Today in History: September 14

Charles Jennens delivered the script for a new work to his friend, George Frideric Handel, in July 1741. Handel started composing music for it on August 22 that year, which is known because Handel kept thorough records. Handel always worked quickly, and his composition of the music for the oratorio, which he titled Messiah, only took him a total of 24 days. He finished composing on September 12 and then, he noted, he cleaned it up and finished it 275 years ago today, September 14, 1741.

The original manuscript, with Handel’s scratch-outs and corrections and with empty bars that offer no musical notes at all, as if Handel had briefly entertained thoughts of adding music if he could, sits in the British Library. That great institution has made the manuscript available for virtual perusal, which I recommend visiting. One can see a page on which Handel must have tipped over his ink bottle and other pages in which he draws the staves to the end of the page so he can complete his musical thought on the same page.

The “Hallelujah Chorus” sung by the Royal Choral Society (after the jump):

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Theodore Roosevelt was sworn in as the 26th President of the United States on this date in 1901, upon the death of William McKinley. Roosevelt was 42 years old, the youngest President in U.S. history. McKinley had been shot eight days before.

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Denny McLain of the Detroit Tigers earned his 30th victory of the season on this date in 1968; no pitcher has come close to winning 30 games in a season since.

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Also in Major League Baseball, Bo Jackson hit his first career home run 30 years ago today. Jackson only hit 141 home runs in his two-sport career—he was a running back in the National Football League and a star outfielder, and injury cut his career short—but each one seemed to break the distance record at each ballpark. In the clip of his first home run, below, you can see the camera pause and then look up as the camera operator had not expected to record the flight of a ball all the way to that location:

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President William McKinley died on this date in 1901. Princess Grace Kelly died on this date in 1982. Janet Gaynor died on this date in 1984. Juliet Prowse died 20 years ago today. Mickey Hargitay died 10 years ago today.

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Margaret Sanger was born on this date in 1879. Albert Shanker was born in 1928 on this date. Fred “Sonic” Smith was born in 1949 on this date. Amy Winehouse was born 33 years ago today.

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Zoe Caldwell is 83 today. Kate Millett is 82. Walter Koenig is 80 today. Renzo Piano is 79. Larry Brown is 76. Joey Heatherton is 72. Jon “Bowzer” Bauman is 69. Sam Neill is 69. Melissa Leo is 56. Faith Ford is 52. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is 51.

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One comment

  1. loisajay · September 14, 2016

    Amy Winehouse’s voice can just break your heart.


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