This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.
Find the past “On This Day in History” here.
February 12 is the 43rd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 322 days remaining until the end of the year (323 in leap years).
On this day in 1924, Rhapsody In Blue, by George Gershwin, performed for first time
Rhapsody in Blue premiered in an afternoon concert on February 12, 1924, held by Paul Whiteman and his band Palais Royal Orchestra, entitled An Experiment in Modern Music, which took place in Aeolian Hall in New York City. Many important and influential composers of the time such as John Phillip Sousa and Sergei Rachmaninoff were present. The event has since become historic specifically because of its premiere of the Rhapsody.
The purpose of the experiment, as told by Whiteman in a pre-concert lecture in front of many classical music critics and highbrows, was “to be purely educational.” It would “at least provide a stepping stone which will make it very simple for the masses to understand, and therefore, enjoy symphony and opera.” The program was long, including 26 separate musical movements, divided into 2 parts and 11 sections, bearing titles such as “True form of jazz” and “Contrast: legitimate scoring vs. jazzing”. Gershwin’s latest composition was the second to last piece (before Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1). Many of the numbers sounded similar and the ventilation system in the concert hall was broken. People in the audience were losing their patience, until the clarinet glissando that opened Rhapsody in Blue was heard. The piece was a huge success, and remains popular to this day.
The Rhapsody was performed by Whiteman’s band, with an added section of string players, and George Gershwin on piano. Gershwin decided to keep his options open as to when Whiteman would bring in the orchestra and he did not write out one of the pages for solo piano, with only the words “Wait for nod” scrawled by Grofe on the band score. Gershwin improvised some of what he was playing. As he did not write out the piano part until after the performance, we do not know exactly how the original Rhapsody sounded.
The opening clarinet glissando came into being during rehearsal when; “…as a joke on Gershwin, [Ross] Gorman (Whiteman’s virtuoso clarinettist) played the opening measure with a noticeable glissando, adding what he considered a humorous touch to the passage. Reacting favourably to Gorman’s whimsy, Gershwin asked him to perform the opening measure that way at the concert and to add as much of a ‘wail’ as possible.”
881 – Pope John VIII crowns Charles the Fat, the King of Italy: Emperor
1429 – English forces under Sir John Fastolf defend a supply convoy carrying rations to the army besieging Orleans from attack by the Comte de Clermont and Sir John Stewart of Darnley in the Battle of Rouvray (also known as the Battle of the Herrings).
1502 – Vasco da Gama sets sail from Lisbon, Portugal, on his second voyage to India.
1541 – Santiago, Chile is founded by Pedro de Valdivia.
1554 – A year after claiming the throne of England for nine days, Lady Jane Grey is beheaded for treason.
1593 – Japanese invasion of Korea: Approximately 3,000 Joseon defenders led by general Kwon Yul successfully repel more than 30,000 Japanese forces in the Siege of Haengju.
1689 – The Convention Parliament declares that the flight to France in 1688 by James II, the last Roman Catholic British monarch, constitutes an abdication.
1733 – Englishman James Oglethorpe founds Georgia, the 13th colony of the Thirteen Colonies, and its first city at Savannah (known as Georgia Day).
1771 – Gustav III becomes the King of Sweden.
1809 – Abraham Lincoln was born in Kentucky, former legal holiday in the United States
1816 – The Teatro di San Carlo, the oldest working opera house in Europe, is destroyed by fire.
1817 – An Argentine/Chilean patriotic army, after crossing the Andes, defeats Spanish troops on the Battle of Chacabuco.
1818 – Bernardo O’Higgins formally approved the Chilean Declaration of Independence near Concepcion, Chile.
1825 – The Creek cede the last of their lands in Georgia to the United States government by the Treaty of Indian Springs, and migrate west.
1832 – Ecuador annexes the Galapagos Islands.
1851 – Edward Hargraves announces that he has found gold in Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia, starting the Australian gold rush.
1855 – Michigan State University is established.
1894 – Anarchist Emile Henry hurls a bomb into Paris’s Cafe Terminus, killing one and wounding 20.
1909 – The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is founded.
1909 – New Zealand’s worst maritime disaster of the 20th century happens when the SS Penguin, an inter-island ferry, sinks and explodes at the entrance to Wellington Harbour.
1912 – The Xuantong Emperor, the last Emperor of China, abdicates.
1914 – In Washington, D.C., the first stone of the Lincoln Memorial is put into place.
1934 – The Austrian Civil War begins.
1934 – In Spain the national council of Juntas de Ofensiva Nacional-Sindicalista decides to merge the movement with the Falange Espanola.
1935 – USS Macon, one of the two largest helium-filled airships ever created, crashes into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California and sinks.
1946 – World War II: Operation Deadlight ends after scuttling 121 of 154 captured U-boats.
1946 – African American United States Army veteran Isaac Woodard is severely beaten by a South Carolina police officer to the point where he loses his vision in both eyes. The incident later galvanizes the Civil Rights Movement and partially inspires Orson Welles’ film Touch of Evil.
1947 – A meteor creates an impact crater in Sikhote-Alin, in the Soviet Union.
1961 – U.S.S.R. launches Venera 1 towards Venus.
1968 – Phong Nhi and Phong Nhat massacre.
1974 – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, winner of the Nobel Prize in literature in 1970, is exiled from the Soviet Union.
1990 – Carmen Lawrence becomes the first female Premier in Australian history when she becomes Premier of Western Australia.
1992 – The current Constitution of Mongolia comes into effect.
1994 – Four men break into the National Gallery of Norway and steal Edward Munch’s iconic painting The Scream.
1999 – President Bill Clinton is acquitted by the United States Senate in his impeachment trial.
2001 – NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft touchdown in the “saddle” region of 433 Eros becoming the first spacecraft to land on an asteroid.
2002 – The trial of former President of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Slobodan Milosevic begins at the United Nations war crimes tribunal in The Hague. He dies four years later before its conclusion.
2002 – An Iran Air Tours Tupolev Tu-154 crashes in the mountains outside Khorramabad, Iran while descending for a landing at Khorramabad Airport, killing 119.
2004 – The city of San Francisco, California begins issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in response to a directive from Mayor Gavin Newsom.
2009 – Colgan Air Flight 3407 crashes into a house in Clarence Center, New York while on approach to Buffalo-Niagara International Airport, killing all on board and one on the ground.
* Christian Feast Day:
* Darwin Day (International)
* Georgia Day (Georgia (U.S. state))
* Lincoln’s Birthday(United States)
* National Freedom to Marry Day, unofficial (United States)
* Red Hand Day (United Nations)
* Union Day (Myanmar)