Classical Music Timeline: 1880s

This is one of a series of postings of important classical music dates, from the 17th century to the present. Included are the date and location of the birth and death of composers, and the premiere date and location of the first public performance of works. When the premiere date and location is unknown, the date or year of completion of the work is given. Though reasonably comprehensive, this is a subjective list, so the choice of composers and works is mine. If you find any errors, or if you can offer a premiere date and location for a work where only the completion date or year is listed, please post a comment here.

1880
Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) completed Two Elegiac Melodies, op. 34

January 20 – Two Rhapsodies, op. 79 by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was first performed in Krefeld, Germany

April 20 – In the Steppes of Central Asia, in A minor, by Alexander Borodin (1833-1887) was first performed in Saint Petersburg, Russia

July 24 – Ernest Bloch (1880-1959) was born in Geneva, Switzerland

December 26 – Tragic Overture, in D minor, op. 81 by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was first performed in Vienna, Austria

1881
Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) completed Norwegian Dances, op. 35

February 12 – Symphony No. 2 in C minor, op. 17, “Little Russian” (2nd and final version) by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) was first performed in Saint Petersburg, Russia

February 20 – Symphony No. 4 in E♭ major, WAB 104, “Romantic” by Anton Bruckner (1824-1896) was first performed in Vienna, Austria

March 25 – Béla Bartók (1881-1945) was born in Sânnicolau Mare, Romania

March 25 – Symphony No. 6 in D major, op. 60, B112 by Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) was first performed in Prague, Czech Republic

March 28 – Modest Mussorgsky (1839-1881) died in Saint Petersburg, Russia

April 17 – Carmen Fantasy, op. 25 for violin and orchestra (on themes from Bizet’s Carmen), by Pablo de Sarasate (1844-1908) was first performed in Madrid, Spain

August 19 – George Enescu (1881-1955) was born in Liveni, Romania

October 30 – Romance in G major for violin and orchestra, op. 26 by Johan Svendsen (1840-1911) was first performed in Oslo, Norway

November 9 – Piano Concerto No. 2 in B♭ major, op. 83 by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was first performed in Budapest, Hungary

December 4 – Violin Concerto in D major, op. 35 by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) was first performed in Vienna, Austria

1882
February 10 – The Snow Maiden, opera by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908) was first performed in Saint Petersburg, Russia

June 17 – Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) was born in Lomonosov, Russia

July 8 – Percy Grainger (1882-1961) was born in Melbourne, Australia

July 26 – Parsifal, opera by Richard Wagner (1813-1883) was first performed in Bayreuth, Germany

October 6 – Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937) was born in Tymoshivka, Ukraine

November 5 – Má vlast, six symphonic poems by Bedřich Smetana (1824-1884) was first performed in its entirety in Prague, Czech Republic

November 27 – Serenade for 13 Wind Instruments in E♭ major, op. 7 by Richard Strauss (1864-1949) was first performed in Dresden, Germany

December 9 – Joaquín Turina (1882-1949) was born in Seville, Spain

December 16 – Zoltán Kodály (1882-1967) was born in Kecskemét, Hungary

1883
February 13 – Richard Wagner (1813-1883) died in Venice, Italy

March 19 – Tamara, symphonic poem in B minor by Mily Balakirev (1837-1910) was first performed in Saint Petersburg, Russia

May 16 – Scherzo capriccioso in D♭ major, op. 66, B131 by Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) was first performed in Prague, Czech Republic

July 4 – Maximilian Steinberg (1883-1946) was born in Vilnius, Lithuania

July 25 – Alfredo Casella (1883-1947) was born in Turin, Italy

July 27 – Franz Doppler (1821-1883) died in Baden bei Wien, Austria

October 14 – Violin Concerto in A minor, op. 53, B108 by Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) was first performed in Prague, Czech Republic

December – Elégie, for cello and piano, op. 24 by Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924) was first performed in Paris, France

December 2 – Symphony No. 3 in F major, op. 90 by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was first performed in Vienna, Austria

December 3 – Anton Webern (1883-1945) was born in Vienna, Austria

December 6 – Sonata in F major for cello and piano, op. 6 by Richard Strauss (1864-1949) was first performed in Nuremberg, Germany

1884
Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) completed From Holberg’s Time: Suite in Olden Style, op. 40

May 12 – Bedřich Smetana (1824-1884) died in Prague, Czech Republic

September 17 – Charles Griffes (1884-1920) was born in Elmira, New York

December 30 – Symphony No. 7 in E major, WAB 107, by Anton Bruckner (1824-1896) was first performed in Leipzig, Germany

1885
Emmanuel Chabrier (1841-1894) completed Habanera

April 22 – Symphony No. 7 in D minor, op. 70, B141 by Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) was first performed in London, England

June 19 – Stevan Hristić (1885-1958) was born in Belgrade, Serbia

July 7 – Ernest Farrar (1885-1918) was born in London, England

September 28 – Ballade in D minor, for violin and piano, op. 15, B139 by Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) was first performed in Prague, Czech Republic

October 25 – Symphony No. 4 in E minor, op. 98 by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was first performed in Meiningen, Germany

November 23 – Stenka Razin, in B minor, op. 13, symphonic poem by Alexander Glazunov (1865-1936) was first performed in Saint Petersburg, Russia

1886
Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) completed Lyric Pieces, Book III, op. 43

January 10 – Aita Donostia (1886-1956) was born in San Sebastián, Spain

May 1 – Romeo and Juliet, Fantasy Overture (3rd and final version), TH 42, by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) was first performed in Tbilisi, Georgia

May 19 – Symphony No. 3 in C minor, op. 78, with organ, by Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921) was first performed in London, England

July 31 – Franz Liszt (1811-1886) died in Bayreuth, Germany

October 15 – Night on Bald Mountain by Modest Mussorgsky (1839-1881) and orchestrated by Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908), was first performed in Saint Petersburg, Russia

November 24 – Cello Sonata No. 2 in F major, op. 99 by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was first performed in Vienna, Austria

December 16 – Violin Sonata in A major, CFF 123, by César Franck (1822-1890) was first performed in Brussels, Belgium

1887
Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924) completed Pavane in F♯ minor, op. 50, for SATB choir and piano

Alexander Glazunov (1865-1936) completed Elegy in D♭ major, op. 17 (In memory of Franz Liszt) for cello and piano

January – Miniatures, for two violins and viola, op. 75a, B149 by Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) was first performed in Prague, Czech Republic

January 22 – Piano Quartet No. 2 in G minor, op. 45 by Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924) was first performed in Paris, France

February 27 – Alexander Borodin (1833-1887) died in Saint Petersburg, Russia

March 5 – Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959) was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

March 7 – Heino Eller (1887-1970) was born in Tartu, Estonia

March 30 – Romantic Pieces, for violin and piano, op. 75, B150 by Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) was first performed in Prague, Czech Republic

October 18 – Concerto for Violin, Cello, and Orchestra in A minor, op. 102 “Double Concerto” by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was first performed in Cologne, Germany

October 31 – Capriccio espagnol, op. 34 by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908) was first performed in Saint Petersburg, Russia

November 15 – Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) completed Violin Sonata No. 3 in C minor, op. 45

December 12 – Kurt Atterberg (1887-1974) was born in Gothenburg, Sweden

1888
Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) completed Nächtens (At night), in D minor, from Six Quartets, op. 112, no. 2

Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) completed Lyric Pieces, Book IV, op. 47

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908) completed Scheherazade, in E major, op. 35

Florida Suite by Frederick Delius (1862-1934) was first performed in Leipzig, Germany

January 6Cypresses, for string quartet, B152 by Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) was first performed (Nos. 1, 2, 3, and 9) in Prague, Czech Republic

January 6 – Piano Quintet No. 2 in A major, op. 81, B155 by Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) was first performed in Prague, Czech Republic

November 17 – Symphony No. 5 in E minor, op. 64 by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) was first performed in Saint Petersburg, Russia

December 15 – Russian Easter Festival Overture, op. 36 by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908) was first performed in Saint Petersburg, Russia

December 21 – Violin Sonata No. 3 in D minor, op. 108, by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was first performed in Budapest, Hungary

December 30 – Ilse Fromm-Michaels (1888-1986) was born in Hamburg, Germany

1889
Alexander Glazunov (1865-1936) completed the orchestration of the unfinished Symphony No. 3 in A minor by Alexander Borodin (1833-1887)

February 17 – Symphony in D minor, CFF 130, by César Franck (1822-1890) was first performed in Paris, France

February 17 – Geoffrey Toye (1889-1942) was born in Winchester, England

October – Ralph Greaves (1889-1966) was born in Lymington, Hampshire, England

November 11 – Don Juan, tone poem in E major, op. 20 by Richard Strauss (1864-1949) was first performed in Weimar, Germany

November 20 – Symphony No. 1 in D major by Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) was first performed in Budapest, Hungary

1870s

1890s

Dean Ketelsen (1953-2023): A Personal Remembrance

Dean Ketelsen at the Grand Canyon Star Party

A dear friend of mine passed away suddenly last week while mowing the lawn at his cottage in St. Charles, Illinois. Most of us are lucky to have maybe a dozen friends. Dean must have had hundreds. He was as generous and kind-hearted as anyone I have ever known. And incredibly knowledgeable about observational astronomy and optics.

I first met Dean while I was an undergraduate student at Iowa State University in the late 1970s. He was hired by Dr. Willet Beavers to make stellar radial velocity observations using the 24-inch telescope at ISU’s Erwin W. Fick Observatory. I was the primary data analyst reducing the data from the telescope, and all of us were amazed at how many stars Dean could observe in a night! I believe Dean was the most productive observer Fick Observatory ever had.

Dean and I were part of the ISU team that traveled to a farm near Riverton, Manitoba, Canada to observe the total solar eclipse on February 26, 1979.

Iowa State University Solar Eclipse Expedition – February 26, 1979
Front Row (left to right): Dan Peterson, Maria Meyers, Chuck Hoelzen, Ed Sexauer
Back Row (left to right): David Oesper, Jim Pierce, David Cook, Mike Andrews, Prof. Stan Williams, Prof. Willet Beavers, Dean Ketelsen, Joe Eitter

After graduation and working for Fick Observatory before the radial velocity grant money ran out (temporarily), I moved to Dell Rapids, South Dakota to work for the EROS Data Center near Sioux Falls. But, before I left, Dean gave me a Unitron refractor. One of many examples of his generosity.

Soon after I moved to South Dakota, Dean moved to Tucson, Arizona to become a telescope operator on the Mayall 4-meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory. Then, as now, the 4-meter scope was heavily scheduled, but on Christmas and New Year’s he sometimes had the scope to himself for photography and visual observing. I asked him once, “What is the most impressive object you ever saw with the Kitt Peak 4-meter?” His reply: “The crescent moon!” I received some beautiful black & white large prints of galaxies and nebulae from Dean taken with one of the large Kitt Peak instruments. I framed and cherished these astrophotos.

Dean left the telescope operator position at Kitt Peak a few years later and began working at the University of Arizona Mirror Lab where he remained for the rest of his life. He was directly involved in fabricating several of the 8.4-meter mirrors—the largest monolithic telescope mirrors in the world—as well as smaller optics as well. Early in his career at the Mirror Lab, Dean was also working part-time on a Master’s degree in Optical Science at the University of Arizona, but he was never able to complete it before classes he took more than five years earlier no longer counted towards his degree. And I can see why. Dean led a rich and busy life, and his many friends and acquaintances were always his first priority.

Dean’s hospitality was legendary. My family regularly visited Tucson over the years, and Dean was always a most gracious host, transporting us to see all the good sights whenever we visited. A tour of the Mirror Lab was often included, so—thanks to Dean—I have been there many a time.

Dean’s generosity was also legendary. Besides the Unitron refractor and astrophotos, many years ago Dean “loaned” me a pair of Fujinon 16×70 binoculars, and after I moved to Tucson in 2022, he gave me a pair of Celestron 25 x 100 binoculars as a house-warming gift, no longer following any pretense that this would be a loan.

Over a several year period, Dean made a 24-inch mirror for the Ames Area Amateur Astronomers in Iowa, which they are still using today in a Dobsonian telescope built by club members. And, speaking of Dobsonians, Dean was a close acquaintance of John Dobson, and they often got together at star parties.

Dean Ketelsen with John Dobson at a star party

Here are some recent examples of Dean’s generosity. When Suzy and I came to Tucson to visit December 26-30, 2021, Dean and his dear friend Susan Yager picked us up at the Amtrak station and they both spent a lot of time with us as we were thinking about moving to Tucson. Ditto for our March 6-10, 2022 house-hunting trip. I was planning to take Amtrak back to Wisconsin with a stop in Alpine, TX to visit my daughter and her family while Suzy flew to Chicago to get back to work sooner, but Dean was driving from Tucson to St. Charles, Illinois so I rode with him. Though he didn’t have to, Dean went out of his way to drop me off in Dodgeville, Wisconsin and then went on to St. Charles.

Before that house-hunting trip, Dean had reached out to the relatives in charge of Derald Nye’s estate, knowing that I would be losing my backyard research observatory in Wisconsin and that it might be possible for me to purchase his home in Corona de Tucson, which would include an observatory. Unfortunately, that opportunity did not happen, but Dean subsequently put in a good word for me so that I could serve on the 16-inch Meade telescope committee which will add that telescope to the TAAA’s TIMPA observing site.

Before we moved to Tucson, Dean offered to transport my astronomical optics in his large van so that I didn’t need to entrust that delicate equipment to the movers. A week before moving, we drove from Dodgeville and he drove from St. Charles where we met up in Rockford at Lino’s for pizza (great restaurant!) and the transfer of optical equipment to his van afterwards. Needless to say, that equipment arrived safe and sound and in perfect condition at our new house just a few days after the movers when Dean made the trip back to Tucson.

After we moved to Tucson on May 1, 2022, besides restaurant get-togethers at Daily Mae’s and Bianchi’s, Dean & Susan joined John & Lana Gilkison at our house to observe the May 15, 2022 total lunar eclipse. Dean (and Susan) picked me up twice for dark-sky observing: once to watch the Tau Herculid meteor shower Memorial Day 2022 at his favorite observing spot along the road to the top of Kitt Peak, and once to observe from Empire Ranch SSE of Tucson. I was looking forward to many more observing sessions with Dean, but sadly that will not happen. I have lost my best observing buddy here.

No one person can relate all the accolades and experiences that Dean had, but I know of a few. Dean received the 2002 Las Cumbres Amateur Outreach Award from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, and the asteroid 124075 Ketelsen (2001 GT1) was named after him.

Dean Ketelsen receiving the 2002 Las Cumbres Amateur Outreach Award
from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific

Dean was primarily responsible for reincarnating the Grand Canyon Star Party in 1991. He was a primary organizer for many years, and I believe he had attended every year since, including this year. I had the good fortune to attend in 2006, and gave one of the “Twilight Talks”. The most wonderful aspect of this star party that makes it very special and decidedly different from other star parties I have attended is that thousands of enthusiastic visitors to Grand Canyon National Park from all around the world are regaled by a twilight talk each night followed by observing through nearly 50 telescopes, binoculars, and green-laser-pointed constellations and satellites. The enthusiasm of the amateur astronomers sharing their love of astronomy with folks who are in an unusually good mood because they’re on vacation in a beautiful place is a winning combination. Dean had a lot to do with that vibe!

Dean was also an excellent public speaker, and frequently gave public astronomy talks and talks about the exciting things happening at the Mirror Lab.

Joan Oesper, Dean Ketelsen, Melinda Ketelsen, and David Oesper at Yerkes Observatory in 2008

Dean was an incredible photographer, whether the subject was astronomical, terrestrial, or people. He and his wife Melinda, who passed away after a long battle with cancer in 2016, have a blog called The Ketelsens! that includes many of his photos and descriptions of many of their experiences through the last posting on May 31, 2020—during the COVID-19 pandemic. I sincerely hope this blog will be moved to a permanent location on the internet before his blogspot account runs out. It would be a terrible shame to lose this treasure!

And, speaking of photography, Dean first suggested many years ago the idea of stereo photography of the aurora. To the best of my knowledge, this has seldom been done, though with cellular phones and digital cameras now it would be relatively easy to coordinate such a venture. Two observers separated by a hundred miles or more with identical cameras, lenses, and exposure times would need to take pictures of the aurora at exactly the same time and in exactly the same direction (centered on the same star or constellation). The results, I’m sure, would be spectacular!

I have found it difficult to capture all I want to say about Dean in this article, but I’d like to finish by sharing with you the recent email communications I had from Dean, right up to the day before he died. All but one of my emails to Dean are unimportant in the context of this article, so they are not included here.

June 4, 2023 email from Dean Ketelsen
Just got word from Elinor’s niece Cathy (Prescott) that Elinor died a couple weeks ago.  Evidently fell and broke her arm in several places, contracted pneumonia and died a week later.  So sad – about the last of that generation of friends.  She and David Levine, Derald Nye, Mike Terenzoni and I were the only folks (and Vicki!) at Grand Canyon #1.  No memorial is planned, but I’ve already asked thru Cathy for a vial of her ashes – maybe we can have our own at the Canyon next year!

July 26, 2023 email from Dean Ketelsen
Hi David-
How are you surviving the heat?  I’ve been up in St Charles coming up on 4 weeks and it has been delightful!  This week is the worst, supposed to be up over 90, I think for the first time, tomorrow and Friday before dropping to low 80s for the weekend.  I love those sunny days in the 70s, though we have been getting some smoke from the Canadian fires, some days worse than others.

The closer it comes, the less I’m excited about the annular eclipse.  Plus I’ve got a “Ketelsen reunion” on 8 October, and after driving to the Midwest, not sure I’m up for returning after less than a week!  So may watch the partial phase from here.  Still thinking about next April.  My first wife Vicki’s sister and her family live in Dallas and am welcome there.  I’ve sent them a map of the path and they are looking for a location closer to the center line for a small group.  Will see what they come up with.  Not sure I’m interested in trying to chase clear spots – again, will see what sort of a zoo it is!

Probably back in Tucson about the weekend of the 12th.  Hopefully temp will have dropped a little towards normal!

Hang in there!

-Dean

August 5, 2023 email from Dean Ketelsen
Hi David-
This article caught my eye in NYT online site.  The hospital mixup was only a few miles from Riverton where we observed the ’79 solar eclipse…

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/08/02/world/canada/canada-men-switched-at-birth.html?unlocked_article_code=yfK-_7q6H6afzU_wYRyJuwzwmtKeLienRf4XbckD3zM34dZdJbUpBz9qUPQDAlwgssUlDamr6GRBP77fEwi6BQUoTsCbnU_viGK326XCYiE1qUM7Tt3Kbn2PGakUowq7a-XhOX2KNNzVulTfEMPZUGUVsxBvKP8B7_l7F97mMDmrAljA85HHWfaEPjsRdj6lVLIw4wuPASnGQk5vrlBtTbPPVfOfe7GVXH8Z1qM4ETdA82K49LhOtNmZmAATgCSgpD1i_NjpQixve3DlH7qpMMME7kw0qbhE9n7kIrT1C55hYfgOno8hW7k4wx9ySdTMlvX5xSL9RPz54ce-x5mncWCQsuuzzDLGv8VN&smid=url-share

Dean texted me about a Space X rocket launch from Vandenberg on August 7. I called him and we talked briefly on the phone. Little did I know it would be the last time I would hear his voice. Then, he sent me this email:

Good Luck!


From:launch-alert-bounces@mailman.qth.net <launch-alert-bounces@mailman.qth.net> on behalf of Launch Alert <launch-alert@mailman.qth.net>
Sent: Monday, August 7, 2023 1:02 PM
To:launch-alert@mailman.qth.net <launch-alert@mailman.qth.net>
Subject: [EXT][Launch Alert] Launch on Schedule

External Email

Tonight’s launch of a Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg SFB appears to be on schedule. The following is an update from SpaceX:

“SpaceX is targeting Monday, August 7 at 8:57 p.m. PT (03:57 UTC on August 8) for a Falcon 9 launch of 15 Starlink satellites to low-Earth orbit from Space Launch Complex 4 East (SLC-4E) at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.”

For launch and countdown status, go to…

August 7, 2023 email from David Oesper to Dean Ketelsen
Hi Dean,
Thanks for letting me know about this.  We had partly cloudy skies tonight, which didn’t help, and I had to observe from my patio so if, as I suspect, the launch would only have been visible close to the WNW horizon, I wouldn’t have been able to see it.  I thought I might be able to see one of the stage separations as it was heading to our southern sky here, but no luck with that either.  Oh well, it was worth a try, anyway.

Thanks,

Dave

August 8, 2023 email from Dean Ketelsen
Hey David-
Watching the launch online, I could see the sunset from the onboard camera, but I don’t think it ever rose into bright sunset.  Still, Ben Bailly of TAAA captured the enclosed last night.  Still, not as spectacular as what it could be – the second taken be non-astronomer friend from Sabino Canyon area 10 months ago she noticed w/o advance warning…. Better luck next time!

-Dean

Dean died the following day. Here is his obituary:

https://www.malonefh.com/obituary/DeanA-Ketelsen

Dean’s obituary states that there will be a future gathering in Tucson to celebrate Dean’s life. As soon as that event is announced, I’ll post the information here in a comment.

Dean Ketelsen – Public Star Party at Sabino Canyon – April 29, 1989

I encourage you to share your personal remembrances of Dean by posting a comment here.

Classical Music Timeline: 1870s

This is one of a series of postings of important classical music dates, from the 17th century to the present. Included are the date and location of the birth and death of composers, and the premiere date and location of the first public performance of works. When the premiere date and location is unknown, the date or year of completion of the work is given. Though reasonably comprehensive, this is a subjective list, so the choice of composers and works is mine. If you find any errors, or if you can offer a premiere date and location for a work where only the completion date or year is listed, please post a comment here.

1870
January 5 – Liebeslieder Waltzes, op. 52, by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was first performed in Vienna, Austria

April 8 – Charles Auguste de Bériot (1802-1870) died in Brussels, Belgium

1871
Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) completed The Bridal Procession Passes By, op. 19, no. 2 [later orchestrated by Johan Halvorsen (1864-1935) as the Norwegian Bridal Procession]

1872
Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) completed the incidental music for Sigurd Jorsalfar, op. 22

May 1 – Hugo Alfvén (1872-1960) was born in Stockholm, Sweden

May 16 – Leokadiya Kashperova (1872-1940) was born in Lyubim, Russia

October 12 – Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) was born in Down Ampney, Gloucestershire, England

November 10 – L’Arlésienne Suite No. 1, op. 23bis, incidental music by Georges Bizet (1837-1875) was first performed in Paris, France

1873
January 19 – Cello Concerto No. 1 in A minor, op. 33, by Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921) was first performed in Paris, France

April 1 – Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) was born in Oneg, Novgorod, Russia

April 22 – Wiener Blut, op. 354, waltz by Johann Strauss II (1825-1899) was first performed in Vienna, Austria

November 2 – Variations on a Theme by Joseph Haydn, op. 56a, by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was first performed in Vienna, Austria

November 10 – Henri Rabaud (1873-1949) was born in Paris, France

December 11 – String Quartet No. 1 in C minor, op. 51, no. 1, by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was first performed in Vienna, Austria

1874
Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) completed Der Abend (The Evening) from Three Quartets, op. 64, no. 2

January 4 – Josef Suk (1874-1935) was born in Křečovice, Czech Republic

May 22Requiem by Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901) was first performed in Milan, Italy

June 22 – Modest Mussorgsky (1839-1881) completed Pictures at an Exhibition, for piano

September 21 – Gustav Holst (1874-1934) was born in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England

1875
January 11 – Reinhold Glière (1875-1956) was born in Kyiv, Ukraine

January 24 – Danse macabre, op. 40, by Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921) was first performed in Paris, France

February 2 – Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962) was born in Vienna, Austria

March 3 – Carmen, opera by Georges Bizet (1837-1875) was first performed in Paris, France

March 7 – Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) was born in Ciboure, France

May 8 – Neue Liebeslieder Waltzes, op. 65, by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was first performed in Karlsruhe, Germany

June 3 – Georges Bizet (1837-1875) died in Bougival, France

September 15 – Louise Farrenc (1804-1875) died in Paris, France

October 31 – Piano Concerto No. 4 in C minor, op. 44, by Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921) was first performed in Paris, France

November 18 – Piano Quartet No. 3 in C minor, op. 60, by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was first performed in Vienna, Austria

1876
Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) completed Ballade in the Form of Variations on a Norwegian Folk Song in G minor, op. 24, for piano

January 12 – Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari (1876-1948) was born in Venice, Italy

January 28 – Sérénade mélancolique in B♭ minor for violin and orchestra, op. 26, by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

February 24 – Peer Gynt, op. 23, incidental music by Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) was first performed in Oslo, Norway

November 4 – Symphony No. 1 in C minor, op. 68, by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was first performed in Karlsruhe, Germany

November 18 – Slavonic March in B♭ minor, op. 31, by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

November 23 – Manuel de Falla (1876-1946) was born in Cádiz, Spain

December 10 – Serenade for Strings in E major, op. 22, B52 by Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) was first performed in Prague, Czech Republic

1877
March 4 – Swan Lake, op. 20, ballet by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

March 9 – Francesca da Rimini: Symphonic Fantasy after Dante, op. 32, symphonic poem by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

July 27 – Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960) was born in Bratislava, Slovakia

November 21 – Sigfrid Karg-Elert (1877-1933) was born in Oberndorf am Neckar, Germany

December 2 – Symphonic Variations, op. 78, B70 by Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) was first performed in Prague, Czech Republic

December 9 – Cello Concerto in D minor by Édouard Lalo (1823-1892) was first performed in Paris, France

December 9 – Romance in F minor, for violin and orchestra, op. 11, B39 by Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) was first performed in Prague, Czech Republic

December 30 – Symphony No. 2 in D major, op. 73, by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was first performed in Vienna, Austria

1878
Vincent d’Indy (1851-1931) completed The Enchanted Forest (La forêt enchantée), op. 8

February 22 – Symphony No. 4 in F minor, op. 36, by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

March 23 – Franz Schreker (1878-1934) was born in Monaco

1879
L’Arlésienne Suite No. 2, incidental music by Georges Bizet (1837-1875) and compiled by Ernest Guiraud (1837-1892), was published

January 1 – Violin Concerto in D major, op. 77, by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was first performed in Leipzig, Germany

February 26 – Frank Bridge (1879-1941) was born in Brighton, England

March 4 – Symphony No. 2 in B minor (revised) by Alexander Borodin (1833-1887) was first performed in Saint Petersburg, Russia

March 29 – Eugene Onegin, op. 24, opera by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

May 15 – Nocturne in B major, op. 40, B47 by Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) was first performed prior to this date in Nice, France

May 16 – Czech Suite in D major, op. 39, B93 by Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) was first performed in Prague, Czech Republic

July 9 – Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936) was born in Bologna, Italy

October 19 – Symphony No. 5 in F minor for Organ, op. 42, no. 1, by Charles-Marie Widor (1844-1937) was first performed in Paris, France

October 21 – Joseph Canteloube (1879-1957) was born in Annonay, France

October 29 – Eight Pieces for Piano, op. 76, by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was first performed in Berlin, Germany

November 8 – Violin Sonata No. 1 in G major, op. 78, by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was first performed in Bonn, Germany

1860s

1880s

Otto Struve & Exoplanets, 1952

It’s too bad the remarkable Russian-born American astronomer Otto Struve (1897-1963) never lived to see the discovery of the first exoplanets, especially considering how he was probably the first to suggest the two main techniques by which they are now discovered.

The first discovery of something that could be called an exoplanet was announced in 1992 by the Polish astronomer Aleksander Wolszczan (1946-) and Canadian astronomer Dale Frail (1961-). They found two planets orbiting a neutron star 2,300 light years away in the constellation Virgo. This neutron star is the pulsar PSR 1257+12, which had only recently been discovered by Wolszczan (1990). The pulsar planets were detected using a variant of the Doppler (radial velocity) method, and a third planet was discovered by the same team in 1994. These planets likely formed from the debris disk formed when two white dwarf stars merged, so they could be considered “exotic” planets, quite unlike anything found in our solar system.

In 1995, the first exoplanet orbiting a “normal” star was announced by Swiss astronomers Michel Mayor (1942-) and Didier Queloz (1966-). Using the Doppler (radial velocity) method, they found a “hot Jupiter” orbiting the star 51 Pegasi at a distance of 51 light years (nice coincidence!).

In 1999, independent teams led by Canadian-American astronomer David Charbonneau (1974-) and American astronomer Gregory W. Henry (1972-) were the first to use the transit method to detect an exoplanet. They confirmed a hot Jupiter orbiting the star HD 209458 (also in Pegasus, another nice coincidence) 157 light years distant that had been discovered using the Doppler (radial velocity) technique only weeks earlier.

As you can see, the 1990s was the decade when exoplanetary science got its start!

Getting back to the prescience of Otto Struve—40 years prior to the discovery of the first exoplanets—Joshua Winn (1972-) in his newly-published The Little Book of Exoplanets writes:

Although the discovery of hot Jupiters came as a surprise, it’s not quite true that nobody foresaw them. In 1952, Otto Struve, an astronomer at the University of California at Berkeley, published a short paper pointing out that the precision of Doppler measurements had become good enough to detect planets—but only if there existed planets at least as massive as Jupiter with orbital periods as short as a few days. Setting aside the question of how such a planet might have formed, he realized there is no law of physics that forbids such planets from existing. In an alternate history, Struve’s paper inspired astronomers to launch a thousand ships and explore nearby stars for hot Jupiters. In fact, his paper languished in obscurity. None of the pioneers—neither Walker, Latham, Mayor, nor Queloz—were influenced by Struve’s paper. The planet around 51 Pegasi probably could have been discovered in the early 1960s, or surely by Walker in the 1980s, had the Telescope Time Allocation Committee allowed him to observe a larger number of stars.

Here is Otto Struve’s 1952 paper in its entirety (references omitted), published in the October 1952 issue of The Observatory.

PROPOSAL FOR A PROJECT OF HIGH-PRECISION STELLAR
RADIAL VELOCITY WORK

By Otto Struve

With the completion of the great radial-velocity programmes of the major observatories, the impression seems to have gained ground that the measurement of Doppler displacements in stellar spectra is less important at the present time than it was prior to the completion of R. E. Wilson’s new radial-velocity catalogue.

I believe that this impression is incorrect, and I should like to support my contention by presenting a proposal for the solution of a characteristic astrophysical problem.

One of the burning questions of astronomy deals with the frequency of planet-like bodies in the galaxy which belong to stars other than the Sun. K. A. Strand’s discovery of a planet-like companion in the system of 61 Cygni, which was recently confirmed by A. N. Deitch at Poulkovo, and similar results announced for other stars by P. Van de Kamp and D. Reuyl and E. Holmberg have stimulated interest in this problem. I have suggested elsewhere that the absence of rapid axial rotation in all normal solar-type stars (the only rapidly-rotating G and K stars are either W Ursae Majoris binaries or T Tauri nebular variables, or they possess peculiar spectra) suggests that these stars have somehow converted their angular momentum of axial rotation into angular momentum of orbital motion of planets. Hence, there may be many objects of planet-like character in the galaxy.

But how should we proceed to detect them? The method of direct photography used by Strand is, of course, excellent for nearby binary systems, but it is quite limited in scope. There seems to be at present no way to discover objects of the mass and size of Jupiter; nor is there much hope that we could discover objects ten times as large in mass as Jupiter, if they are at distances of one or more astronomical units from their parent stars.

But there seems to be no compelling reason why the hypothetical stellar planets should not, in some instances, be much closer to their parent stars than is the case in the solar system. It would be of interest to test whether there are any such objects.

We know that stellar companions can exist at very small distances. It is not unreasonable that a planet might exist at a distance of 1/50 astronomical unit, or about 3,000,000 km. Its period around a star of solar mass would then be about 1 day.

We can write Kepler’s third law in the form V^{3} \sim \frac{1}{P}. Since the orbital velocity of the Earth is 30 km/sec, our hypothetical planet would have a velocity of roughly 200 km/sec. If the mass of this planet were equal to that of Jupiter, it would cause the observed radial velocity of the parent star to oscillate with a range of ± 0.2 km/sec—a quantity that might be just detectable with the most powerful Coudé spectrographs in existence. A planet ten times the mass of Jupiter would be very easy to detect, since it would cause the observed radial velocity of the star to oscillate with ± 2 km/sec. This is correct only for those orbits whose inclinations are 90°. But even for more moderate inclinations it should be possible, without much difficulty, to discover planets of 10 times the mass of Jupiter by the Doppler effect.

There would, of course, also be eclipses. Assuming that the mean density of the planet is five times that of the star (which may be optimistic for such a large planet) the projected eclipsed area is about 1/50th of that of the star, and the loss of light in stellar magnitudes is about 0.02. This, too, should be ascertainable by modern photoelectric methods, though the spectrographic test would probably be more accurate. The advantage of the photometric procedure would be its fainter limiting magnitude compared to that of the high-dispersion spectrographic technique.

Perhaps one way to attack the problem would be to start the spectrographic search among members of relatively wide visual binary systems, where the radial velocity of the companion can be used as a convenient and reliable standard of velocity, and should help in establishing at once whether one (or both) members are spectroscopic binaries of the type here considered.

Berkeley Astronomical Department, University of California.
1952 July 24.