Today in History: Oct. 19

British forces led by Lord Cornwallis surrendered to the allied American and French forces in Yorktown, Virginia, on this date 235 years ago. This ended the Revolutionary War, but not completely, as skirmishes continued through the next year. Lord Cornwallis’ forces surrendered to General George Washington and the American forces but Lord Cornwallis himself sent his sword to the French forces to declare that his surrender was to the French not the new American army.

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Sir Edward Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1, which every American high school graduate hears one portion of (the “Trio” section), was introduced on this date in 1901 by the Liverpool Orchestral Society. Elgar conducted it himself.

Below the jump, a 1931 film of Sir Edward conducting an orchestra at the opening of the Abbey Road Studios, London, on November 12 1931. You hear him greet the players: “Good morning gentlemen. Glad to see you all. Very light programme this morning. Please play this tune as though you’ve never heard it before.”

Elgar was around 75 at the time of the film; he died in 1934.

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Ringo Starr released “Photograph” in the United Kingdom on this date in 1973.

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Saddam Hussein’s trial before the Iraqi Special Tribunal began on this date 11 years ago. It lasted 13 months.

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King John of England died 800 years ago today.

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Peter Tosh was born 72 years ago today. Divine was born on this date in 1945.

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John le Carré is 85 today. Tony Lo Bianco is 80. Peter Max is 79 today. Sir Michael Gambon is 76 today. Andrew Vachss is 74. John Lithgow is 71. Philip Pullman is 70. Jennifer Holliday is 56. Evander Holyfield is 54. Jon Favreau is 50. Chris Kattan is 46 today.

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  1. loisajay · October 19, 2016

    Pomp and Circumstance….it never fails to stir my emotions. Beautiful. Thanks for this, Mark.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Aldrich · October 19, 2016

      And Elgar himself conducting at the opening ceremony of Abbey Road Studios, which is now historic for all the other recordings made there? I was amazed to run across that clip.

      Liked by 1 person

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