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

January 1, 1888 – December 31, 1888

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January 1, 1888: At the home of the violinist Adolf Brodsky in Leipzig, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (47) makes the acquaintance of Johannes Brahms (54). Mrs. Brodsky will remember, “It would be difficult to find two men more unlike. Tchaikovsky...had something elegant and refined in his whole bearing and the greatest courtesy of manner. Brahms with his short, rather square figure and powerful head, was an image of strength and energy; he was an avowed foe to all so-called ‘good manners.’” Later, Edvard (44) and Nina Grieg arrive. They have met Brahms before but never Tchaikovsky, although the Russian is an admirer of Grieg’s music. “It was more like a children’s party than a gathering of great composers.”
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January 5, 1888: Henri Herz dies in Paris, Republic of France, on the eve of his 85th birthday. His mortal remains will be laid to rest in Cimitière Père-Lachaise, Paris.
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January 5, 1888: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (47) begins his first European conducting tour at the Leipzig Gewandhaus.
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January 6, 1888: Three chamber works by Antonín Dvorák (46) are performed for the first time, in the Rudolfinum, Prague: Quintet for piano and strings no.2 op.81, String Quartet no.1 op.2, and String Quartet no.2. Also premiered are five of the twelve Cypresses for string quartet.
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January 8, 1888: Donauweibchen op.427, a waltz by Johann Strauss (62), is performed for the first time, in the Musikverein, Vienna.
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January 9, 1888: The London Financial Guide is founded as a four-page newspaper. Next month it will be relaunched as The Financial Times.
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January 12, 1888: A great blizzard in the central United States kills 235 people, many of them children attempting to return home from school.
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January 13, 1888: Sava Grujic replaces Jovan Ristic as Prime Minister of Serbia.
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January 13, 1888: 33 men form the National Geographic Society in a meeting at the Cosmos Club in Washington. Two weeks from now it will be incorporated.
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January 14, 1888: While on a concert tour in Lübeck, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (47) learns that Tsar Alyeksandr III has granted him a state pension of 3,000 rubles per year for life.
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January 16, 1888: Holiday Quickstep for piccolo, two cornets, two violins, and piano by Charles Ives (13) is performed for the first time, in Taylor’s Opera House, Danbury, Connecticut by the theatre orchestra directed by the composer’s father.
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January 16, 1888: The five finished movements of the Requiem op.48 for chorus, boy soprano, harp, timpani, organ, solo violin, and strings by Gabriel Fauré (42) are performed for the first time, in the Church of the Madeleine, during a mass for M. Joseph Le Soufaché conducted by the composer. See 28 January 1892, 21 January 1893 and 12 July 1900.
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January 20, 1888: Die drei Pintos, a comic opera by Carl Maria von Weber (†61), completed by Gustav Mahler (27) to words of Hell after Seidel, is performed for the first time, in the Neues Stadttheater, Leipzig, 67 years after it was composed. It is extremely successful and gains Mahler more widespread acclaim than he has ever had before.
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January 21, 1888: One scene from Ernest Chausson’s (33) drame lyrique Hélène is performed for the first time, by the Société National de Musique, Paris.
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January 22, 1888: The third version of Anton Bruckner’s (63) Symphony no.4 is performed for the first time, in Vienna. It is an astounding success. See 20 February 1881 and 12 December 1909.
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January 23, 1888: Quintet for piano and strings by George Whitefield Chadwick (33) is performed for the first time, in Chickering Hall, Boston.
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January 25, 1888: A String Quartet in F by Carl Nielsen (22) is performed for the first time, in Copenhagen, the composer playing one of the violin parts. Even though he has had works publicly performed already, Nielsen will later consider this his debut as a composer.
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January 25, 1888: Dein blaues Auge hält so still op.59/8, a song by Johannes Brahms (54) to words of Groth, is performed for the first time, in Vienna.
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January 26, 1888: The Wreck of the Hesperus op.17 for chorus and orchestra by Arthur Foote (34) to words of Longfellow is performed for the first time, in Boston to piano accompaniment. See 27 March 1890.
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January 27, 1888: The National Geographic Society is incorporated in Washington.
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January 28, 1888: Germany and Italy conclude a military convention. Italy promises to support Germany in any war with France.
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January 28, 1888: String Quartet in d minor by Ferruccio Busoni (21) is performed for the first time, in the Leipzig Gewandhaus. The reviews are not positive. One member of the audience, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (47), finds it original but laments what he sees as Busoni’s desire to be German. He thinks that he is ashamed of being Italian.  At a soiree, Tchaikovsky makes the acquaintance of Busoni and local conductor Gustav Mahler (27).  Tchaikovsky finds Busoni "extraordinarily gifted."  He makes no comment about Mahler.
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February 2, 1888: The Richmond Union Passenger Railway begins operations in Richmond, Virginia. Designed by Frank Sprague, it is the first practical, large scale electric trolley system in the world.
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February 3, 1888: German Chancellor Bismarck partially publishes the 1879 alliance between Germany and Austria-Hungary against Russia. Russia opposes Ferdinand of Coburg as King of Bulgaria.
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February 6, 1888: Didrik Anders Gillis Bildt replaces Oscar Robert Themptander as Prime Minister of Sweden.
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February 11, 1888: In Leipzig, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (47) awakens to the sound of a band playing the Russian national anthem below his window. He dines this day with Mr. and Mrs. Edvard Grieg (44) and Ethyl Smyth. Tomorrow he leaves for Prague.
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February 11, 1888: The British South Africa Company claims a protectorate over the Ndebele Kingdom (Zimbabwe) calling it Matabeleland.
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February 14, 1888: While Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (47) is in Prague on a concert tour, he meets Antonín Dvorák (46).
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February 15, 1888: Liebesglut op.47/2, a song by Johannes Brahms (54) to words of Hafis, is performed for the first time, in Vienna.
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February 16, 1888: France extends a protectorate over Tu’a and Sigave, the two kingdoms of the Futuna Islands.
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February 19, 1888: Two works by Johann Strauss (62) are performed for the first time, in the Musikverein, Vienna: Simplicius-Quadrille op.429 and the polka française Soldatenspiel op.430.
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February 19, 1888: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (47) conducts a very successful concert of his own music in Prague which includes the Piano Concerto no.1, the Violin Concerto, Romeo and Juliet, and the Overture 1812. In the audience is Leos Janácek (33) who will review the performance.
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February 23, 1888: Suite in D for orchestra by Edward Elgar (30) is performed completely for the first time, conducted by the composer in Birmingham. See 14 March 1882 and 13 December 1883.
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February 24, 1888: Justorum animae op.38/1 for chorus and organ by Charles Villiers Stanford (36) to words of the Bible is performed for the first time, in Trinity Chapel, Cambridge.
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February 26, 1888: Lagerlust op.431, a polka mazur by Johann Strauss (62), is performed for the first time, in the Cursalon, Vienna. Strauss’ schnellpolka Muthig voran! op.432 is premiered at the Musikverein, Vienna.
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February 27, 1888: Ständchen op.106/1, a song for voice and piano by Johannes Brahms (54) to words of Kugler, is performed for the first time, in Vienna.
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February 28, 1888: Three works by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (47) are performed for the first time, in Paris: Pezzo capriccioso for bass, cello, and orchestra, Andante cantabile for cello and violins, and Humoreske op.10/2 for piano.
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March 1, 1888: The Archiv für Augenheilkunde publishes an article by Adolf Eugen Fick of Zürich wherein he describes his development of the first practical contact lens.
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March 2, 1888: Rosa Papier gives the first public performance of any songs by Hugo Wolf (27).  She sings Morgentau to anonymous words, and Zur Ruh, zur Ruh! to words of Kerner.
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March 3, 1888: Auf zum Tanze! op.436, a schnell-polka by Johann Strauss (63), is performed for the first time, in the Strauß-Palais, Vienna.
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March 6, 1888: Klage op.105/3, a song for voice and piano by Johannes Brahms (54), is performed for the first time, in Vienna.
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March 6, 1888: Louisa May Alcott dies in Boston at the age of 55.
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March 7, 1888: Jeannette Thurber telegraphs Edward MacDowell (27) in Wiesbaden, asking him to join her National Conservatory of Music in New York. He will politely decline.
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March 7, 1888: Le roi d’Ys, an opéra by Edouard Lalo (66) to words of Blau, is performed for the first time, at the Salle Favart, Paris.
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March 9, 1888: German Emperor Wilhelm I, King of Prussia dies in Berlin and is succeeded by his son Friedrich I, King Friedrich III of Prussia. The closing of theatres for ten days is a godsend to Gustav Mahler (27) who is trying to finish his Symphony no.1.
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March 10, 1888: Psyché, a symphonic poem by César Franck (65), is performed for the first time, in the Salle Erard, Paris, conducted by the composer.
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March 11, 1888: Symphony no.2 by Antonín Dvorák (46) is performed for the first time, in the Rudolfinum, Prague, 23 years after it was composed.
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March 11, 1888: A great blizzard begins today and will last until 14 March causing 400 deaths in the eastern United States.
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March 12, 1888: Cecil Rhodes joins the Kimberley diamond companies of the Cape Colony to form De Beers Consolidated Mines.
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March 16, 1888: France annexes Ra’iatea, Taha’a and Huahine (French Polynesia).
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March 19, 1888: France annexes Borabora.
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March 22, 1888: Representatives of twelve clubs meet in a hotel in Fleet Street, London and form the English Football League.
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March 22, 1888: Joseph Joachim writes to Ethel Smyth (29) telling her that the compositions she sent him are “unnatural, far-fetched, overwrought and not good as to sound.” (Collis, 43)
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March 23, 1888: Hugo Wolf (28) plays and sings his Mörike settings to the Wagner-Verein in Vienna. They are impressed.
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March 27, 1888: Nationalist General Georges Boulanger, former Minister of War, is forcibly retired from the French army. He is now eligible to be elected a deputy.
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March 29, 1888: Valentin Alkan (Charles-Valentin Morhange) dies in his home at 29 rue Daru in the Eighth Arrondissment, Paris, Republic of France, aged 74 years, three months, and 29 days. Accounts vary as to how he actually died, although the most accepted is that he was crushed by a falling bookcase in his home.
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March 30, 1888: Austria adopts a national health insurance system.
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April 1, 1888: The mortal remains of Valentin Alkan (Charles-Valentin Morhange) are laid to rest in Montmartre Cemetery on Easter Sunday. Beyond the immediate family, only four people attend. An obituary appearing today in Le Ménéstrel says “Charles Valentin Alkan has just died. It was necessary for him to die in order to suspect his existence.”
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April 3, 1888: Charles Thomas Floquet replaces Pierre Emmanuel Tirard as Prime Minister of France.
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April 3, 1888: Piano Concerto no.1 by Edward MacDowell (27) is performed completely for the first time, in Boston. See 30 March 1885.
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April 4, 1888: Teodor G. Rosetti replaces Ion Constantin Bratianu as Prime Minister of Romania.
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April 9, 1888: Incidental music to Wennerberg’s play Näcken (The Water Sprite) by Jean Sibelius (22) and his teacher Martin Wegelius is performed for the first time, in Helsinki.
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April 11, 1888: Fritz (Frederick) Delius (26) returns to his home in Bradford from his studies at the Leipzig Conservatory.
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April 11, 1888: The Concertgebouw opens in Amsterdam, designed by Adolf Leonard van Gendt.
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April 15, 1888: Nationalist former General Georges Boulanger is elected to the French National Assembly.
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April 18, 1888: The British East Africa Company is incorporated in London.
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April 21, 1888: Aeneas, Baron Mackay replaces Jan Heemskerk as chief minister of the Netherlands.
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April 22, 1888: Messa di Gloria by Pietro Mascagni (24) is performed for the first time, in Cerignola, by a group of students conducted by the composer.
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April 23, 1888: Edvard Grieg (44) and his wife depart Leipzig for his first concert engagements in England.
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April 28, 1888: The German East Africa Corporation signs a treaty with the Sultan of Zanzibar which gives them power of administration over a coastal strip adjacent to Zanzibar in East Africa.
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April 28, 1888: Two works by Gabriel Fauré (42) are performed for the first time, by the Société National de Musique, Paris: Pavane op.50 for orchestra and chorus, and Clair de lune op.46/2 for voice and piano to words of Verlaine.
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April 30, 1888: Count Kiyotaka Kuroda replaces Marquis Hirobumi Ito as Prime Minister of Japan.
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April 30, 1888: A hailstorm in and around Moradabad (Uttar Pradesh) kills 246 people.
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May 1, 1888: Serbian-American Nicola Tesla receives a US patent for the electromagnetic motor. This will make alternating current necessary.
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May 3, 1888: Edvard Grieg (44) appears as pianist and composer with the Royal Philharmonic Society. He is soloist on his Piano Concerto. The performance is a stunning success.
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May 6, 1888: Fritz (Frederick) Delius (26) moves from Bradford to Paris, at first to live with his Uncle Theodor. Unknown to him, France will be his home for most of the rest of his life.
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May 7, 1888: Three Pieces for string orchestra by Edward Elgar (30) are performed for the first time, in Worcester.
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May 9, 1888: Nikola Hristic replaces Sava Grujic as Prime Minister of Serbia.
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May 12, 1888: Great Britain establishes a protectorate over North Borneo and Brunei.
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May 12, 1888: Prélude, aria et final for piano by César Franck (65) is performed for the first time, in the Salle Pleyel, Paris. In the same concert, La fée aux chansons op.27/2 for voice and piano by Gabriel Fauré to words of Silvestre is performed for the first time, on the composer’s 43rd birthday.
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May 13, 1888: Slavery is abolished in Brazil by Emperor Pedro II. The act is signed by Princess Elizabeth in the absence of her father.
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May 16, 1888: Nicola Tesla demonstrates his two-phase induction motor before a meeting of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers at Columbia University.
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May 17, 1888: Gustav Mahler’s (27) resignation in Leipzig is accepted. He leaves over a personal dispute with the stage manager, Albert Goldberg. Mahler has no immediate prospects.
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May 17, 1888: Alphons Diepenbrock (25) receives an honors degree in classical literature from the University of Amsterdam.
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May 18, 1888: The mortal remains of Maurice Greene (†132) are removed from St. Olave Jewry in London and reinterred in St. Paul’s Cathedral near those of his student William Boyce (†109). St. Olave Jewry is being demolished.
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May 22, 1888: The Song of Promise op.43 for chorus and orchestra by John Knowles Paine (49) to words of Woodberry, is performed for the first time, in Cincinnati.
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May 22, 1888: Edvard Grieg (44) and his wife leave London after his first performances in England. They intend to travel to Calais, Denmark, and home.
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May 24, 1888: In a concert of Conservatoire students at the Salle Erard, Ricardo Viñes and Enrique Granados (20) play the Rondo op.73 of Frédéric Chopin (†40).
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May 25, 1888: Francis Galton informs the Royal Institution in London of his studies into the individuality of fingerprints.
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May 31, 1888: Theme and Variations for string quartet by Jean Sibelius (22) is performed for the first time, at Helsinki Conservatory.
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June 1, 1888: The Lick Observatory begins operations near San Francisco. With a 91 cm objective, it is the largest refracting telescope in the world.
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June 2, 1888: Bram Stoker visits Arthur Sullivan (46) with a proposal to write incidental music for a production of Macbeth starring Henry Irving. Sullivan provisionally agrees. See 29 December 1888.
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June 3, 1888: Casey at the Bat, a poem by Ernest L. Thayer, is published in the San Francisco Examiner.
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June 4, 1888: The State of New York replaces hanging with electrocution as the official means of putting prisoners to death.
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June 6, 1888: Great Britain annexes Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean.
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June 7, 1888: Carmen familiare for voice and piano by Charles Villiers Stanford (35) to words of Verrall is performed for the first time, at Trinity College, Cambridge.
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June 8, 1888: WS Gilbert reads the second act of “The Tower Warder” to Arthur Sullivan (46) at Sullivan’s London home. He leaves the words for Sullivan to set. Sullivan is delighted.
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June 8, 1888: The committee of the Brno Beseda writes to Leos Janácek (33) accepting his resignation as conductor.
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June 14, 1888: Great Britain establishes a protectorate over Sarawak.
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June 15, 1888: German Emperor Friedrich I, King Friedrich III of Prussia dies of throat cancer in Potsdam and is succeeded by his son, Wilhelm II, King Wilhelm II of Prussia.
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June 17, 1888: Arthur Farwell (16) is confirmed in the Episcopal Church in St. Paul, Minnesota.
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June 20, 1888: The first railway in Persia opens between Teheran and Shag-Abdul Azima, built by Belgians.
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June 21, 1888: The remains of Ludwig van Beethoven (†61) are exhumed from the Währinger Cemetery and reinterred in the Zentralfriedhof, Vienna. Among those witnessing the event is Anton Bruckner (63).
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June 23, 1888: Scherzo for orchestra by Hans Pfitzner (19) is performed for the first time, in Frankfurt-am-Main.
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June 26, 1888: After viewing a performance of Die Fledermaus in Bern, Johannes Brahms (55) writes an admiring letter to “Meister” Johann Strauss (62).
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June 29, 1888: At the ninth Handel (†129) Festival in Crystal Palace, George Gouraud records an excerpt from a performance of Israel in Egypt conducted by August Manns. The recording is made on an Edison wax cylinder. (It is one of the oldest extant recordings of music)
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June 29, 1888: Richard Wagner’s (†5) romantische Oper Die Feen WWV 32 to his own words after Gozzi is performed for the first time, in the Königliches Hof-und Nationaltheater, Munich, 55 years after it was composed. See 12 December 1833.
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July 5, 1888: Alphons Diepenbrock (25) is appointed teacher of classical languages at the Municipal Gymnasium in ‘s-Hertogenbosch.
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July 12, 1888: After his forced retirement, General Georges Boulanger takes office as a French deputy, representing Nord. A crowd of supporters accompanies him to the ceremony.
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July 12, 1888: At a concert and ceremony for the Prague Academy of Music in the Rudolfinum concert hall, Franz Lehár (18) receives a leaving certificate. This week he will sign his first professional contract, to play violin in Barmen-Elberfeld in the Rheinland.
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July 27, 1888: Philip Pratt of Boston demonstrates the electric vehicle built for him by Fred M. Kimball. He takes a magazine editor for a ride in Winthrop Square.
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August 5, 1888: Trio for piano and strings in G by Ralph Vaughan Williams (15) is performed for the first time, in Charterhouse, Godalming.
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August 7, 1888: Theophilus van Kannel of Philadelphia receives a US patent for a revolving door.
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August 12, 1888: A train runs directly from Vienna to Constantinople for the first time.
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August 15, 1888: Isaac Albéniz (28) plays the first eleven of the Douze Pièces caractéristiques pour piano op.92, possibly for the first time, in Barcelona.
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August 18, 1888: The first Gymnopédie by Erik Satie (22) is published in his father’s La Musique des familles.
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August 21, 1888: The first commercially successful adding machine is patented by William Seward Burroughs of St. Louis.
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August 29, 1888: Judith, an oratorio by Hubert Parry (40) is performed for the first time, in Birmingham. It is a smashing success which secures Parry’s already growing reputation with the public. Also premiered is In Autumn op.11, a concert overture by Edvard Grieg (45), 22 years after he wrote it.
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August 31, 1888: A hurricane moves from the Lesser Antilles to Puerto Rico.
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August 31, 1888: Mary Ann Nichols is murdered in London. She is the first victim attributed to Jack the Ripper.
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September 3, 1888: Alphons Diepenbrock (26) moves to ‘s-Hertogenbosch to take up his new position as teacher of classical languages in the gymnasium there.
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September 3, 1888: A hurricane from the Lesser Antilles moves west into Cuba.
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September 4, 1888: George Eastman of Rochester, New York receives a patent for the first roll film camera which does not require a supporting tripod or table. It weighs 625 grams and can take 100 pictures on a roll. The registered name is Kodak.
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September 6, 1888: Queen Victoria grants a royal charter to the British East Africa Company.
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September 6, 1888: Having crossed from Cuba, the the Caribbean hurricane strikes the northern part of the Yucatán Peninsula.
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September 8, 1888: Little Suite op.1 for string orchestra by Carl Nielsen (23) is performed for the first time, in Copenhagen. The composer is a violinist in the orchestra and the conductor literally drags him out to share the applause.
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September 8, 1888: Annie Chapman is murdered in London. She is the second victim attributed to Jack the Ripper.
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September 8, 1888: The Caribbean hurricane comes ashore at Veracruz and dissipates. Over the last week, it has caused 921 deaths.
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September 9, 1888: Vincent Van Gogh completes Night Café in Arles.
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September 9, 1888: Chile annexes Easter Island.
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September 12, 1888: Ferruccio Busoni (22) arrives in Helsinki with his Newfoundland dog Lesko, to take up a position as piano teacher at the conservatory.
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September 18, 1888: Arabs in coastal East Africa begin an armed revolt against the German administration, at Pangani.
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September 21, 1888: Edward (27) and Marian MacDowell depart Bremen for New York.
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September 22, 1888: Edward Elgar (31) and Alice Roberts announce their engagement to the horror of her family.
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September 23, 1888: The remains of Franz Schubert (†59) are exhumed from the Währinger Cemetery and reinterred in the Zentralfriedhof, Vienna. Among those witnessing the event is Anton Bruckner (64).
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September 30, 1888: Elizabeth Stride and Catharine Eddowes are murdered in London. They are the third and fourth victims attributed to Jack the Ripper.
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October 2, 1888: To the astonishment of everyone in the city, Gustav Mahler (28) is named the new director of the Royal Opera in Budapest. He has been given a ten-year contract at a salary of 10,000 kronen. He is only 28, he is largely unknown, and he is a Jew.
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October 3, 1888: After a journey of 41 days, six Norwegians, led by Fridtjof Nansen, complete the first crossing of Greenland by Europeans.
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October 3, 1888: Violin Sonata op.18 by Richard Strauss (24) is performed for the first time, in Munich.
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October 3, 1888: The Yeoman of the Guard, or The Merryman and his Maid, an operetta by Arthur Sullivan (46) to words of Gilbert, is performed for the first time, in the Savoy Theatre, London. It is a tremendous success and will see 423 performances. The author and composer argue about the arrangement of various numbers through the day. Only just before the curtain goes up is a compromise reached.
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October 5, 1888: Arthur Sullivan (46) records a brief message for Thomas Edison on his phonograph.
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October 6, 1888: Edward (27) and Marian MacDowell depart New York for their new home in Boston.
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October 8, 1888: Deutsche Bank receives a concession from the Ottoman Empire to build a railroad from Izmit to Ankara.
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October 9, 1888: The Washington Monument opens to the public.
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October 9, 1888: Ecce sacerdos magnus for chorus and organ by Edward Elgar (31) is performed for the first time, in St. George’s Church, Worcester.
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October 12, 1888: Ferruccio Busoni (22) gives his first recital in Helsinki. He began teaching at Helsinki Conservatory last month.
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October 12, 1888: Benjamin Johnson Lang gives a reception to welcome Edward MacDowell (27) to Boston. He invites 200 men, almost all musicians, including Arthur Foote (35) and John Knowles Paine (49).
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October 14, 1888: Hamburg joins the German Customs Union.
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October 14, 1888: Ethiopian forces defeat the armies of the Mahdi at Gute Dili.
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October 14, 1888: The new Burgtheater, Vienna opens two days after the old one was closed.
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October 15, 1888: Bremen joins the German Customs Union.
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October 16, 1888: Carl Nielsen (23) conducts in public for the first time, leading his Suite for Strings with the Odense Music Society. His Romance for violin in piano is performed for the first time, the composer taking the violin part.
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October 20, 1888: Charles Ives enters duties as organist at the First Baptist Church, Danbury, Connecticut on his 14th birthday.
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October 21, 1888: Two works by Johann Strauss (62) are performed for the first time at the Musikverein, Vienna: Spanischer Marsch op.433 and the waltz Sinnen un Minnen op.435.
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October 22, 1888: Alyeksandr Glazunov (23) makes his conducting debut in St. Petersburg.
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October 29, 1888: By the Suez Canal Convention in Constantinople, all European powers (Austria-Hungary, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, the Ottoman Empire, Russia, Spain, United Kingdom) declare the canal free and open to all ships of all nations at all times.
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October 29, 1888: A train carrying Tsar Alyeksandr III and his family from the Crimea to St. Petersburg derails near Borki (in present Ukraine).  21 people are killed, 37 injured.  Among those hurt are the Tsar and Tsarina.
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October 30, 1888: King Lo Bengula, ruler of the “Matebeles and Mashonas”, signs over exclusive mineral rights in his lands, north of South Africa, to representatives of Cecil Rhodes.
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October 30, 1888: John J Loud of Weymouth, Massachusetts receives a US patent for a ball point pen.
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October 31, 1888: John Boyd Dunlop receives a patent for pneumatic bicycle tires.
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October 31, 1888: The eleven Zigeunerlieder op.103 for vocal quartet and piano by Johannes Brahms (55) to traditional Hungarian words translated by Conrat are performed for the first time, in the Singakademiesaal, Berlin. Also premiered is Brahms’ song for voice and piano, Salamander op.107/2, to words of Lemcke.
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November 1, 1888: Peer Gynt Suite no.1 op.46 for orchestra by Edvard Grieg (45) is performed for the first time, in the Leipzig Gewandhaus. See 24 October 1885.
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November 3, 1888: Sheherazade, an orchestral work by Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov (44), is performed for the first time, in a Russian Symphony concert at the Club of the Nobility, St. Petersburg.
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November 3, 1888: Three songs for voice and piano by Hugo Wolf (38) to words of Mörike are performed for the first time, in the Kleiner Musikvereinssaal, Vienna:  Der Knabe und das Immlein, Er ist's, and Zitronenfalter im April.  Wagnerian tenor Ferdinand Jäger is in attendance.  Jäger will become Wolf's most ardent supporter in performance.  See 15 December 1888.
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November 4, 1888: Dix pièces pittoresques for piano by Emmanuel Chabrier (47) is performed for the first time, by the Société National de Musique, Paris.
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November 4, 1888: Two works by Emmanuel Chabrier (47) are performed for the first time, in Angers: Joyeuse marche and Prélude pastorale.
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November 5, 1888: Incidental music to Shakespeare’s play (translated by Bouchor) The Tempest by Ernest Chausson (33) is performed for the first time, in the Petit Théâtre des Marionettes, Paris.
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November 6, 1888: Voting in the United States ensures the election of former Senator Benjamin Harrison as President over the incumbent Grover Cleveland. His Republican Party gains 27 seats and takes control of the House of Representatives.
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November 6, 1888: A hospital opens at Villanova near Sant’Agata. The man responsible for the design, who supervised the building, hired the medical staff, and funded the entire project is Giuseppe Verdi (74).
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November 8, 1888: Incidental music to Dumas’ play Caligula by Gabriel Fauré (43) is performed for the first time, in the Théâtre de l’Odéon, Paris conducted by the composer.
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November 8, 1888: Charles Villiers Stanford (36) is awarded an honorary Doctor of Music degree from Cambridge University.
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November 8, 1888: Wagnerian tenor Ferdinand Jäger witnesses a performance of three of Hugo Wolf’s (28) Mörike-Lieder in Vienna. Jäger will become Wolf’s most ardent supporter in performance. See 15 December 1888.
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November 9, 1888: Mary Kelly is murdered in London. She is the fifth and last victim attributed to Jack the Ripper.
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November 14, 1888: In a ceremony before many eminent persons, the Institut Pasteur is dedicated in Paris.
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November 17, 1888: Symphony no.5 by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (48) is performed for the first time, in St. Petersburg, conducted by the composer. The audience is very enthusiastic but the critics are scornful.
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November 19, 1888: String Quartet no.8 op.80 by Antonín Dvorák (47) is performed for the first time, in Hamburg.
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November 19, 1888: Edward MacDowell (27) makes his performing debut in Boston assisting at a concert of the Kneisel Quartet. He plays in a Piano Quintet and also some of his own solo piano music.
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November 23, 1888: Maurice Ravel (13) meets the 13-year-old Ricardo Viñes in Paris. As a virtuoso pianist, Viñes will become a major exponent and champion of Ravel’s music.
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November 24, 1888: Great Britain separates Gambia from Sierra Leone, creating a separate colony.
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November 24, 1888: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s (48) fantasy-overture Hamlet is performed for the first time, in St. Petersburg, conducted by the composer.
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November 24, 1888: Erik Satie (22) advertises the publication of the third of his Trois Gymnopédies. “To the musical public, we cannot recommend this essentially artistic work too highly. It is a work which rightly stands among the most beautiful of the century in which this unfortunate gentleman was born.”
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November 28, 1888: The British West Africa Settlements is dissolved.
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November 30, 1888: An international blockade, organized by Chancellor Bismarck of Germany, is declared against the Arabs revolting against German rule in east Africa.
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November 30, 1888: Auf dem Kirchhofe op.105/4, a song for voice and piano by Johannes Brahms (55) to words of von Liliencron, is performed for the first time, in Vienna.
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December 1, 1888: Serenade for string orchestra op.12 by Victor Herbert (29) is performed for the first time, in Steinway Hall, New York conducted by the composer.
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December 2, 1888: Kaiser Jubiläum op.434, a Jubel-Walzer by Johann Strauss (63), is performed for the first time, in the Musikverein, Vienna.
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December 5, 1888: Two songs for voice and piano by Johannes Brahms (55) are performed for the first time, in Vienna: Verrat op.105/5 to words of Lemcke, and Auf dem See op.106/2 to words of Reinhold.
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December 10, 1888: Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, Marquess of Lansdowne replaces Frederick Temple Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood, Earl of Dufferin as Viceroy of India.
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December 11, 1888: Gabon is united with the French Congo.
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December 12, 1888: Festival Overture “Queen of the Seas”, for orchestra by Charles Villiers Stanford (36), is performed for the first time.
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December 13, 1888: The Metropolitan Trio Club gives its first concert in Steinway Hall, New York. The Piano Trio was organized by its cellist, Victor Herbert (29).
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December 15, 1888: The foundation stone is laid for the Royal English Opera House by Helen Lenoir Carte on Shaftesbury Avenue, London.
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December 15, 1888: Russian Easter Overture by Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov (44) is performed for the first time, in a Russian Symphony concert at the Club of the Nobility, St. Petersburg.
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December 15, 1888: Ferdinand Jäger, who sang Parsifal at Bayreuth, gives an all-Hugo Wolf (28) concert accompanied by the composer in the Bösendorfersaal, Vienna, Wolf’s first appearance in that role. Premiered are Der Soldat I (first public) and Seemans Abschied to words of Eichendorff, Anakreons Grab and Der Rattenfänger to words of Goethe, Der Jäger (first public), Der Tambour (first public), Fußreise, and Peregrina I to words of Mörike, and Gesellenlied to words of Reinick.  The performance is very successful.
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December 18, 1888: Capriccioso op.19/5 for piano by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (48) is performed for the first time, in St. Petersburg.
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December 21, 1888: Sonata for violin and piano no.3 op.108 by Johannes Brahms (55) is performed for the first time, in Budapest, the composer at the keyboard.
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December 22, 1888: Alyeksandr Skryabin (16) makes his debut as composer-pianist at the Great Hall of the Noblemen (Hall of Columns of Union House).
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December 24, 1888: Anton Chekhov meets Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (48) for the first time, in St. Petersburg. They exchange mutual admiration.
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December 25, 1888: Il est né le divin enfant for children’s choir and instruments by Gabriel Fauré (43) is performed for the first time, in the Church of the Madeleine, Paris.
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December 26, 1888: Arthur Sullivan (46) completes incidental music to Macbeth.
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December 29, 1888: Incidental music to Shakespeare’s play Macbeth by Arthur Sullivan (46) is performed for the first time, in the Lyceum Theatre, London in a production by Henry Irving.
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December 30, 1888: The Hainfeld Congress meets. Over the next three days it creates a common agenda for the labor movement in Austria-Hungary.