January 4, 1885: French forces defeat Chinese at Núi Bop in northern Vietnam.
January 4, 1885: Dr. William West Grant performs the first successful appendectomy in history, in Davenport, Iowa.
January 5, 1885: A bridge between Khartoum and the Mahdist-held city of Omdurman is destroyed.
January 8, 1885: A Festmarsch in D for orchestra by Richard Strauss (20) is performed for the first time, in Munich.
January 9, 1885: Spain establishes a protectorate over Rio de Muni (Equatorial Guinea) and Rio de Oro (Western Sahara).
January 9, 1885: Two songs by Johannes Brahms (51) are performed for the first time, in Vienna: Sapphische Ode op.94/4, to words of Schmidt, and Mädchenlied op.95/6 to Italian words translated by Heyse.
January 9, 1885: The Wild Duck by Henrik Ibsen premieres in Bergen, Norway.
January 10, 1885: Der Zaubersee, a song for tenor and orchestra by Franz Liszt (73) to words of Zichy, is performed for the first time.
January 17, 1885: British and Egyptian relief troops are attacked by forces of the Mahdi at Abu Klea. The British survive the attack in furious fighting.
January 19, 1885: Mahdists attack the British and Egyptian relief force at Abu Kru. The British successfully extricate themselves but their commander, Sir Herbert Stewart, is mortally wounded.
January 20, 1885: Edward Elgar (27) signs a contract in London with Schott for the publication of his Romance for violin and piano. Elgar gives them the copyright for one schilling and twenty free copies. It is his first work to be published.
January 22, 1885: A treaty of friendship is reached between Germany and the South African Republic.
January 22, 1885: Anton Bruckner (60) is elected an honorary member of the Akademischer Richard-Wagner-Verein in Vienna.
January 23, 1885: French forces defeat Chinese at Dong Dang in northern Vietnam.
January 24, 1885: Two Fenian bombs explode in the Palace of Westminster, one in the Commons Chamber (which is empty). Two people are seriously injured. Another bomb goes off at the Tower of London.
January 24, 1885: Orchestral Suite no.3 by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (44) is performed for the first time, in St. Petersburg. Conducted by Hans von Bülow, it is extremely successful.
January 24, 1885: Prélude, Choral et Fugue for piano by César Franck (62) is performed for the first time, in the Salle Pleyel, Paris.
January 26, 1885: Besieging Mahdists make a successful attack on Khartoum and pour into the city. British commander, General Charles G. “Chinese” Gordon attempts to reach the Austrian embassy but is discovered on the street and shot dead on the spot by Mahdists. The entire garrison of colonial troops are killed, as are thousands of the inhabitants of the city.
January 26, 1885: Variations and Fugue on the Prelude in c minor op.28/20 by Frédéric Chopin for piano by Ferruccio Busoni (18) is performed for the first time, in Vienna by the composer.
January 27, 1885: Against his will, Claude Debussy (22) leaves for his sojourn at the Villa Medici in Rome, required of all Prix de Rome winners.
January 27, 1885: The six Songs and Romances op.93a for unaccompanied chorus by Johannes Brahms (51) to words of Anonymous, Arnim, Rückert, and Goethe are performed completely for the first time, in Krefeld. See 9 December 1884.
January 28, 1885: A British-Egyptian relief force reaches Khartoum, two days too late.
January 28, 1885: Two works by Johannes Brahms (51) are performed for the first time, in Krefeld: O schöne Nacht op.92/1 for vocal quartet to words of Daumer, and Tafellied op.93b for chorus and piano.
January 30, 1885: Two Songs op.91 for alto, viola, and piano by Johannes Brahms (51) to words of Rückert and Geibel, are performed for the first time, in Krefeld.
February 5, 1885: News of General Gordon’s death so incenses British public opinion that the government pledges a general conquest of the Sudan.
February 5, 1885: A covenant is agreed to by France and the Association Internationale du Congo ensuring French control of the Congo basin west of the Congo River.
February 6, 1885: Italian forces occupy Massawa (Mits’iwa) on the Red Sea coast of Abyssinia.
February 6, 1885: Anti-Chinese riots erupt in Eureka, Washington Territory after a city councilman is accidentally killed in a Tong shooting.
February 8, 1885: Japanese emigration to Hawaii begins as over 150 agricultural workers arrive in the islands.
February 9, 1885: Alban Maria Johannes Berg is born at the Schönbrunner House at Tuchlauben 8 in Vienna, in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the third of four children born to Conrad Berg, proprietor of a book and art store, and Johanna Maria Anna Braun, daughter of a court jeweler.
February 10, 1885: British forces storm the heights of Kirbekan, routing the Mahdists defending the position. Among the dead is the British commander, General Earle.
February 10, 1885: Theme and 19 Variations for piano by Hubert Parry (36) is performed for the first time, in London.
February 12, 1885: The German East Africa Company is chartered.
February 17, 1885: Kaiser Wilhelm signs a charter for a protectorate in Tanganyika, to be administered by the German East Africa Company. It will be kept secret until the Berlin Conference is over.
February 18, 1885: Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain is published in New York.
February 21, 1885: The Washington Monument is dedicated by President Chester Arthur.
February 21, 1885: Nocturne no.1 op.33/1 for piano by Gabriel Fauré (39) is performed for the first time, by the Société National de Musique, Paris.
February 22, 1885: The Moscow branch of the Russian Musical Society elects Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (44) as its director.
February 23, 1885: Three attempts to hang John “Babbacombe” Lee at Exeter Prison end in failure. The trap door does not operate properly. Lee’s sentence will be commuted to life in prison.
February 26, 1885: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (44) rents a house in Maydanovo, the first of several homes he will have around Klin, 90 km from Moscow.
February 26, 1885: The General Act of the Congress of Berlin is signed by 15 countries. All nations are guaranteed free access to the Congo River. The act assures the neutrality of the Congo basin and provides for free access to the River Niger. It sets down rules for the European land rush in Africa and allows for the establishment of a Congo Free State in personal union with King Leopold of Belgium.
February 26, 1885: Arthur Sullivan (42) appears for the first time as conductor of the Philharmonic Society.
February 27, 1885: Two songs by Johannes Brahms (51) are performed for the first time, in Vienna: Der Tod, das ist die kühle Nacht op. 96/1 to words of Heine, and Wir wandelten, wir zwei zusammen op.96/2 to traditional words.
March 3, 1885: The German government announces suzerainty and protection over 150,000 sq km of territory in East Africa adjacent to Zanzibar, recently acquired from local chieftans by the German East Africa Company.
March 3, 1885: The American Bell Telephone Company is founded to create a network of long distance lines throughout the United States.
March 4, 1885: Grover Cleveland replaces Chester Alan Arthur as President of the United States. The 49th Congress convenes in Washington. His Democratic Party holds a majority in the House of Representatives but Republicans still control the Senate.
March 4, 1885: Concerto for horn and orchestra no.1 op.11 by Richard Strauss (20) is performed for the first time, in Meiningen.
March 6, 1885: Concert Fantasia op.56 for piano and orchestra by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (44) is performed for the first time, in Moscow.
March 8, 1885: Dumka for violin and piano by Leos Janácek (30) is performed for the first time, in Brünn (Brno), the composer at the piano.
March 11, 1885: Three songs from op.44 for unaccompanied chorus by Johannes Brahms (51) to words of Heyse are performed for the first time, in Vienna: Nun stehn die Rose in Blüte op.44/7, Die Berge sind spitz op.44/8, and Am Wildbach die Weiden op.44/9.
March 12, 1885: From Holberg’s Time. Suite in Olden Style op.40 for string orchestra by Edvard Grieg (41) is performed for the first time, in Bergen, directed by the composer.
March 14, 1885: The Mikado, or The Town of Titipu, an operetta by Arthur Sullivan (42) to words of Gilbert, is performed for the first time, in the Savoy Theatre, London conducted by the composer. Among the audience are the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh and Prince Louis Alexander of Battenberg. As is his custom, the librettist walks the streets of London during the premiere. The work is phenomenally successful and will see 672 performances.
March 15, 1885: Three works are performed for the first time by the Société National de Musique in the Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris: Les Djinns, a symphonic poem by César Franck (62), Symphony no.2 op.40 by Gabriel Fauré (39), and La sulamite, a scène lyrique for mezzo-soprano, female chorus, and orchestra by Emanuel Chabrier (44) to words of Richepin.
March 17, 1885: Dr. Frederick Treves reports a medical description of the condition of Joseph Carey Merrick (the Elephant Man) to the Pathological Society of London.
March 18, 1885: Il re a Napoli, an operetta by Pietro Mascagni (21), is performed for the first time, in Teatro Municipale, Cremona.
March 19, 1885: Rebels (mostly Métis and Indians) led by Louis Riel seize the parish church in Batoche, Saskatchewan, 275 km north of Regina, and demand the surrender of Fort Carleton.
March 20, 1885: British forces defeat members of Osman Digna’s army at Hashin in the Sudan.
March 26, 1885: The Prussian government orders the expulsion of all Poles and Jews who are Russian citizens. About 30,000 people will be expelled over the next five years.
March 26, 1885: Motion picture film is produced commercially for the first time by the Eastman Dry Plate and Film Company of Rochester, New York.
March 26, 1885: Canadian forces attack Métis at Duck Lake, Manitoba but are defeated.
March 27, 1885: Allegretto on GEDGE for violin and piano by Edward Elgar (27) is performed for the first time, in Wells House, Malvern. Rev. William Gedge runs a preparatory school in Malvern Wells. Elgar teaches some of his seven daughters, and dedicated this work to two of them.
March 28, 1885: While attempting to extend their influence over Tonkin, the northern province of Annam, French forces are defeated by the Chinese at Lang Son, 110 km north of Haiphong. The news turns French public opinion against the Tonkin adventure.
March 28, 1885: The Spectre’s Bride, a dramatic cantata by Antonín Dvorák (43) to words of Erben, is performed for the first time, in Pilsen (Plzen), conducted by the composer.
March 28, 1885: Amy Marcy Cheney (17) plays with a major orchestra for the first time, performing Chopin’s (†35) f minor concerto with the Boston Symphony.
March 30, 1885: Rival British and Russian imperial ambitions in Afghanistan break into open conflict at Pendjeh. Russians take the field.
March 30, 1885: The second and third movements of Piano Concerto no.1 by Edward MacDowell (24) are performed for the first time, in New York. See 3 April 1888.
March 31, 1885: War breaks out in Central America over the drive by Guatemalan President Justo Rufino Barrios to unify the five republics.
April 1, 1885: Gustav Mahler (24) formally requests to be released from his contract as conductor in Kassel. “My heart is bleeding from many wounds.”
April 2, 1885: Cree Indians under Louis Riel kill nine whites at Frog Lake, Saskatchewan.
April 2, 1885: Salvadorans defeat Guatemalans at Chalchuapa, El Salvador. President Justo Rufino Barrios of Guatemala is killed. Since he was the driving force behind Central American unification, an armistice will soon be concluded and the plan shelved.
April 3, 1885: Gottlieb Daimler receives a German patent for his water-cooled one cylinder engine. It effectively solves the problem of cooling and makes the internal combustion engine practical.
April 6, 1885: At at meeting of workers in Brussels, the Belgian Labor Party is founded.
April 6, 1885: Eugène Henri Brisson replaces Jules Ferry as Prime Minister of France. Ferry resigned after the disaster of 28 March in Vietnam.
April 13, 1885: The authorities in Kassel inform Gustav Mahler (24) that his contract will be terminated on 1 September. Mahler wants it to be 1 July.
April 18, 1885: By the Convention of Tientsin, Japan and China agree to withdraw all troops from Korea and disengage themselves militarily from the peninsula.
April 18, 1885: The Patent Monopoly Act is enacted in Japan. It establishes the first Japanese patent office.
April 18, 1885: Hymn in honor of SS Cyril and Methodius for unaccompanied chorus by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (44) to his own words is performed for the first time, at Moscow Conservatory.
April 18, 1885: The entr’acte to Ernest Chausson’s (30) comédie lyrique after de Musset Les Caprices de Marianne is performed for the first time, by the Société National de Musique, Paris.
April 20, 1885: Lied aus dem Gedicht “Ivan” op.3/4, a song by Johannes Brahms (51) to words of Bodenstedt, is performed for the first time, in Vienna, 32 years after it was composed.
April 22, 1885: After three years of study, Pietro Mascagni (21) withdraws from the Milan Conservatory to become assistant conductor of the Castagnetta-Forlì operetta company.
April 22, 1885: Edvard (41) and Nina Grieg move into the house they have just built, 10 km south of Bergen on Lake Nordås. At the suggestion of Mrs. Grieg, they call it Troldhaugen (Troll Hill).
April 22, 1885: Symphony no.7 by Antonín Dvorák (43) is performed for the first time, in St. James’ Hall, London, conducted by the composer.
April 23, 1885: The authorities in Kassel tell Gustav Mahler (24) that he is free to leave his position as of 1 July as he has requested.
April 26, 1885: Great Britain occupies Port Hamilton (Geomun-do), Korea.
April 29, 1885: An agreement is signed by Germany and Great Britain over their spheres of colonization in Africa.
April 29, 1885: If Doughty Deeds My Lady Please for chorus by Arthur Foote (32) to words of Graham is performed for the first time, at the Apollo Club, Boston.
April 29, 1885: The first movement of the Symphony no.2 by George Whitefield Chadwick (30) is performed for the first time, at the Music Hall, Boston, the composer conducting. See 10 December 1886.
April 29, 1885: Wallingford Riegger is born in Albany, Georgia, USA, the son of Constantine Riegger, presently the proprietor of a lumber business, and Ida Wallingford, a music teacher and daughter of an auctioneer and furniture dealer who fell in the American Civil War.
April 30, 1885: Theodoros Pangaiou Diligiannis replaces Charilaos Spiridonou Trikoupis as Prime Minister of Greece.
April 30, 1885: The Boston Pops Orchestra is founded by Henry Lee Higginson.
April 30, 1885: Luigi Russolo is born in Portogruaro (Palazzo Altan Venanzio), Kingdom of Italy, the son of Dominico Russolo, organist of the cathedral in Portogruaro, and Elisabetta Russolo.
May 1, 1885: Maria Swanenburg, having been found guilty of three murders, is sentenced to life in prison by a court in Leiden. She is believed to have poisoned over 100 people, 27 of whom died. Swanenburg will die in prison in 1915.
May 2, 1885: Canadians and Cree Indians battle at Cut Knife Creek, Manitoba. The Canadians have the greater losses and return to Battleford.
May 2, 1885: A setting of the Te Deum for chorus and two pianos by Anton Bruckner (60) is performed for the first time, in the Musikverein, Vienna, conducted by the composer. See 10 January 1886.
May 5, 1885: Friedrich Engels dates the preface to Volume 2 of Capital by Karl Marx.
May 6, 1885: In Nuenen, Vincent Van Gogh completes The Potato Eaters.
May 10, 1885: An English court rules in favor of Georgina Weldon in her libel suit against Charles Gounod (66). He is currently in France and she can not collect, but she retains the right to have him arrested should he set foot in England.
May 11, 1885: Symphony in C op.7 by Horatio Parker (21) is performed for the first time, in the Königliche Musikhochschule, Munich.
May 12, 1885: Canadian troops defeat Métis (those of mixed French-Indian heritage) rebels under Louis Riel at Batoche, 275 km north of Regina.
May 13, 1885: The second revised version of Hymnus: The Heirs of the White Mountains for chorus and orchestra by Antonín Dvorák (43) to words of Halek is performed for the first time, in London.
May 15, 1885: Johan Sibelius (19) passes his studentexamen allowing him to enter Helsinki University as a law student.
May 15, 1885: After the Battle of Batoche, Louis Riel surrenders to Canadian forces.
May 17, 1885: Charles Villiers Stanford (32) writes to the Bach Choir Committee accepting their appointment as conductor.
May 22, 1885: Victor Hugo dies in Paris at the age of 83.
May 29, 1885: Pursuant to the Congress of Berlin, the International Association of the Congo becomes the Congo Free State with King Leopold II of Belgium as sovereign.
June 1, 1885: A large fire destroys two-thirds of the town of Klin, Russia. Among those fighting the blaze are Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (45) and his brother Modest.
June 2, 1885: A monument to Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka (†28) is unveiled in his native city of Smolensk.
June 5, 1885: Great Britain establishes a protectorate over territory adjacent to the River Niger called the Niger Districts Protectorate under the United African Company.
June 9, 1885: By the Treaty of Tientsin, China recognizes a French protectorate over Annam.
June 16, 1885: George Whitefield Chadwick (30) marries Ida May Brooks in Hollis Street Church in Boston, Massachusetts. It is her second marriage.
June 17, 1885: Ordered by his doctor to remove himself from work of any kind, Hubert Parry (37) and a companion depart from Liverpool aboard the Aconcagua bound for Valparaiso.
June 17, 1885: The disassembled statue Liberty Enlightening the World arrives in New York harbor aboard the French frigate Isère.
June 18, 1885: Carl Auer, Baron von Welsbach tells the Vienna Academy of Sciences that he has divided didymia into to new earth elements which he calls Praseodymia and Neodymia.
June 18, 1885: Duke Georg II confirms the appointment of Richard Strauss (21) as assistant court conductor in Saxe-Meiningen.
June 20, 1885: Arthur Sullivan (43) departs London for Liverpool where he will board ship for America. Soon to sail are Richard D’Oyly Carte and a complete cast for The Mikado traveling under assumed names. Carte wants to bring an authentic production to New York before pirates can mount theirs.
June 21, 1885: The Mahdi, Mohammed Ahmed of Dongola, dies in Omdurman.
June 24, 1885: Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil, Marquess of Salisbury replaces William Ewart Gladstone as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
June 29, 1885: Arthur Sullivan (43) arrives in New York from Liverpool, intending to visit his family in California.
July 2, 1885: The Cree leader Big Bear surrenders at Fort Carlton, thus ending the Northwest Rebellion.
July 6, 1885: Nine-year-old Joseph Meister is bitten by a rabid dog in Meissengott, Alsace. He is taken to the laboratory of Louis Pasteur in Paris and becomes the first person inoculated and cured with rabies vaccine.
July 6, 1885: Gustav Mahler (24) departs Kassel for Iglau where he will spend time with his family before taking up his new position in Prague.
July 13, 1885: The Rijksmuseum, designed by Pierre Cuypers, opens in Amsterdam.
July 13, 1885: Arthur Sullivan (43) arrives in Chicago. He finds it “new, handsome, and bustling, and...utterly uninteresting.”
July 15, 1885: König Trojan op.8, a ballad for tenor, baritone, chorus, and orchestra by Horatio Parker (21) to words of Muth, is performed for the first time, in the Königliche Musikhochschule, Munich.
July 15, 1885: Arthur Sullivan (43) reaches Denver. He plays the organ in the cathedral for “a small select audience.”
July 18, 1885: Arthur Sullivan (43) reaches Salt Lake City. He swims in the Salt Lake but pronounces it “too buoyant.”
July 23, 1885: Ulysses S. Grant dies in Wilton, New York at the age of 63.
July 24, 1885: Arthur Sullivan (43) takes the overnight train from San Francisco to Los Angeles where he visits his brother’s children, now living with their stepfather, their mother having died in January.
July 30, 1885: Sudanese forces capture Kassala, 400 km east of Khartoum.
August 1, 1885: Louis Riel is found guilty of treason in a court in Regina, Northwest Territories. Despite the jury’s recommendation of mercy, he is sentenced to death.
August 4, 1885: Arthur Sullivan (43) and several family members set out from Los Angeles for a nine-day journey into the Yosemite Valley.
August 7, 1885: Five German warships enter the lagoon of Zanzibar. Germany demands that the Sultan of Zanzibar hand over his mainland possessions to them.
August 14, 1885: After three weeks “vacation” in Chile, Hubert Parry (37) boards ship again in Valparaiso, bound for England.
August 15, 1885: In the German medical journal Fortschritte der Medezin, Theodor Escherich names the bacterium he discovered: E coli. He found it in the used diaper of a Munich baby.
August 17, 1885: Gustav Mahler (25) conducts for the first time in Prague, a performance of Cherubini’s (†43) Der Wasserträger (Les deux journées), in the presence of Emperor Franz Joseph.
August 18, 1885: The D’Oyly Carte production of The Mikado is put on in New York five days ahead of schedule to beat out a pirate production. The cast traveled under assumed names so as not to arouse suspicion. Arthur Sullivan (43) is currently in Los Angeles, WS Gilbert, in London.
August 26, 1885: Mors et Vita, an oratorio by Charles Gounod (67) to his own words, is performed for the first time, in Birmingham. The work proves a great success but the composer is unable to attend. Should he set foot in England, he would be arrested for debts he owes Georgina Weldon. She won a judgment against Gounod of over £11,000 for secretarial work, room, and board and damages for libels he spoke since their breakup.
August 28, 1885: The Three Holy Children op.22, an oratorio for solo voices, chorus, and orchestra by Charles Villiers Stanford (32) to words of the Bible, is performed for the first time, in Birmingham.
August 29, 1885: Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach receive a German patent for a “Reitwagen” (motorcycle).
September 1, 1885: The area south of the Molopo River in southern Africa is made a Crown Colony of Great Britain.
September 2, 1885: Whites attack a Chinese settlement in Rock Springs, Wyoming killing 28 people and wounding 15. Several hundred others are driven away.
September 3, 1885: After six weeks visiting his brother’s children, Arthur Sullivan (43) boards a train in Los Angeles making for New York.
September 6, 1885: After one-and-a-half years in Europe, Charles Martin Loeffler (24) sails from Europe for Boston.
September 7, 1885: Beginning today, King Ludwig II of Bavaria spends ten days in Neuschwanstein. It is the only time he will spend living in his dream castle.
September 9, 1885: Returning from his California trip, Arthur Sullivan (43) arrives by train in New York, where he is met by Richard D’Oyly Carte.
September 10, 1885: Russia and Great Britain mediate their rival claims on Central Asia with a treaty signed in St. Petersburg.
September 15, 1885: Johan Sibelius (19) enters the Music Institute in Helsinki, studying principally the violin.
September 18, 1885: Bulgarian nationalists seize power in Plovdiv, capital of Eastern Rumelia, and declare union with Bulgaria.
September 21, 1885: Prince Aleksandur of Bulgaria proclaims the union of the two Bulgarias.
September 21, 1885: Mrs. Jeannette Thurber receives a Certificate of Incorporation from the State of New York for the National Conservatory of Music.
September 22, 1885: Russia, opposed to the action of Prince Aleksandur unifying Bulgaria, removes its officers from Bulgaria.
September 25, 1885: Following street demonstrations in favor of gaining the rest of Ipiros from Turkey, Greek forces are mobilized by the government.
September 28, 1885: Despite the current smallpox epidemic, rioting takes place in Montreal in opposition to forced vaccination by the provincial government.
September 28, 1885: Ballade for violin and piano op.15 by Antonín Dvorák (43) is performed for the first time, in Prague.
September 29, 1885: A US circuit court judge denies an injunction requested by Richard D’Oyly Carte to prevent pirate productions of The Mikado.
October 1, 1885: Richard Strauss (21) takes up the position of assistant court conductor at Meiningen under perhaps the greatest living conductor, Hans von Bülow.
October 15, 1885: The Neue Stuttgarter Musikschule opens its doors. Among its faculty is a cello teacher named Victor Herbert (26).
October 18, 1885: A second round of voting in the French general election results in most seats going to parties of the center-left.
October 18, 1885: Richard Strauss (21) makes his debut as solo pianist, in Meiningen, playing the Mozart (†93) Concerto K.491. He also conducts his own f minor symphony. In the audience is Johannes Brahms (52) who is visiting the city for the premiere of his own Fourth Symphony. He offers the young musician (what Strauss calls) a memorable piece of advice on composing.
October 20, 1885: Romance op.1 for violin and piano by Edward Elgar (28) is performed for the first time, in The Deanery, Worcester.
October 22, 1885: The British government sends an ultimatum to King Thibaw of Burma to cease “anti-British activity.” The king will reject the ultimatum which will lead to war.
October 22, 1885: Pope Leo XIII gives his ruling in the arbitration of the Caroline Islands, claimed simultaneously by Spain and Germany. The Pope grants sovereignty to Spain while granting trading rights to Germany.
October 22, 1885: Arthur Sullivan (43) and Richard D’Oyly Carte arrive back in Southampton from the United States.
October 24, 1885: The Death of Åse from the Peer Gynt Suite no.1 by Edvard Grieg (42) is performed for the first time, in Christiania (Oslo). See 1 November 1888.
October 24, 1885: Der Zigeunerbaron, an operetta by Johann Strauss to words of Schnitzer after Jókai, is performed for the first time, in the Theater an der Wien, Vienna, conducted by the composer on the eve of his 60th birthday. It is an unqualified success and will run for 87 straight nights.
October 25, 1885: Symphony no.4 of Johannes Brahms (52) is performed for the first time, in Meiningen conducted by the composer. Upon hearing the symphony, Richard Strauss (21) calls it a “giant work, great in concept and invention, masterful in its form, and yet from A-Z genuine Brahms, in a word, an enrichment of our art.”
November 1, 1885: Richard Strauss (21), with little training or experience, becomes court conductor in Meiningen after the resignation of Hans von Bülow.
November 3, 1885: Bergliot, a melodrama with orchestra by Edvard Grieg (42) to words of Bjørnson, is performed for the first time, at the Christiania (Oslo) Theatre. It is a hit with critics and public.
November 3, 1885: 300 whites begin the expulsion of all Chinese from Tacoma, Washington Territory.
November 4, 1885: Arson fires destroy part of the Chinese district of Tacoma, Washington Territory.
November 6, 1885: Liebe und Frühling op.3/3, a song by Johannes Brahms (52) to words of von Fallersleben, is performed for the first time, in Vienna, 32 years after it was composed.
November 6, 1885: Arson fires destroy what is left of the Chinese district of Tacoma, Washington Territory. The governor of the Washington Territory calls out federal troops to protect Chinese in Seattle.
November 7, 1885: 09:22 Donald A. Smith, President of the Bank of Montreal, drives the last spike into the Canadian Pacific Railroad at Craigellachie, British Columbia, 80 km west of Revelstoke.
November 10, 1885: Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach attach their lightweight engine to a wooden bicycle creating the first motorcycle. Daimler’s son rides it 12 km from Canstatt to Unterurkheim. But the engine is so hot, the seat catches on fire.
November 11, 1885: The boundary is defined between Liberia and Sierra Leone.
November 13, 1885: Serbia, angry at Bulgaria’s recent increase and concerned about its growing power, attacks Bulgaria.
November 16, 1885: Louis Riel, leader of two rebellions against the Canadian government, is hanged at Regina, Northwest Territories (Saskatchewan).
November 19, 1885: After a three-day battle, Bulgarian forces defeat the Serbians at Slivnitsa, 25 km northwest of Sofiya. They go on to invade Serbia.
November 22, 1885: Schatz-Walzer op.418 by Johann Strauss (60) is performed for the first time, in the Musikverein, Vienna.
November 25, 1885: King Alfonso XII of Spain dies of tuberculosis in Madrid and is succeeded by his five-year-old daughter María de las Mercedes under the regency of Queen María Cristina.
November 25, 1885: The government of Canada sets aside about 26 square kilometers on the northern slopes of the Sulphur Mountains. In two years, the area will be expanded and renamed Banff National Park, the first national park in Canada and the second in North America.
November 26, 1885: Bulgarian troops enter Serbian territory with an open road to Belgrade.
November 26, 1885: Johann Strauss’ (60) Der Zigeunerbaron opens in Pest. It is just as successful in Hungary as it was in Austria and is seen as a symbol of harmony between the two parts of the empire. See 24 October 1885.
November 27, 1885: Práxedes Mateo-Sagasta Escolar replaces Antonio Cánovas del Castillo as Prime Minister of Spain.
November 27, 1885: Cree Indians involved in the 2 April incident are hanged at Regina.
November 28, 1885: British forces occupy Mandalay, the capital of Burma.
November 28, 1885: A truce brings two weeks of fighting between Serbia and Bulgaria to a halt.
November 29, 1885: Brautschau op.417, a polka by Johann Strauss (60), is performed for the first time, in the Musikverein, Vienna.
November 30, 1885: Three Character Pieces for piano and violin op.9 by Arthur Foote (32) are performed for the first time, the composer at the keyboard.
November 30, 1885: Le Cid, an opéra by Jules Massenet (43) to words of d’Ennery, Blau, and Gallet after Corneille, is performed for the first time, at the Paris Opéra. The work is a triumph, although the composer spends the evening down the street at a performance of Manon. Twelve members of the chorus leave after the third act because they feel the performance has lasted long enough.
December 1, 1885: Incidental music to Aeschylus’ play The Eumenides by Charles Villiers Stanford (33) is performed for the first time, at Theatre Royal, Cambridge, conducted by the composer.
December 2, 1885: Amy Marcy Cheney (18) marries Henry Harris Aubrey Beach, MD in Trinity Church, Boston. He is 24 years her senior. After a honeymoon in New York, they will live in Beach’s home at 28 Commonwealth Avenue.
December 6, 1885: Richard Strauss (21) conducts his first performance with the Meiningener Hofkepelle as successor to Hans von Bülow.
December 8, 1885: Johann Strauss, Jr. (60) is granted release from his Austrian citizenship in order to marry his mistress, Adèle Deutsch Strauss (no relation).
December 8, 1885: Piano Quartet op.13 by Richard Strauss (21) is performed for the first time, in Weimar, the composer at the keyboard.
December 8, 1885: A setting of Virga Jesse for unaccompanied chorus by Anton Bruckner (61) is performed for the first time, in the Vienna Hofburgkapelle.
December 13, 1885: Alyeksandr Borodin (52) makes a successful conducting debut with the amateur orchestra of the Medical Academy in St. Petersburg.
December 13, 1885: Kriegsabenteuer op.419, a polka schnell by Johann Strauss (60), is performed for the first time, in the Musikverein, Vienna.
December 14, 1885: Johan Sibelius (20) appears in public, probably for the first time, at a concert of the Helsinki Music Institute. There are no reviews of the event since all the critics attend the local premiere of Tchaikovsky’s (45) First Piano Concerto.
December 17, 1885: British liberal Allan Octavian Hume convenes an Indian National Congress with representatives from all over the subcontinent.
December 17, 1885: Queen Ranavalona III of Madagascar signs a Treaty of Alliance and Protectorate with France. France receives the Bay of Diego Suarez (Antsiranana), the islands of Nossi-Bê and Sainte Marie and power over Madagascar’s foreign relations.
December 17, 1885: The Jurist’s Song for chorus by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (45) to his own words, is performed for the first time, in St. Petersburg to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the School of Jurisprudence.
December 17, 1885: Representatives of Spain and Germany sign a document in the Vatican amicably accepting the 22 October ruling of Pope Leo XIII concerning the Caroline Islands.
December 18, 1885: A month of voting in the British general election comes to an end. The Liberal Party of Prime Minister William Gladstone loses 33 seats and its majority, but will continue to form the government.
December 20, 1885: Germany enforces a protectorate over Dar-es-Salaam and the interior of East Africa.
December 22, 1885: Marquis Hirobumi Ito replaces Prince Sanjo Sanetomi as Prime Minister of Japan.
December 26, 1885: Die Wahrsagerin op.420, a polka mazur by Johann Strauss (60), is performed for the first time, in the Musikverein, Vienna.
December 28, 1885: 72 delegates found the Indian National Congress in Bombay.
December 28, 1885: The Kneisel Quartet gives its first performance, in Chickering Hall, Boston. Made up of the first chair players from the Boston Symphony Orchestra, it is among the first world class chamber groups in America, and will lift the standard of chamber music performance in the New World.
December 30, 1885: The protecting powers (France-Great Britain-Russia) demand that Greece demobilize and refrain from entering the war between Bulgaria and Serbia.