BBC Music Magazine - - COMPOSER OF THE MONTH -

Richard Wag­ner is born on 22 May in

When his fa­ther Carl dies six months later, he is adopted by the ac­tor and painter Lud­wig Geyer. Study­ing at Leipzig Univer­sity and with the Kan­tor of the Thomaskirche, he writes his first key­board and or­ches­tral works, in­clud­ing a Sym­phony in C ma­jor. Ac­com­pa­nied by his wife

an ac­tress, he moves to Riga as the new mu­si­cal direc­tor of the Lat­vian town’s the­atre. Though em­ployed as Kapellmeis­ter at the King of Sax­ony’s court, he takes part in in­sur­rec­tion­ist ac­tiv­i­ties in Dres­den. The fol­low­ing year he has to flee to Switzer­land.

Re­lieved of his debts by Otto We­sendonck, a wealthy silk mer­chant, he com­poses the first two op­eras of the cy­cle plus, in­spired by his af­fair with We­sendonck’s wife Mathilde, Tris­tan und Isolde. Sup­ported by Lud­wig II of Bavaria, Wag­ner founds a the­atre to stage his Bayreuth op­eras. It opens with Das Rhein­gold in Au­gust 1876. He dies of a heart at­tack in Venice, where he is res­i­dent with his se­cond wife, Cosima. His body is taken to Bayreuth for burial. BBC MU­SIC MAG­A­ZINE At the bat­tle of

Leipzig in Oc­to­ber,

army is com­pre­hen­sively de­feated by the coali­tion forces of

Rus­sia, Prus­sia,

Aus­tria and

Swe­den. Many

Ger­man troops fight­ing for the French em­peror de­fect. With po­lit­i­cal demon­stra­tions banned, pro­test­ers in the Ger­man Palati­nate re­gion or­gan­ise the Ham­bach Fes­ti­val to de­mand democ­racy, lib­erty and na­tional unity.

The Ger­man au­thor and play­wright Ge­org Büch­ner, whose in­flu­en­tial works in­clude the un­fin­ished play dies in Zürich at the age of just 23. As up­ris­ings spread right across Europe, the ‘March Rev­o­lu­tion’ sees mass demon­stra­tions take place in a num­ber of states in the south and west of Ger­many. Pre­vi­ously banned af­ter the 1848 up­ris­ings, the Turn­verein München fit­ness club is re-es­tab­lished. It later be­comes fa­mous as the foot­ball club TSV 1860 Mu­nich. Philoso­pher Friedrich Ni­et­zsche pub­lishes his first book, The Birth of Tragedy, in which he iden­ti­fies two key trends in An­cient Greek cul­ture: the ‘Dionysian’ and ‘Apol­lo­nian’. the mi­cro­bi­ol­o­gist widely re­garded as the fa­ther of mod­ern bac­te­ri­ol­ogy, iden­ti­fies un­der a mi­cro­scope the bacil­lus re­spon­si­ble for caus­ing cholera.

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