878: The libel suit of painter John McNeill Whistler against critic John Ruskin is decided by a London jury in favor of Whistler. He is awarded one farthing in damages.
December 1, 1878: Alexander Graham Bell installs the first telephone in the White House, Washington.
December 2, 1878: Invading British troops defeat an Afghan force six times their size at the Peiwar Kotal.
December 2, 1878: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (38) arrives in Florence and takes up residence in an apartment provided for him by Nadezhda von Meck. She is living just two doors down.
December 2, 1878: Unüberwindlich op.72/5, a song by Johannes Brahms (45) to words of Goethe, is performed for the first time, in Hamburg.
December 4, 1878: This month sees the first complete performance of the Slavonic Dances of Antonín Dvorák (37), in Dresden. Tonight, nos.1-4 are performed. See 16 May 1878 and 18 December 1878.
December 8, 1878: Warum ist das Licht gegeben op.74/1, a motet by Johannes Brahms (45), is performed for the first time, in Vienna.
December 8, 1878: Sarabande for string quartet by Leos Janácek (24) is performed for the first time, in Brünn (Brno).
December 9, 1878: The overture to Johann Strauss’ (53) unperformed operetta Blindekuh is heard for the first time, in Theater an der Wien. See 18 December 1878.
December 11, 1878: The British send an ultimatum to King Cetewayo of the Zulus demanding a protectorate over Zululand.
December 13, 1878: Twenty Yablochkov candles go into operation on London’s Victoria embankment. This makes England the second country (after France) to have electric street lighting.
December 15, 1878: Der Schmied op.19/4, a song by Johannes Brahms (45) to words of Uhland, is performed for the first time, in Basel.
December 18, 1878: Agostino Depretis replaces Benedetto Cairoli as Prime Minister of Italy.
December 18, 1878: The French passenger ship SS Byzantin strikes the British SS Rinaldo in heavy seas off Gallipoli and goes down with 150 people. About 100 passengers and crew survive.
December 18, 1878: John “Black Jack” Kehoe is hanged in Pottsville, Pennsylvania. He is the last of the Molly Maguires to meet this fate.
December 18, 1878: Blindekuh, an operetta by Johann Strauss (53) to words of Kneisel, is performed for the first time, in Theater an der Wien, Vienna. It is undoubtedly the composer’s worst disaster.
December 18, 1878: The first complete performance of Antonín Dvorák’s (37) Slavonic Dances concludes with nos. 5-8, in Dresden. See 4 December 1878.
December 19, 1878: The Austrian government closes down the Leseverein, the Reading Society of Vienna’s German Students. It is considered too socialistic.
December 19, 1878: The Mandarin’s Son, a comic opera by Cesar Cui (43) to words of Krylov, is performed for the first time, at the Artists’ Club, St. Petersburg.
December 20, 1878: The members of the Leseverein take to Vienna’s streets, protesting yesterday’s decree.
December 25, 1878: The Prelude to Richard Wagner’s (65) unperformed music drama Parsifal is performed for the first time, at Wahnfried in Bayreuth, for the birthday of the composer’s wife, Cosima. See 26 July 1882.
December 28, 1878: Giuseppe Verdi (65) is elected an honorary member of the Academy of Sciences, Letters, and Arts in Modena.
December 28, 1878: Pope Leo XIII issues the encyclical Quod Apostolici Muneris on the evils of socialism.
December 28, 1878: Madame Favart, an opéra-comique by Jacques Offenbach (59) to words of Chivot and Duru, is performed for the first time, at the Folies-Dramatiques, Paris.
December 28, 1878: An open dress rehearsal of the first four scenes of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s (38) unperformed opera Yevgeny Onyegin takes place at Moscow Conservatory. See 29 March 1879.
December 29, 1878: String Quartet no.7 op.16 by Antonín Dvorák (37) is performed publicly for the first time, in Prague. See 17 June 1875.
December 31, 1878: By this date, over 5,000 people are confirmed dead from yellow fever in Memphis, Tennessee. In New Orleans, over 4,600 deaths are reported. The entire Mississippi valley sees 120,000 cases with 20,000 deaths.