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.
May 29 is the 149th day of the year (150th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 216 days remaining until the end of the year.
On this day in 1913, Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du printemps makes its infamous world premiere
Some of those in attendance to see the Ballets Russes at the Théâtre des Champs-élysées on May 29, 1913, would already have been familiar with the young Russian composer Igor Stravinsky through his 1910 ballet L’Oiseau de feu (The Firebird). But if they expected his newest work to proceed in the same familiar and pleasing vein as his first, they were in for a surprise. From the moment the premiere performance of Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du printemps (Rite of Spring) began on this night in 1913, it was clear that even an audience of sophisticated Parisians was totally unprepared for something so avant-garde.
After undergoing revisions almost up until the very day of its first performance, it was premiered on Thursday, May 29, 1913 at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris and was conducted by Pierre Monteux under the Ballets Russes.
The premiere involved one of the most famous classical music riots in history. The intensely rhythmic score and primitive scenario shocked audiences more accustomed to the demure conventions of classical ballet. Vaslav Nijinsky’s choreography was a radical departure from classical ballet. Stravinsky would later write in his autobiography of the process of working with Nijinsky on the choreography, stating that “the poor boy knew nothing of music” and that Nijinsky “had been saddled with a task beyond his capacity.” While Stravinsky praised Nijinsky’s amazing dance talent, he was frustrated working with him on choreography.
This frustration was reciprocated by Nijinsky with regard to Stravinsky’s patronizing attitude: “…so much time is wasted as Stravinsky thinks he is the only one who knows anything about music. In working with me he explains the value of the black notes, the white notes, of quavers and semiquavers, as though I had never studied music at all… I wish he would talk more about his music for Sacre, and not give a lecture on the beginning theory of music.”
The complex music and violent dance steps depicting fertility rites first drew catcalls and whistles from the crowd. At the start, the audience began to boo loudly. There were loud arguments in the audience between supporters and opponents of the work. These were soon followed by shouts and fistfights in the aisles. The unrest in the audience eventually degenerated into a riot. The Paris police arrived by intermission, but they restored only limited order. Chaos reigned for the remainder of the performance. Fellow composer Camille Saint-Saëns famously stormed out of the premiére allegedly infuriated over the misuse of the bassoon in the ballet’s opening bars (though Stravinsky later said “I do not know who invented the story that he was present at, but soon walked out of, the premiere.”) .
Stravinsky ran backstage, where Diaghilev was turning the lights on and off in an attempt to try to calm the audience. Nijinsky stood on a chair, leaned out (far enough that Stravinsky had to grab his coat-tail), and shouted counts to the dancers, who were unable to hear the orchestra (this was challenging because Russian numbers above ten are polysyllabic, such as eighteen: vosemnadsat vs. seventeen: semnadsat).
After the premiere, Diaghilev is reported to have commented to Nijinsky and Stravinsky at dinner that the scandal was “exactly what I wanted.”
1167 – Battle of Monte Porzio – A Roman army supporting Pope Alexander III is defeated by Christian of Buch and Rainald of Dassel
1328 – Philip VI is crowned King of France.
1453 – Fall of Constantinople: Ottoman armies under Sultan Mehmed II Fatih capture Constantinople after a 53-day siege, ending the Byzantine Empire. Although the date of May 29, 1453, is that of the Julian Calendar, the event is commemorated in Istanbul on this day of the present Gregorian calendar.
1660 – English Restoration: Charles II (on his birthday – see below) is restored to the throne of Great Britain.
1677 – Treaty of Middle Plantation establishes peace between the Virginia colonists and the local Natives.
1727 – Peter II becomes Tsar of Russia.
1733 – The right of Canadians to keep Indian slaves is upheld at Quebec City.
1780 – American Revolutionary War: At the Battle of Waxhaws Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton massacres Colonel Abraham Buford’s continentals allegedly after the continentals surrender. 113 Americans are killed.
1790 – Rhode Island becomes the last of the original United States’ colonies to ratify the Constitution and is admitted as the 13th U.S. state.
1798 – United Irishmen Rebellion: Between 300 and 500 United Irishmen are massacred by the British Army in County Kildare, Ireland.
1848 – Wisconsin is admitted as the 30th U.S. state.
1864 – Emperor Maximilian of Mexico arrives in Mexico for the first time.
1867 – The Austro-Hungarian agreement known as Ausgleich (“the Compromise”) is born through Act 12, which establishes the Austro-Hungarian Empire; on June 8 Emperor Franz Joseph is crowned King of Hungary.
1868 – The assassination of Michael Obrenovich III, Prince of Serbia, in Belgrade.
1886 – Chemist John Pemberton places his first advertisement for Coca-Cola, the ad appearing in the Atlanta Journal.
1903 – May coup d’etat: Alexander Obrenovich, King of Serbia, and Queen Draga, are assassinated in Belgrade by the Black Hand (Crna Ruka) organization.
1913 – Igor Stravinsky’s ballet score The Rite of Spring receives its premiere performance in Paris, provoking a riot.
1914 – Ocean liner RMS Empress of Ireland sinks in the Gulf of St. Lawrence with the loss of 1,024 lives.
1919 – Einstein’s theory of general relativity is tested (later confirmed) by Arthur Eddington’s observation of a total solar eclipse in Principe and by Andrew Crommelin in Sobral, Ceara, Brazil.
1931 – Born October 19, 1899 in Sardinia, Michele “Mike” Schirru, Anarchist against Fascism, U.S. Citizen is executed by Italian military firing squad for INTENT to kill Mussolini. The U.S. Government did nothing to help Mike Schirru.
1932 – World War I Veterans begin to assemble in Washington, DC in the Bonus Army to request cash bonuses promised to them to be paid in 1945.
1939 – Albanian fascist leader Tefik Mborja is appointed as member of the Italian Chamber of Fasces and Corporations.
1940 – The first flight of the F4U Corsair.
1942 – Bing Crosby, the Ken Darby Singers and the John Scott Trotter Orchestra record Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas”, the best-selling Christmas single in history, for Decca Records in Los Angeles.
1945 – First combat mission of the Consolidated B-32 Dominator heavy bomber.
1948 – Creation of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation
1950 – The St. Roch, the first ship to circumnavigate North America, arrives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
1953 – Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay become the first people to reach the summit of Mount Everest, on Tenzing Norgay’s (adopted) 39th birthday.
1964 – The Arab League meets in East Jerusalem to discuss the Palestinian question, leading to the formation of the Palestinian Liberation Organization.
1973 – Tom Bradley is elected the first black mayor of Los Angeles, California.
1982 – Pope John Paul II becomes the first pontiff to visit Canterbury Cathedral.
1985 – Heysel Stadium disaster: At the European Cup final in Brussels, Belgium, 39 football fans die and hundreds are injured when a dilapidated retaining wall collapses after Liverpool F.C. fans breach a fence separating them from Juventus F.C. fans.
1985 – Amputee Steve Fonyo completes cross-Canada marathon at Victoria, British Columbia, after 14 months.
1988 – U.S. President Ronald Reagan begins his first visit to the Soviet Union when he arrives in Moscow for a superpower summit with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
1989 – Signing of an agreement Egypt – U.S. manufacturing parts of the fighter F-16 in Egypt.
1990 – The Russian parliament elects Boris Yeltsin president of the Russian SFSR.
1999 – Olusegun Obasanjo takes office as President of Nigeria, the first elected and civilian head of state in Nigeria after 16 years of military rule.
1999 – Space Shuttle Discovery completes the first docking with the International Space Station.
2001 – U.S. Supreme Court rules that disabled golfer Casey Martin can use a cart to ride in tournaments.
2004 – The World War II Memorial is dedicated in Washington, D.C.
* Christian Feast Day:
* Bona of Pisa
* Maximin of Trier
* Pope Alexander of Alexandria (Eastern Orthodox Church)
* Theodosia of Constantinople (Eastern Orthodox Church)
* May 29 (Eastern Orthodox liturgics)
* Democracy Day (Nigeria)
* Earliest day on which Feast of the Sacred Heart can fall, while July 2 is the latest; celebrated 19 days after Pentecost. (Roman Catholic Church)
* International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers (International)
* Oak Apple Day (England)
* Statehood Day (Rhode Island and Wisconsin)