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.
November 5 is the 309th day of the year (310th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 56 days remaining until the end of the year.
On this day in 1938, Samuel Barber’s Adagio For Strings receives its world premiere on NBC radio
Adagio for Strings is a work for string orchestra, arranged by the American composer Samuel Barber from the second movement of his String Quartet. Barber finished the piece in 1936, and in 1938, it was conducted by Arturo Toscanini. Toscanini’s conducting was recorded at 8H Studio for radio broadcasting. Toscanini took the piece on tour to Europe and South America. It is disputed whether the first performance of Adagio in Europe was conducted by Toscanini or Henry J. Wood. Barber has rejected many arrangements published by G. Schirmer, such as the organ arrangement by William Strictland.
The piece begins with a B flat played by the violins. Lower strings enter two beats after the violins. At practical tempo, the piece length is about eight minutes. The piece’s reception was generally positive, with Alexander J. Morin writing that Adagio for Strings contains “full of pathos and cathartic passion, rarely leaves a dry eye.” The piece can be heard in many TV shows and movies.
The recording of the 1938 world premiere, with Arturo Toscanini conducting the NBC Symphony Orchestra, was selected in 2005 for permanent preservation in the National Recording Registry at the United States Library of Congress. Since the 1938 recording, it has frequently been heard throughout the world, and was one of the only American pieces to be played in the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
The Adagio was broadcast over the radio at the announcement of Franklin D. Roosevelt‘s death. It was also played at the funeral of Albert Einstein and at the funeral of Princess Grace of Monaco. It was performed in 2001 at Last Night of the Proms in the Royal Albert Hall to commemorate the victims of the September 11 attacks, replacing the traditional upbeat patriotic songs. It was also played during the opening ceremonies of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. In 2004, listeners of the BBC’s Today program voted Adagio for Strings the “saddest classical” work ever, ahead of “Dido’s Lament” from Dido and Aeneas by Henry Purcell, the “Adagietto” from Gustav Mahler’s 5th symphony, Metamorphosen by Richard Strauss and Gloomy Sunday as sung by Billie Holiday.
Adagio for Strings can be heard on many film, TV, and video game soundtracks, including Oliver Stone’s Oscar-winning film Platoon, David Lynch’s 1980 Oscar-nominated film The Elephant Man, Michael Moore’s documentary Sicko, Lorenzo’s Oil, A Very Natural Thing, Reconstruction, and Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Oscar-nominated 2001 film Amélie. It has been heard in episodes of The Simpsons, Big Brother 2010 (UK), That Mitchell and Webb Look, The Boondocks, South Park, Seinfeld, ER (TV series), Big Love. A recorded performance by the London Symphony Orchestra was, for a time, the highest selling classical piece on iTunes. The work is extremely popular in the electronic dance music genre, notably in trance. Artists who have covered it include Armin van Buuren, William Orbit, Ferry Corsten, and Tiesto. eRa included this song in their new album Classics.
1338 – Ly Anh Tong is enthroned as emperor of Vietnam at the age of two, starting a 37-year reign.
1499 – Publication of the Catholicon in Treguier (Brittany). This Breton-French-Latin dictionary was written in 1464 by Jehan Lagadeuc. It is the first Breton dictionary as well as the first French dictionary.
1530 – The St. Felix’s Flood destroys the city of Reimerswaal in the Netherlands.
1605 – Gunpowder Plot: A conspiracy led by Robert Catesby to blow up the English Houses of Parliament is thwarted when Sir Thomas Knyvet, a justice of the peace, finds Guy Fawkes in a cellar below the House of Lords.
1688 – Glorious Revolution begins: William of Orange lands at Brixham.
1743 – Coordinated scientific observations of the transit of Mercury are organized by Joseph-Nicolas Delisle.
1757 – Seven Years’ War: Frederick the Great defeats the allied armies of France and the Holy Roman Empire at the Battle of Rossbach.
1768 – Treaty of Fort Stanwix, the purpose of which is to adjust the boundary line between Indian lands and white settlements set forth in the Proclamation of 1763 in the Thirteen Colonies.
1780 – French-American forces under Colonel LaBalme are defeated by Miami Chief Little Turtle.
1831 – Nat Turner, American slave leader, is tried, convicted, and sentenced to death in Virginia.
1838 – The Federal Republic of Central America begins to disintegrate when Nicaragua separates from the federation.
1854 – Crimean War: The Battle of Inkerman.
1862 – American Civil War: Abraham Lincoln removes George B. McClellan as commander of the Union Army for the second and final time.
1862 – Indian Wars: In Minnesota, 303 Dakota warriors are found guilty of rape and murder of whites and are sentenced to hang. 38 are ultimately executed and the others reprieved.
1872 – Women’s suffrage: In defiance of the law, suffragist Susan B. Anthony votes for the first time, and is later fined $100.
1895 – George B. Selden is granted the first U.S. patent for an automobile.
1911 – After declaring war on the Ottoman Empire on September 29, 1911, Italy annexes Tripoli and Cyrenaica.
1913 – King Otto of Bavaria is deposed by his cousin, Prince Regent Ludwig, who assumes the title Ludwig III.
1916 – The Kingdom of Poland is proclaimed by the Act of November 5th of the emperors of Germany and Austria-Hungary.
1916 – The Everett Massacre takes place in Everett, Washington as political differences lead to a shoot-out between the Industrial Workers of the World organizers and local police.
1917 – October Revolution: In Tallinn, Estonia, Communist leader Jaan Anvelt leads revolutionaries in overthrowing the Provisional Government (As Estonia and Russia are still using the Julian Calendar, subsequent period references show an October 23 date).
1917 – St. Tikhon of Moscow is elected the Patriarch of Moscow and of the Russian Orthodox Church.
1937 – Adolf Hitler holds a secret meeting and states his plans for acquiring “living space” for the German people.
1940 – Franklin D. Roosevelt is elected to a third term as President of the United States.
1942 – The Second Battle of El Alamein is won by the British in El Alamein, Egypt.
1945 – Colombia joins the United Nations.
1967 – The Hither Green rail crash in the United Kingdom kills 49 people. The survivors include Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees.
1968 – United States presidential election, 1968: Republican Richard Nixon wins the American presidency, in what turned out to be a decades-long realignment election.
1970 – Vietnam War: The United States Military Assistance Command in Vietnam reports the lowest weekly American soldier death toll in five years (24).
1983 – Byford Dolphin diving bell accident kills five and leaves one severely injured.
1986 – USS Rentz, USS Reeves and USS Oldendorf visit Qingdao (Tsing Tao) China – the first US Naval visit to China since 1949.
1987 – Govan Mbeki is released from custody after serving 24 years of a life sentence for terrorism and treason.
1990 – Rabbi Meir Kahane, founder of the far-right Kach movement, is shot dead after a speech at a New York City hotel.
1995 – Andre Dallaire attempts to assassinate Prime Minister Jean Chretien of Canada. He is thwarted when the Prime Minister’s wife locks the door.
1996 – President of Pakistan Farooq Ahmed Khan Leghari dismisses the government of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and dissolves the National Assembly of Pakistan.
2006 – Saddam Hussein, former president of Iraq, and his co-defendants Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti and Awad Hamed al-Bandar are sentenced to death in the al-Dujail trial for the role in the massacre of the 148 Shi’as in 1982.
2007 – China’s first lunar satellite, Chang’e 1 goes into orbit around the Moon.
2009 – US Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan allegedly kills 13 and wounded 30 at Fort Hood, Texas in the largest mass shooting ever at a US military installation.