Today in History: May 7

Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony received its premiere on this date in 1824 at Theater am Kärntnertor in Vienna.

By now Beethoven was totally deaf, yet he continued to lead performances of his work as a sort of side conductor; he kept what he thought was the correct tempo and he followed along with the printed score. For this performance, the musicians respectfully ignored him and watched the chief conductor, Michael Umlauf. It was to be Beethoven’s first appearance on stage in a dozen years. (More after the jump …)

When the premiere concluded, Beethoven was pages from the end and still conducting, his back to the standing ovation that was unfolding behind him but which he could not hear; the widely accepted story has it that contralto Caroline Unger came forward and gently turned him around to see the audience. It is said that upon finally seeing the applause, he cried.

Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony; Leonard Bernstein conducts the Vienna Philharmonic:

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This plain statement appeared at the end of a paper delivered on May 7, 1952: “With the advent of the transistor and the work on semi-conductors generally, it now seems possible to envisage electronic equipment in a solid block with no connecting wires. The block may consist of layers of insulating, conducting, rectifying and amplifying materials, the electronic functions being connected directly by cutting out areas of the various layers.” This was the first description of the integrated circuit, the semiconductor, an item that has helped make modern life what it is. Its author was Geoffrey Dummer.

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RMS Lusitania was torpedoed and sank on this date in 1915.

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Seve Ballesteros died five years ago today.

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Robert Browning was born in 1812 on this date. Johannes Brahms was born on this date in 1833. Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was born in 1840 on this date. Archibald MacLeish was born on this date in 1892. Gary Cooper was born on this date in 1901. Johnny Unitas was born on this date in 1933. Angela Carter would be 76. Tim Russert would be 66 today.

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Willard Scott is 82 today. (Publishing birthdays in this daily history column makes me feel a little bit like him.) Peter Carey is 73. Bill Kreutzmann is 70. Randall “Tex” Cobb is 66. Amy Heckerling is 62.

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One comment

  1. Robert Matthew Goldstein · May 7, 2016

    It’s a brilliant composition and it is proof that creative drive can overcome great obstacles.

    Liked by 1 person

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