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.
October 28 is the 301st day of the year (302nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 64 days remaining until the end of the year.
On this day in 1893, Symphony No. 6 in B Minor, Pathetique, the last symphony written by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky is premiered in St. Petersburg. Nine day s later, Tchaikovsky died suddenly at age 53 possibly from cholera but others have theorized that he might have committed suicide. Tchaikovsky was homosexual and often suffered from bouts of depression and doubts about his creative talents throughout his life. At one point while composing the 6th, he tore up the manuscript and discarded it.
Tchaikovsky dedicated the Pathetique to Vladimir “Bob” Davydov, his nephew While the relationship was apparently never consummated, Davydov was reportedly one of the great loves of Tchaikovsky’s life.
The theme in this first movement is most familiar since it has been frequently used in movies and songs.
The second theme of the first movement formed the basis of a popular song in the 1940s, “(This is) The Story of a Starry Night” (by Mann Curtis, Al Hoffman and Jerry Livingston) which was popularized by Glenn Miller. This same theme is the music behind “Where,” a 1959 hit for Tony Williams and the Platters as well as “In Time,” by Steve Lawrence in 1961. All three of these songs have completely different lyrics.
British progressive rock band The Nice covered Symphony No. 6 on their album Five Bridges.
Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony has proved a popular choice with filmmakers, with extracts featuring in (amongst others) Now, Voyager, the 1997 version of Anna Karenina, Minority Report, Sweet Bird of Youth,Soylent Green and The Aviator.
Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony has also been featured during the 2010 Winter Olympics closing ceremony, being danced by Russia’s national ballet team.
97 – Emperor Nerva is forced by the Praetorian Guard, to adopt general Marcus Ulpius Trajanus as his heir and successor.
306 – Maxentius is proclaimed Roman Emperor.
312 – Battle of Milvian Bridge: Constantine I defeats Maxentius, becoming the sole Roman Emperor.
1061 – Empress Agnes, acting as Regent for her son, brings about the election of Bishop Cadalus, the Antipope Honorius II.
1516 – Battle of Yaunis Khan: Turkish forces under the Grand Vizier Sinan Pasha defeat the Mameluks near Gaza.
1531 – Battle of Amba Sel: Imam Ahmad ibn Ibrihim al-Ghazi again defeats the army of Lebna Dengel, Emperor of Ethiopia. The southern part of Ethiopia falls under Imam Ahmad’s control.
1538 – The first university in the New World, the Universidad Santo Tomas de Aquino, is established.
1628 – The Siege of La Rochelle, which had lasted for 14 months, ends with the surrender of the Huguenots.
1636 – A vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony establishes the first college in what would become the United States, today known as Harvard University.
1664 – The Duke of York and Albany’s Maritime Regiment of Foot, later to be known as the Royal Marines, is established.
1707 – The 1707 Hoei earthquake causes more than 5,000 deaths in Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu, Japan
1775 – American Revolutionary War: A British proclamation forbids residents from leaving Boston.
1776 – American Revolutionary War: Battle of White Plains – British Army forces arrive at White Plains, attack and capture Chatterton Hill from the Americans.
1834 – The Battle of Pinjarra is fought in the Swan River Colony in present-day Pinjarra, Western Australia. Between 14 and 40 Aborigines are killed by British colonists.
1848 – The first railroad in Spain – between Barcelona and Mataro – is opened.
1864 – American Civil War: Second Battle of Fair Oaks ends – Union forces under General Ulysses S. Grant withdraw from Fair Oaks, Virginia, after failing to breach the Confederate defenses around Richmond, Virginia.
1885 – First porcelain toilet is built
1886 – In New York Harbor, President Grover Cleveland dedicates the Statue of Liberty.
1891 – The Mino-Owari Earthquake, the largest earthquake in Japan’s history, strikes Gifu Prefecture.
1893 – Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 in B Minor, Pathetique, receives its premiere performance in St. Petersburg, only nine days before the composer’s death.
1918 – World War I: Czechoslovakia is granted independence from Austria-Hungary marking the beginning of independent Czechoslovak state, after 300 years.
1918 – New Polish government in Western Galicia is established.
1919 – The U.S. Congress passes the Volstead Act over President Woodrow Wilson’s veto, paving the way for Prohibition to begin the following January.
1922 – March on Rome: Italian fascists led by Benito Mussolini march on Rome and take over the Italian government.
1929 – Black Monday, a day in the Wall Street Crash of 1929, which also saw major stock market upheaval.
1936 – U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt rededicates the Statue of Liberty on its 50th anniversary.
1940 – World War II: Greece rejects Italy’s ultimatum. Italy invades Greece through Albania, marking Greece’s entry into World War II.
1942 – The Alaska Highway (Alcan Highway) is completed through Canada to Fairbanks, Alaska.
1948 – Swiss chemist Paul Müller is awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery of the insecticidal properties of DDT.
1954 – The modern Kingdom of the Netherlands is re-founded as a federal monarchy.
1962 – Cuban Missile Crisis: Soviet Union leader Nikita Khrushchev announces that he had ordered the removal of Soviet missile bases in Cuba.
1964 – Vietnam War: U.S. officials deny any involvement in bombing North Vietnam.
1965 – Nostra Aetate, the “Declaration on the Relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions” of the Second Vatican Council, is promulgated by Pope Paul VI; it absolves the Jews of responsibility for the death of Jesus, reversing Innocent III’s 760 year-old declaration.
1965 – Construction on the St. Louis Arch is completed.
1970 – Gary Gabelich sets a land speed record in a rocket-powered automobile called the Blue Flame, fueled with natural gas.
1971 – Britain launches its first satellite, Prospero, into low Earth orbit atop a Black Arrow carrier rocket.
1982 – Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party wins elections, leading to first Socialist government in Spain after death of Franco. Felipe Gonzalez becomes Prime Minister-elect.
1985 – Sandinista Daniel Ortega becomes president of Nicaragua and vows to continue the transformation to socialism and alliance with the Soviet Union and Cuba; American policy continues to support the Contras in their revolt against the Nicaraguan government.
1986 – The centenary of the dedication of the Statue of Liberty is celebrated in New York Harbor.
1995 – 289 people are killed and 265 injured in Baku Metro fire, the deadliest subway disaster.
1998 – An Air China jetliner is hijacked by disgruntled pilot Yuan Bin and flown to Taiwan.
2005 – Plame affair: Lewis Libby, Vice-president Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, is indicted in the Valerie Plame case. Libby resigns later that day.
2006 – Funeral service takes place for those executed at Bykivnia forest, outside Kiev, Ukraine. 817 Ukrainian civilians (out of some 100,000) executed by Bolsheviks at Bykivnia in 1930s – early 1940s are reburied.
2007 – Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner becomes the first woman elected President of Argentina.
2009 – The 28 October 2009 Peshawar bombing kills 117 and wounds 213.
2009 – NASA successfully launches the Ares I-X mission, the only rocket launch for its later-cancelled Constellation program.