A CHRONOLOGICAL VIEW OF WESTERN MUSIC HISTORY IN THE CONTEXT OF WORLD EVENTS

January 1, 1879 – December 31, 1879

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January 1, 1879: The Austro-Hungarian customs tariff goes into effect for industrial products.
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January 1, 1879: Edvard Grieg (35) meets Johannes Brahms (45) for the first time, in Leipzig. Brahms gives him a handwritten copy of the first four bars of the second movement of his Violin Concerto.
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January 1, 1879: Concerto for violin and orchestra op.77 by Johannes Brahms (45) is performed for the first time, in the Leipzig Gewandhaus by Joseph Joachim conducted by the composer. The audience, which includes George Whitefield Chadwick (24), receives the work warmly but not enthusiastically.
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January 1, 1879: By act of Congress, the US government resumes specie payments, coin in gold and silver for paper money. It was suspended during the Civil War.
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January 1, 1879: Edward Elgar (21) enters upon duties as music director of the County Lunatic Asylum in Powick. He directs chamber music played by the staff for the edification of the inmates. The salary is £30 per year with five shillings extra for any new piece he might compose for them.
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January 1, 1879: The almost two year serialization of Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky begins this month in Russian Herald.
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January 7, 1879: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (38) moves into the Villa Richelieu, Clarens to begin composing the libretto and music to The Maid of Orléans.
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January 8, 1879: Baldomero Espartero dies in Logroño, La Rioja at the age of 85.
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January 11, 1879: Following the expiration of a British ultimatum that the Zulus disarm and give up their sovereignty, British forces invade Zululand.
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January 11, 1879: Two songs for voice and piano by Gabriel Fauré (33) are performed for the first time, by the Société National de Musique, Paris: Après un rêve op.7/1 to anonymous words translated by Bussine, and Sylvie op.6/3 to words of de Choudens.
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January 12, 1879: Abendregen op.70/4, a song by Johannes Brahms (45) to words of Keller, is performed for the first time, in Vienna.
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January 12, 1879: Kennst du mich? op.381, a waltz by Johann Strauss (53), is performed for the first time, in the Sophiensaal, Vienna.
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January 13, 1879: La marocaine, an opéra-bouffe by Jacques Offenbach (59) to words of Ferrier and Halévy, is performed for the first time, at the Bouffes-Parisiens, Paris.
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January 21, 1879: Alfred Satie, the father of Eric Satie (12) marries Eugènie Barnetche, a piano teacher. Eric’s mother died in 1872.
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January 22, 1879: 800 British soldiers are surrounded and killed by 20,000 Zulus at Isandhlwana. Only 40 British manage to escape.
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January 23, 1879: 140 British troops repulse an attack by 4,000 Zulus at Rorke’s Drift in northern Natal.
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January 24, 1879: Germany signs a commercial treaty with Samoa.
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January 25, 1879: Asahi Shimbun begins publishing in Osaka.
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January 30, 1879: Marie Edmé Patrice Maurice, comte de Mac-Mahon, Duc de Magenta, President of France resigns following Republican gains in recent elections. He is replaced by François Jules Paul Grévy.
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January 30, 1879: Fantasie sonata in one movement for violin and piano by Hubert Parry (30) is performed for the first time, in London.
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January 31, 1879: Prelude and Fugue for two pianos by Ferruccio Busoni (12) is performed for the first time, in Mercantil-Saal, Bolzano. The composer plays one of the parts.
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February 2, 1879: Bagatelles op.47 for two violins, cello, and harmonium by Antonín Dvorák (37) is performed for the first time, in Prague.
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February 4, 1879: William Henry Waddington replaces Jules Armand Stanislas Dufaure as Prime Minister of France.
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February 7, 1879: Solo dramatique for clarinet and piano by Ferruccio Busoni (12) is performed for the first time, in Mercantil-Saal, Bolzano, by the composer and his father.
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February 8, 1879: Étienne Marcel, an opéra by Camille Saint-Saëns (43) to words of Gallet, is performed for the first time, at the Grand Théâtre, Lyon. The press is very positive.
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February 10, 1879: After three months of diplomatic protests over the mining/tax policy, Chile severs relations with Bolivia.
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February 13, 1879: Piano Quartet by Hubert Parry (30) is performed for the first time, in London.
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February 14, 1879: Chilean troops occupy the Bolivian port of Antofagasta to stop the Bolivians from selling Chilean mining assets.
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February 15, 1879: Karl von Stremayr becomes acting Chancellor of Austria.
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February 17, 1879: The Bell Telephone company merges with the New England Telephone and Telegraph Company to form two new companies, the National Bell Telephone Company and the International Bell Telephone Company.
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February 20, 1879: Bolivia requests assistance from its secret ally Peru in its dispute with Chile.
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February 20, 1879: Les béatitudes, an oratorio by César Franck (56) to words of the Bible adapted by Colomb, is performed for the first time, in the composer’s Paris apartment with piano accompaniment. Franck sprained his wrist yesterday and the piano part is played by his student, Vincent d’Indy (27). Some who promised to come, including Jules Ferry, Minister of Education, Olivier Halanzier, director of the Opéra, and Ambroise Thomas (67), fail to show. Édouard Lalo (56) is there as a critic. The listeners leave one by one during the performance and only a few friends of Franck remain at the conclusion. See 15 June 1891.
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February 20, 1879: Pariser Polka op.382 by Johann Strauss (53) is performed for the first time, in Paris.
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February 20, 1879: The new Amateur Opera Company gives its inaugural performance, in the Newsboys' Home in Philadelphia, directed by John Philip Sousa (24).
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February 21, 1879: Fantasia Waltzes for piano duet by Charles Villiers Stanford (26) are performed for the first time, at Cambridge University. The composer takes one part.
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February 22, 1879: Frank Winfield Woolworth opens his Great Five Cents Store in Utica, New York.
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February 26, 1879: Caprice Russe op.120 for piano and orchestra by Anton Rubinstein (49) is performed for the first time, in Berlin.
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February 26, 1879: Frank Bridge is born at 7 North Bridge Road in Brighton, Sussex, United Kingdom, the tenth of twelve children born to William Henry Bridge, violinist and conductor, and the first of three born to Elizabeth Warbrick.
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February 27, 1879: Edward Leveaux receives a British patent for a player piano.
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February 27, 1879: Constantine Fahlberg announces his discovery of Benzoic Sulfimide in Baltimore, which he will patent and market under the name Saccharin.
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February 28, 1879: Over 900 Black families fleeing persecution in the south, reach St. Louis, Missouri on their way to Kansas.
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March 1, 1879: US President Rutherford Hayes vetoes a bill which would restrict Chinese immigration. He says it violates the Burlingame Treaty with China which allows free immigration between the two countries.
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March 1, 1879: War of the Pacific: Bolivia declares war on Chile. The news will not reach Santiago for two weeks.
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March 2, 1879: Nur fort! op.383, a polka schnell by Johann Strauss (53), is performed for the first time, in the Musikverein, Vienna.
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March 7, 1879: Arsenio Martínez-Campos Antón replaces Antonio Cánovas del Castillo as Prime Minister of Spain.
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March 8, 1879: Symphony no.1 by Charles Villiers Stanford (26) is performed for the first time, in Crystal Palace, London.
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March 11, 1879: Japan annexes the Ryukyu Islands.
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March 11, 1879: Johannes Brahms (45) receives an honorary doctorate from the University of Breslau (Wroclaw) although he does not attend the ceremony. See 4 January 1881.
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March 15, 1879: Guillem de Cabestanh, an overture by Hubert Parry (31), is performed for the first time, in the Crystal Palace, London.
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March 16, 1879: A setting of Psalm 149 for male chorus and orchestra by Antonín Dvorák (37) is performed for the first time, in Prague.
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March 18, 1879: The 46th Congress of the United States convenes in Washington. The opposition Democratic Party takes control of both houses.
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March 24, 1879: Swedish chemist Lars Fredrik Nilson announces his discovery of the element Scandium.
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March 25, 1879: Symphony no.5 by Antonín Dvorák (37) is performed for the first time, in Prague.
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March 27, 1879: Maria Tudor, an opera seria by Carlos Gomes (42) to words of Praga after Hugo, is performed for the first time, in Teatro alla Scala, Milan.
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March 28, 1879: Zulus defeat the British at Hlobane.
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March 29, 1879: 20,000 Zulus attacking a British and colonial force one-tenth their number at Khambula are repulsed with heavy losses. This deals a serious blow to the leadership of King Cetewayo.
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March 29, 1879: Giovanni Passannante is sentenced to death in Naples for attempting to kill King Umberto I last November. The sentence will be commuted to life in prison.
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March 29, 1879: Yevgeny Onyegin, lyric scenes by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (38) to words of Shilovsky and the composer after Pushkin, is performed probably for the first time, at the Malyi Theatre, Moscow by students of Moscow Conservatory. See 28 December 1878 and 23 January 1881.
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March 29, 1879: String Quartet in e minor by Bedrich Smetana (55) is performed for the first time, in Konvikt Hall, Prague.
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March 29, 1879: Mazurek op.49 for violin and piano by Antonín Dvorák (37) is performed for the first time, in Prague.
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April 2, 1879: Toll-line commercial telephone service begins, between Springfield and Holyoke, Massachusetts, operated by District Telephone Company of New Haven.
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April 5, 1879: The Mountain Thrall op.32 for baritone, two horns, and strings by Edvard Grieg (35) to words of Landstat, is performed for the first time, in Copenhagen.
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April 5, 1879: War of the Pacific: Chile declares war on Bolivia and Peru, beginning the War of the Pacific. Chile charges mistreatment of Chilean minorities but their true goal is the saltpeter mines found in the two countries. 

Chilean warships institute a blockade of Iquique, Peru in hopes that the Peruvian navy will attack them. 

Chileans chase the last Bolivian troops out of the Atacama Desert.

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April 5, 1879: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s (38) estranged wife appears at his brother’s apartment in St. Petersburg where the composer is staying, protesting her undying love and devotion. Tchaikovsky gives her 100 rubles and sends her back to Moscow saying that they can not live together. This gets her out of the apartment, but not before she hands him a list of her boyfriends. She will not go to Moscow however, and will continue to dog him, even taking a room in the same building.
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April 6, 1879: War of the Pacific: Peru declares its defensive treaty with Bolivia has come into effect and that they are therefore at war with Chile.
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April 6, 1879: The fourth of the Four Choruses op.29 by Antonín Dvorák (37) to a Moravian folk poem is performed for the first time, in Olmütz (Olomouc).
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April 7, 1879: Khedive Ismail of Egypt sacks his cabinet, which includes many Europeans, and appoints an all-Egyptian government.
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April 14, 1879: Alyeksandr K. Solovyov fires five shots at Tsar Alyeksandr II as he takes his morning walk on the grounds of the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg. He misses his mark and is arrested. He will be hanged.
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April 20, 1879: Portions of Attendez-moi sous l’orme, an opéra comique by Vincent d’Indy (30) to words of Prével and de Bonnières after Régnard, are performed for the first time, by the Société des Auditions Lyriques in Paris. See 11 February 1882.
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April 23, 1879: Festival March by Antonín Dvorák (37) is performed for the first time, in Prague, for the silver wedding anniversary of Emperor Franz Joseph and Empress Elisabeth.
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April 28, 1879: A constituent assembly meeting in Veliko Tarnovo adopts a liberal constitution for the Principality of Bulgaria.
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April 30, 1879: Alexander of Battenberg, nephew of Tsar Alyeksandr, is elected Prince of Bulgaria.
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May 1, 1879: Une éducation manquée, an operetta by Emanuel Chabrier (38) to words of Leterrier and Vanloo, is performed for the first time, at the Cercle International, Paris.
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May 2, 1879: Socialist leader Pablo Iglesias founds the Spanish Socialist Workers Party in the Casa Labra bar in Madrid.
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May 5, 1879: Leos Janácek (24) applies to the Ministry of Culture and Education in Vienna for an unpaid leave from his job at the Teachers Institute in Brünn (Brno) in order to seek further education in Vienna or Leipzig.
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May 5, 1879: Edward MacDowell (18) is brought to the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt to meet its director Joachim Raff, to be considered for admission as a piano student.
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May 7, 1879: Edward MacDowell (18) returns to the offices of Joachim Raff, bringing some of his compositions with him, to be considered as a composition student at the Hoch Conservatory. After examining the music for an hour, Raff accepts him.
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May 14, 1879: The Leonidas arrives in Levuka, Fiji carrying the first 522 indentured Indian workers to the islands.
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May 15, 1879: The International Canal Congress convenes in Paris. Ferdinand de Lesseps, who was responsible for the promotion of the Suez Canal, is named President. The Congress will find that the Panama option is the most viable.
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May 16, 1879: The Czech Suite for orchestra by Antonín Dvorák (37) is performed for the first time, in Prague.
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May 18, 1879: Completed sections of Jacques Offenbach’s (59) Les contes d’Hoffmann are performed to 300 of the composer’s family and friends in his Paris apartment. Two impresarios offer to stage the work and Offenbach opts for the Opéra-Comique.
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May 21, 1879: War of the Pacific: In a naval battle off Iquique, Peru (now Chile), Chilean ships, badly outgunned, fight Peruvians to a strategic draw. Both sides lose one ship.
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May 25, 1879: The Te Deum and Jubilate from the Morning, Communion, and Evening Services op.10 for chorus and organ by Charles Villiers Stanford (26) are performed for the first time, at matins in Trinity College Chapel, Cambridge.
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May 26, 1879: By the Treaty of Gandamak, the frontier is fixed between India and Afghanistan. Great Britain occupies the Khyber Pass and pays a subsidy to the Emir of Afghanistan.
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May 29, 1879: Anselmo José Braamcamp replaces António Maria de Fontes Pereira de Melo as Prime Minister of Portugal.
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May 30, 1879: String Quartet no.2 by George Whitefield Chadwick (24) is performed for the first time, in a graduation concert at the Leipzig Gewandhaus. It is very successful.
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May 31, 1879: Dr. Werner von Siemens demonstrates an electric streetcar at the Berlin Trades Exhibition.
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May 31, 1879: The large open arena on East 26th Street and Madison Avenue, recently leased to the band leader Patrick Gilmore and known as Gilmore’s Garden, is reopened by owner William Vanderbilt under the name Madison Square Garden.
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June 1, 1879: The son of Emperor Napoléon III, the Prince-Imperial, is killed in action in South Africa while serving with the British army.
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June 4, 1879: Incidental music to Hugo’s play Notre-Dame de Paris by Jules Massenet (37) is performed for the first time, at the Théâtre des Nations, Paris. Included is the air Mon père est oyseau, ma mère est oyselle for solo voice.
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June 7, 1879: March héroïque de Szabady for orchestra by Jules Massenet (37) dedicated to Franz Liszt (67) is performed for the first time, at the Paris Opéra for a benefit for flood victims in Szégédin, Hungary.
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June 9, 1879: Alyeksandr Solovyov is hanged for attempting to kill Tsar Ayeksandr II last April.
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June 9, 1879: Edward MacDowell (18) appears in concert for the first time, at Hoch Conservatory, Frankfurt-am-Main, in a recital of the music of Franz Liszt (67) attended by the composer.
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June 19, 1879: Oxford University confers a Doctor of Music degree on Arthur Sullivan (37).
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June 20, 1879: Émile Durand assesses the progress of his student Claude Debussy (16) at the Paris Conservatoire, “Extremely gifted in harmony, but desperately careless.” (www.debussy.fr)
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June 20, 1879: George Whitefield Chadwick’s (24) overture Rip Van Winkle is performed for the first time, in a graduation concert at Leipzig Conservatory, conducted by the composer.
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June 23, 1879: While visiting Milan, Arrigo Boito (37) presents Giuseppe Verdi (65) with a scenario for Otello.
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June 24, 1879: Richard D’Oyly Carte arrives in New York from Britain to produce HMS Pinafore.
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June 26, 1879: Under pressure from Great Britain and France, Ottoman Sultan Abdülhamid II sacks Ismail, Kehdive of Egypt. He is succeeded by his son Tewfik Pasha.
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June 29, 1879: The Trio for piano and strings op.26 by Antonín Dvorák (37) is performed for the first time, in Turnov, along with the premiere of his Polonaise for cello and piano and a Slavonic Dance for violin and piano op.46/2.
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June 29, 1879: Two sacred works for chorus and organ by Edward Elgar (22) are performed for the first time, in St. George’s Church, Worcester: Domine salvam fac and Tantum ergo.
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July 1, 1879: Publicly funded primary education in Belgium is secularized.
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July 4, 1879: Invading British forces defeat a Zulu force four times their size at Ulundi. This ends the war between Great Britain and the Zulus.
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July 9, 1879: Ottorino Respighi is born at Via Guido Reni 8 in Bologna, Kingdom of Italy, the son of Giuseppe Respighi, a postal worker and amateur pianist, and Ersilia Putti, daughter of a sculptor.
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July 10, 1879: Septem sacramenta, responsories for mezzo-soprano, baritone, chorus, and organ by Franz Liszt (67) is performed for the first time, in Weimar.
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July 12, 1879: Benedetto Cairoli replaces Agostino Depretis as Prime Minister of Italy.
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July 15, 1879: Das Glück von Edenhall, a cantata for chorus and orchestra by Engelbert Humperdinck (24) to words of Uhland, is performed for the first time, in Munich.
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July 17, 1879: Todor Stoyanov Burmov becomes the first Prime Minister of Bulgaria.
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July 28, 1879: Arifi Pasha replaces Tunuslu Hayreddin Pasha as Chief Minister of the Ottoman Empire.
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July 28, 1879: French chemist Paul-Emile Lecoq de Boisbaudran discovers the element Samarium in Paris.
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July 29, 1879: Joseph Joachim, in his Berlin home, gives the first performances of Antonín Dvorák’s (37) String Sextet op.48 and String Quartet no.10 op.51 with the composer in attendance. See 9-10 November 1879.
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July 31, 1879: During a performance of Gilbert and Sullivan’s (37) HMS Pinafore at the Opéra Comique Theatre in London, the original backers of the operetta attempt to seize the scenery hoping to open a rival show. The audience believes a fire is underway but are quieted by George Grossmith from the stage. The performance continues.
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August 4, 1879: Alsace-Lorraine is declared Reichsland under a Governor-General.
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August 4, 1879: The company presently producing Gilbert and Sullivan’s (37) HMS Pinafore officially becomes known as Mr. D’Oyly Carte’s Opera Company.
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August 10, 1879: The Kyrie, Gloria, and Credo of the Morning, Communion and Evening Services op.10 for chorus and organ by Charles Villiers Stanford (26) are performed for the first time, at Communion in Trinity College Chapel, Cambridge.
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August 11, 1879: Modest Musorgsky (40) and contralto Daya Leonava begin a concert tour of Russia.
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August 12, 1879: Edvard, Count Taaffe replaces Karl von Stremayr as Chancellor of Austria.
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August 13, 1879: John Nicholson Ireland is born at Inglewood, St. Margaret’s Road in Bowdon, Cheshire, United Kingdom, the last of five children born to Alexander Ireland, a newspaper publisher, and Anne Elizabeth Nicholson, daughter of a professor of oriental languages at Oxford.
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August 17, 1879: Ferdinand de Lesseps organizes the French Panama Canal Company.
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August 20, 1879: Constantijn Theodoor, Baron van Lynden van Sandenburg replaces Johannes Kappeyne van de Copello as chief minister of the Netherlands.
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August 24, 1879: The Benedictus, Magnificat, and Nunc Dimittis from the Morning, Communion and Evening Services op.10 for chorus and organ by Charles Villiers Stanford (26) are performed for the first time, in Trinity College Chapel.
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August 28, 1879: British forces capture Zulu Chief Cetewayo in Ulundi.
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August 28, 1879: Two sacred works by Anton Bruckner (54) are performed for the first time, at St. Florian: Inveni David for unison chorus and organ, and Os justi for chorus.
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August 28, 1879: La lyre et la harpe, for solo voices and orchestra by Camille Saint-Saëns (43) to words of Hugo, is performed for the first time, in Birmingham.
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September 1, 1879: British representatives sign a peace with Zulu chiefs.
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September 3, 1879: Afghans kill the British legation in Kabul, beginning war again.
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September 7, 1879: The Central Executive Committee of The People’s Will, a Russian terrorist organization, condemns Tsar Alyeksandr II to death.
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September 8, 1879: Dumka for piano by Leos Janácek (25) is performed for the first time, in Roznov by the composer.
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September 8, 1879: O sanctissima dulcis virgo Maria! for alto, baritone, and organ, and Ave maris stella for low voice and organ by Antonín Dvorák are performed for the first time, in Sychrov, on the composer’s 38th birthday.
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September 9, 1879: Modest Musorgsky (40) and contralto Daya Leonava give a concert in Odessa. It is the hit of the season.
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September 12, 1879: Isaac Albéniz (19) gives a concert in the Teatre de Novetats after returning home to Barcelona from three years of study at the Conservatoire Royal de Musique in Brussels. He has become a local celebrity.
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September 15, 1879: Almost three weeks of voting for the New Zealand Parliament come to an end. The members are elected without party identification.
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September 15, 1879: By the Treaty of Livadia between Russia and China, Russia gains key positions in the Ili Valley, east of Alma Ata.
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September 24, 1879: Slavonic Rhapsody no.3 by Antonín Dvorák (38) is performed for the first time, in Berlin.
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October 1, 1879: Küçük Mehmed Said Pasha replaces Arifi Pasha as Chief Minister of the Ottoman Empire.
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October 2, 1879: One day after arriving in the city, Leos Janácek (25) passes his entrance examinations at Leipzig Conservatory.
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October 2, 1879: Ernest Chausson (24) enters the Paris Conservatoire in the classes of Jules Massenet (37) and César Franck (56).
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October 7, 1879: A secret alliance is concluded between Austria-Hungary and Germany in Vienna.
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October 8, 1879: British forces occupy Kabul.
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October 8, 1879: War of the Pacific: Chilean naval forces defeat Peruvians off Mejillones, just north of Antofagasta, capturing the Huascar. Peruvian Admiral Miguel Grau dies in the battle.
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October 12, 1879: A British protectorate is created over Afghanistan.
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October 12, 1879: Franz Liszt (67) is made Canon of Albano, the only Church promotion he will ever receive. He is now allowed to wear the purple sash.
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October 13, 1879: Engelbert Humperdinck (25) wins the Berlin Mendelssohn Prize which is set up to pay for a year of study in Italy.
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October 16, 1879: Lady Margaret Hall is opened by the Bishop of Oxford. It houses the first nine women students at Oxford University.
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October 19, 1879: Emir Yakub of Afghanistan abdicates and surrenders to the British.
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October 21, 1879: The Irish National Land League is founded at Castlebar, County Mayo. Charles Stewart Parnell is named President. Their goal is to place Irish farm land in the hands of those who actually occupy the land.
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October 21, 1879: Thomas Alva Edison successfully produces a viable incandescent lamp in his workshop at Menlo Park, New Jersey.
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October 22, 1879: A Capriccio in b minor for piano op.76/2 by Johannes Brahms (46) is performed for the first time, in Vienna.
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October 29, 1879: Eight piano pieces op.76 by Johannes Brahms (46) are performed completely for the first time, in Berlin. See 22 October 1879.
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November 1, 1879: Néron by Anton Rubinstein (49) to words of Barbier and the composer, is performed for the first time, in the Hamburg Dammtortheater.
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November 1, 1879: Carl Nielsen (14) becomes a full time musician as a cornet player in the band of the 16th Battalion in Odense.
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November 2, 1879: Piano Sonata op.37 by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (39) is performed for the first time, in Moscow.
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November 2, 1879: War of the Pacific: Chilean troops land from naval vessels and capture the Peruvian town of Pisagua and establish an effective beachhead.
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November 4, 1879: Eric Satie (13) takes the entrance examination for the Paris Conservatoire.
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November 4, 1879: John and James Ritty of Dayton, Ohio receive a US patent for the cash register.
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November 5, 1879: James Clerk Maxwell dies in Cambridge at the age of 48.
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November 5, 1879: WS Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan (37) arrive in New York aboard the Cunard steamer Bothnia to a tumultuous welcome. They will produce HMS Pinafore and a new operetta yet to be named (The Pirates of Penzance).
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November 8, 1879: Eric Satie (13) enters the preparatory piano class of Emile Descombes at the Paris Conservatoire.
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November 8, 1879: Sonata for violin and piano no.1 op.78 by Johannes Brahms (46) is performed for the first time, in Bonn.
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November 9, 1879: String Sextet op.48 by Antonín Dvorák (38) is performed publicly for the first time, in Berlin. See 29 July 1879.
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November 10, 1879: String Quartet no.10 op.51 by Antonín Dvorák (38) is performed publicly for the first time, in Magdeburg.
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November 11, 1879: Richard D’Oyly Carte and the cast of HMS Pinafore arrive in New York.
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November 16, 1879: A first contract is signed between Gabriel Fauré (34) and the publisher Julien Hamelle, in Paris.
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November 16, 1879: Nordseebilder op.390, a waltz by Johann Strauss (54), is performed for the first time, in the Musikverein, Vienna.
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November 19, 1879: Leos Janácek (25) hears Anton Rubinstein (49) play for the first time, at Leipzig Conservatory. “I’ve not heard a greater artist! Not enormous technique, anyone can learn that, but his conception and rendition of compositions—that’s the real artist in him.” (Tyrrell I, 150)
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November 19, 1879: War of the Pacific: Chilean forces rout the Peruvians in the Plain of Dolores. Within a few days, Chile will take control of all Tarapacá Province.
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November 22, 1879: Leos Janácek (25) attends a concert devoted entirely to the chamber music of Anton Rubinstein (49) at Leipzig Conservatory, Rubinstein at the keyboard. “When I feel Rubinstein’s compositions I fell extraordinary: my spirit truly melts, it takes wing, becomes free and, at the moment when I listen to it, paints free pictures for itself…This verve, this speaking ‘to the soul’ I find nowhere else but in his compositions.” (Tyrrell I, 151).
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November 23, 1879: Stabat mater for six solo voices and string quartet by Ferruccio Busoni (13) is performed for the first time, in Graz, conducted by the composer.
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November 23, 1879: Arthur Sullivan (37) conducts his The Prodigal Son with the Handel and Haydn Society, in Boston.
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November 25, 1879: Three scenes from Alyeksandr Borodin’s (46) unperformed opera Prince Igor are performed for the first time, at the Free School of Music, St. Petersburg.
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November 27, 1879: The French Chamber of Deputies moves from Versailles to Paris. It has been at Versailles since the Franco-Prussian War.
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November 27, 1879: War of the Pacific: Peruvian forces defeat Chileans at Tarapacá, but are forced to retreat north, opening the territory to the Chileans.
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December 1, 1879: The People’s Will blows up a train outside Moscow thinking it contains the Tsar. It is a train carrying baggage ahead of the imperial party.
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December 1, 1879: Arthur Sullivan (37) conducts the first “authentic” production of HMS Pinafore in the United States, in the Fifth Avenue Theatre, New York. The librettist sings in the chorus. It is “a success unparalleled in New York,” writes Sullivan to his mother.
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December 2, 1879: Arrigo Boito (37) sends Giuseppe Verdi (66) the libretto to Otello and offers to make any revisions that Verdi might require.
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December 2, 1879: Edvard Grieg (36) writes to Clara Schumann (60) introducing himself and asking her for letters to prepare a visit to England for him. She will be very helpful, but illness will cause him to cancel the trip.
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December 4, 1879: A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen is published.
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December 6, 1879: Engelbert Humperdinck (25) leaves Munich for study in Italy as a result of his winning the Berlin Mendelssohn Prize.
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December 6, 1879: Archbishop Kliment Turnovsky replaces Todor Stoyanov Burmov as Prime Minister of Bulgaria.
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December 6, 1879: Two works by Pietro Mascagni are performed for the first time, at the Istituto Musicale Luigi Cherubini, Livorno on the eve of his 16th birthday: Elegia for soprano, violin, and piano, and Sinfonia in c minor.
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December 7, 1879: Opern-Maskenball-Quadrille op.384 by Johann Strauss (54) is performed for the first time, in the Musikverein, Vienna.
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December 9, 1879: Antonio Cánovas del Castillo replaces Arsenio Martínez-Campos Antón as Prime Minister of Spain.
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December 9, 1879: Three scenes from Modest Musorgsky’s (40) Khovanshchina are performed for the first time, at a Free Music School concert in St. Petersburg, conducted by Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov (35). It is a great success.
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December 12, 1879: Variations on a theme by Robert Schumann for piano op.9 by Johannes Brahms (46) is performed for the first time, in Berlin, 25 years after it was composed.
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December 12, 1879: Des Teufels Lustschloss D.84, a Zauberoper by Franz Schubert (†51) to words of Kotzebue, is performed for the first time, at the Vienna Musikverein, 65 years after it was composed.
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December 13, 1879: George Whitefield Chadwick (25) withdraws from Leipzig Conservatory to return home. He has been offered a chance to conduct his music with the Boston Handel and Haydn Society. Besides, he is running out of money.
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December 13, 1879: La fille du tambour-major, an opéra-comique by Jacques Offenbach (60) to words of Chivot and Duru, is performed for the first time, at the Folies-Dramatiques, Paris. The audience is ecstatic.
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December 14, 1879: In Haiti, Dominican generals Quintín Díaz and Antonio Pérez attempt to kill Cuban-revolt leader Antonio Maceo. Maceo is forewarned and the attempt fails.
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December 16, 1879: Klage I op.69/1, a song by Johannes Brahms (46) to traditional words, is performed for the first time, in Vienna.
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December 17, 1879: Edward op.75/1 for alto, tenor and piano by Johannes Brahms (46) to anonymous words is performed for the first time, in Vienna.
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December 18, 1879: Gustav Mahler (19) moves out of his Vienna apartment at 39 Windmühlgaße. He has found better accommodations at 12 Wipplingerstraße.
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December 18, 1879: President Mariano Ignacio Prado of Peru sails from Lima for Europe, hoping to gain the necessities for further conflict.
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December 20, 1879: Suite no.1 for orchestra by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (39) is performed for the first time, in Moscow.
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December 21, 1879: A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen opens in Copenhagen.
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December 21, 1879: Vice President Luis La Puerta of Peru is overthrown.
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December 23, 1879: Pursuant to the uprising of two days ago, José Nicolás Baltasar Fernández de Piérola y Villena assumes the presidency of Peru.
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December 25, 1879: Mazurek op.49 for violin and orchestra by Antonín Dvorák (38) is performed for the first time, in Pilsen (Plzen).
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December 28, 1879: The Tay Bridge collapses into the Firth of Tay at Dundee, Scotland during a storm. A train crossing the bridge is lost with 75 people killed.
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December 28, 1879: As a result of his army’s dismal performance against the Chileans, President Hilarión Daza Grosellé of Bolivia is overthrown. Uladislao Silva leads a junta to rule the country.
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December 28, 1879: Prague Waltzes for orchestra by Antonín Dvorák (38) are performed for the first time, in Prague.
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December 29, 1879: Charles Louis de Saulces de Freycinet replaces William Henry Waddington as Prime Minister of France.
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December 30, 1879: The Pirates of Penzance, or The Slave of Duty, an operetta by Arthur Sullivan (37) to words of Gilbert, is performed for the first time, in the Royal Bijou Theatre, Paignton, 40 km east of Plymouth. It is given by one of Richard D’Oyly Carte’s touring companies and is missing important music that Sullivan has only recently composed in New York. The singers had to learn it so quickly that the police enter in the second act not with lanterns but with copies of the music. This performance is given only to secure the British copyright.
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December 30, 1879: John Philip Sousa (25) marries Jane van Middlesworth Bellis, the daughter of a carpenter, at her home in Philadelphia.
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December 31, 1879: Thomas A. Edison transports 3,000 people to his workshop in Menlo Park, New Jersey, to view a demonstration of hundreds of burning incandescent lamps.
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December 31, 1879: The cornerstone is laid for Iolani Palace in Honolulu.
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December 31, 1879: Arthur Sullivan (37) opens The Pirates of Penzance in New York, to great success.