Song in America

Politics & Culture

Politics Culture
Expansion and Reform (1800 - 1859)
1800 1800
  • Population is 5.3 million, including 1 million blacks, 90% of whom are slaves
  • Congress convenes in Washington, the new federal capital. President Adams moves into what will become known as the White House
  • Haydn: “The Spirit’s Song,” “Als einst mit Weibes Schönheit,” & “Ein kleines Haus”
  • Reichardt: Lieder und Treue (in the "Volkston" style)
  • Zumsteeg: Kleine Balladen und Lieder  (Vol. I, II-VII to 1807)
  • Beethoven: Symphony No. 1
  • Schiller: Maria Stuart
  • William Little and William Smith publish their shape-note system The Easy Instructor, or A New Method of Teaching Sacred Harmony
  • John Hill Hewitt born
  • Ballot count shows a tie between Jefferson and Burr; House of Representatives chooses Jefferson
  • Beethoven: Six Songs, Op. 48 (Text: C. F. Gellert; Vienna, 1801-2)
  • Danish composer Christoph Ernst Friedrich Weyse begins composing his Romancer og Sange (97 songs, finished in 1840, then again composed between 1852-60)
  • Haydn: Die Jahreszeiten
  • Wordsworth publishes his second volume of Lyrical Ballads; it is prefaced with an attack on poetic diction and a desire to bring his language "near to the real language of men"
1802 1802
  • Martha Washington dies
  • Napoleon Bonaparte is made First Consul for life by the French
  • Quote from Musikalisches Lexikon of Heinrich Christoph Koch (German theorist and violinist): Lied defined as "the one product of music and poetry whose content today appeals to every class of people and every individual”
  • Beethoven writes Symphony No. 2 as well as his "Heiligenstadt Testament"
  • Sir Walter Scott publishes Minstrelsy on the Scottish Border
  • Victor Hugo born
  • Nikolaus von Lenau born
  • Zumsteeg dies
  • Alexander Reinagle: "Masonic Ode"
  • The lyrics to "Jefferson and Liberty" are written (anonymous) to the tune of "Anacreon in Heaven" (composed by John Stafford Smith) which would become the tune of "The Star-Spangled Banner"
  • Louisiana Purchase doubles the size of the United States
  • Lewis and Clark begin their expedition in the Northwest Territory
  • Ohio becomes 17th state, and the first in which slavery is illegal from the beginning
  • The Irish Rebellion of 1803 fails in its attempt to secure independence from the United Kingdom
  • Haydn: “Antwort auf die Frage eines Mädchens” & 6 airs with variations (6 Admired Scotch Airs) (partially lost, includes Robert Burns texts)
  • Beethoven: “Der Wachtelschlag” & “Das Glück der Freundschaft” (Vienna); Sechs Lieder von Gellert, Op. 48 (all strophic, except for the last one, "Bußlied"), Eroica Symphony, Kreutzer Sonata
  • Hector Berlioz born
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson born
1804 1804
  • World population estimated at 1 billion
  • Aaron Burr mortally wounds Alexander Hamilton in a duel
  • Lewis and Clark expedition leaves St. Louis
  • Thomas Jefferson is reelected president
  • Napoleon Bonaparte is crowned Emperor of France
  • Beethoven: "An die Hoffnung" (1804-5, Vienna) & "Gedenke mein" (1804-5?, published 1844)
  • Friedrich Heinrich Himmel: Fanchon das Leyermädchen
  • Reichardt: Lieder der Liebe und der Einsamkeit
  • Gioachino Rossini‘s family moves to Bologna, and he begins to appear professionally as a singer and as a maestro al cembalo in local theater productions
  • Schubert auditions for Salieri (singing)
  • Schiller: William Tell
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne born
  • Eduard Mörike born
  • George Sand born
  • Immanuel Kant dies
  • French occupy Vienna until 1806
  • Painter Charles Wilson Peale founds the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art
  • Giuseppe Mazzini (activitst for Italian unification, nicknamed "The Beating Heart of Italy") born
  • Ludwig von Arnim/Clemens Brentano: Des Knaben Wunderhorn (published 1806-8)
  • Beethoven: Eight Songs, Op. 52 (published) and his only opera Fidelio (Vienna); Symphony No. 3 first performance (7 April)
  • Lorenzo da Ponte leaves Europe for New York
  • Schubert's first violin lessons (from his father)
  • William Wordsworth: The Prelude
  • Painter Charles Wilson Peale founds the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art
  • Hans Christian Anderson born
  • Fanny Mendelssohn born
  • Johann Friedrich von Schiller dies
1806 1806
  • Lieutenant Zebulon Montgomery Pike spots a mountain in the Colorado foothills
  • Napoleon defeats Prussia
  • Holy Roman Empire dissolved
  • Beethoven: “Als die Geliebte sich trennen wollte” (Hoffmann, trans. from French) & “In questa tomba oscura (1806-7, Vienna); Symphony No. 4
  • Ludwig von Arnim/Clemens Brentano: Des Knaben Wunderhorn
  • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: Faust I
  • Compendious Dictionary of the English Language
1807 1807
  • First steamboat in regular service
  • Britain abolishes slave trade
  • Giuseppe Garibaldi (Italian general and politician) born
  • Beethoven: “Sehnsucht” (Goethe, 4 settings, 1807-8, Vienna); Symphony No. 5
  • A series of essays titled Salamagundi marks the beginning of the Knickerbocker school of writers, who prize realism and humor, plus American subject matter
  • Pleyel piano factory opens in Paris
1808 1808
  • Jefferson follows Washington's precedent and does not run for a third term
  • Slave trade outlawed by Congress
  • Union Temperate Society founded in New York
  • Source of Ganges River discovered
  • Beethoven: “Andenken” (published Leipzig & London); Pastoral Symphony
  • Friedrich Heinrich Himmel: Die Blumen und der Schmetterling
  • Schubert accepted into the Kaiserlichkönigliches Stadtkonvikt (Imperial and Royal City College), an institution with free tuition-and-board, remaining there for 5 years (including Napoleon’s bombardment of Vienna)
  • Ricordi Music House opens in Milan
  • The young George Sand travels across Spain with her family, where her father was serving in the army, and later records these horrible memories in her book Histoire de ma Vie
1809 1809
  • James Madison inaugurated
  • Illinois Territory formed from Northwest Territory
  • French bombard Vienna, stray shell falls on Royal Seminary where Schubert is enrolled
  • Beethoven: “Lied aus der Ferne” (published Leipzig & London), “Der Jüngling in der Fremde (Vienna), “Der Liebende” (published Vienna & London), Six Songs Op. 75 (settings of Goethe, Halem, and Reissig), & Four Ariettes and a Duet, Op. 82 (in Italian); Emperor Concerto
  • Brentano: Romanzen vom Rosenkranz
  • Washington Irving's humorous Knickerbocker's History of New York
  • Felix Mendelssohn born
  • Alfred Lord Tennyson born
  • Franz Joseph Haydn dies
  • Benjamin Carr: Six Ballads from "The Lady of the Lake," Opus 7 (setting the text of Scottish writer Sir Walter Scott, whose work The Lady of the Lake was published earlier in the year)
  • Napoleon, at his zenith, marries Maria Louisa of Austria
  • Beethoven: Three Songs, Op. 83 (Goethe, pub. in Leipzig)
  • Reichardt: Schillers lyrische Gedichte
  • Peter Durand develops technique for canning food (France)
  • Rossini receives his first opera commission (Bologna)
  • Margaret Fuller (considered America's first feminist) born
  • Frédéric Chopin born
  • Robert Schumann born
  • Battle of Tippecanoe
  • Prince Metternich, Austrian chancellor until 1848
  • Beethoven: “An die Geliebte” (first version)
  • Reichardt: Goethe's Lieder, Oden, Balladen, und Romanzen (4 vols., first issued in 1809)
  • Ferdinand Ries: Sechs Lieder von Goethe, Op. 32
  • Schubert: first known songs from this year, including “Hagars Klage” (completed in March, probably his first song composition) “Das Mädchens Klage” (Schiller), “Leichenfantasie” (Schiller) & “Der Vatermörder”; takes on the role of violist in the family string quartet
  • Early performance of Haydn's The Creation in America
  • Damper pedals invented for piano
  • Harriet Beecher Stowe born
  • Franz Liszt born
  • Eliakim Doolittle writes "The Hornet Stung the Peacock," a song about how the American sloop of war Hornet engaged and sunk the British brig Peacock during the War of 1812. The song is published in February of 1813 and becomes popular.
  • Englishman James Sanderson composes the tune of "Hail to the Chief," though the words (now never sung) are originally from Sir Walter Scott's The Lady of the Lake (1810)
  • Robert Browning born
  • Henry Russell born
  • War of 1812 begins when the British invade Washington
  • Napoleon retreats from Moscow
  • Girard invents machine for spinning flax
  • Carl Loewe: “Klotar” & "Gebet des Herrn”
  • Beethoven: Symphony No. 7, Symphony No. 8
  • Lord Byron: Childe Harold's Pilgrimage
  • Sir Humphry Davy: Elements of Chemical Philosophy
  • Brothers Grimm: Kinder- und Hausmärchen
  • Charles Dickens born
  • Edward Lear born
  • Composer and virtuoso pianist Sigismond Thalberg born
  • John Sullivan Dwight is born. He will create and publish Dwight's Journal of Music, one of the most important and respected music periodicals in America.
  • Henry Stevenson Washburn (American writer, some of his texts set by George Root) born
  • "Uncle Sam" appears for the first time in the Troy Post
  • Leigh Hunt & Charles Lamb imprisoned for sedition
  • Beethoven: “Der Gesang der Nachtigall” (Herder text), “Der Bardengeist” (Hermann text, Vienna) & “An die Hoffnung” (Vienna, pub. 1816)
  • Rossini: Tancredi & L'italiana in Algeri (premieres)
  • Jane Austen: Pride and Prejudice
  • Johann Wyss: Swiss Family Robinson
  • Giuseppe Verdi born
  • Richard Wagner born
  • Francis Scott Key writes "The Star-Spangled Banner" to the tune of John Stafford Smith's "To Anacreon in Heaven"
  • Benjamin Carr: "The History of England," Opus 11
  • The British set fire to the Capitol and the White House; they unsuccessfully try to take Fort McHenry on the Baltimore harbor
  • Treaty of Ghent ends the War of 1812
  • Napoleon abdicates with the British invasion of France and is sent to the Island of Elba
  • Congress of Vienna convenes in September
  • E. T. A. Hoffmann writes that "the very nature of the Lied" is "to stir the innermost soul by means of the simplest melody and the simplest modulation, without affectation or straining for effect and originality: therein lies the mysterious power of true genius"
  • Beethoven: “An die Geliebte” (2nd version), “Der Kriegers Abschied,” & “Merkenstein” (solo song and SA duet); Fidelio Overture
  • Schubert: "Gretchen am Spinnrade" (19 Oct.--considered the birth of the German Romantic Lied) and nearly 150 other songs (in his 18th year); Schubert completes his first mass; he is still working full-time as a teacher at his father’s school while also taking composition lessons with Salieri
  • Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde founded in Vienna
  • C. F. Peters opens in Leipzig
  • Rossini: Il Turco in Italia
  • Johann Friedrich Reichardt dies
1815 1815
  • Battle of New Orleans; War of 1812 ends
  • Battle of Waterloo; Napoleon re-exiled to St. Helena
  • Rimini Proclamation (30 March): Italians revolt against Austrian occupiers
  • First steam warship, USS Fulton
  • Beethoven: “Die Laute Klage” & “Das Geheimnis”
  • Schubert: "Der Erlkönig" (October), “Heidenröslein,” “Mignon,” and many other Goethe settings; Schubert’s friend sends a package of Schubert’s Goethe settings to the aging poet for approval; Goethe returns the package, unopened; Schubert continues teaching full time at his father’s school
  • Václav Jan Tomášek: Gedichte von Goethe (41 songs in 9 volumes)
  • Ludwig Uhland: Frühlingslieder; Vaterländische Gedichte; Wanderlieder
  • Handel and Haydn Society organized in Boston
  • First issue of the scholarly journal North American Review
  • Jane Austen: Emma
  • Berlioz's first love of Estelle Duboeuf
  • Robert Franz born (in Halle)
  • Josephine Lang born
  • First black church in America: African Methodist Church in Philadelphia
  • James Monroe inaugurated
  • First known bicycle invented in Germany
  • Argentina declares independence from Spain
  • Beethoven: An die ferne Geliebte, Op. 98 (Jeitteles text, 6 songs), “Sehnsucht,” “Der Mann von Wort,” & “Ruf vom Berge”
  • Schubert moves out of his father’s home to live with his friend Schober (inner city Vienna); by the end of this year, Schubert has composed more than 300 songs (since 1814--more than half of the surviving total of his songs)
  • Rossini: The Barber of Seville
  • Mary Shelley: Frankenstein (written; June)
  • Charlotte Brontë born
1817 1817
  • First Wartburg Festival 18 October (symbol of German nationalism)
  • Beethoven: “So oder so” & “Resignation”
  • Schubert composes about 60 songs, including “Der Schiffer” (D536), “Ganymed” (D544), “An die Musik” (D547, the text of which is written by his friend and roommate Schober), “Die Forelle” (D550) and “Gruppe aus dem Tartarus” (D583); baritone Johann Michael Vogl reads through some of Schubert’s songs and finds “fine ideas” in them; Schubert moves back to his father’s house in autumn (probably due to financial difficulties, begins teaching again?); he also composes his string quartet Death and the Maiden
  • Rossini: La Cenerentola
  • Coleridge publishes Biographia Literaria
  • Thomas Moore: Lalla Rookh (poem)
  • Frederick Douglass born
  • Jane Austen dies
  • English writer Emily Brontë is born. Her poetry will be set to music by American composers Ernst Bacon and John Duke, and her novel Wuthering Heights will become the basis of Carlysle Floyd's musical drama by the same name.
  • William Ellery Channing born
  • Frederick Douglass born
  • Connecticut becomes first Eastern state to drop the property requirement for voting
  • The Stars and Stripes is approved by Congress as the official flag and the Flag Act is passed
  • Karl Marx born
  • Ludwig Berger: Gesänge aus einem gesellschaftlichen Liederspiel; Die schöne Müllerin
  • American premiere of Handel's Messiah (Handel & Haydn Society of Boston)
  • Berlioz sends first compositions to Paris publisher
  • Liszt studies piano with his father, Adam
  • Francisco de Goya (age 72) moves to a two-story house outside of Madrid, named The House of the Deaf Man (Quinda del Sordo), and begins his famous fourteen Black Paintings (finished 1823), which were originally painted as murals on the walls of the house
  • Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley: Frankenstein (published anonymously in London)
  • Charles Gounod born
  • “The Hunter’s Horn” a “new sporting cavatina” by Englishman T. Phillipps, is registered in America, "the first song in the earliest volume of copyright songs in the Library of Congress"
  • African-American soprano Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield is born. Born a slave in Mississippi, Greenfield was adopted by a Quaker family in Philadelphia and become known as the "Black Swan" by her fans.
  • Joseph Philbrick Webster born
  • Julia Ward Howe born
  • Herman Melville born
  • Walt Whitman born
  • First serious American financial panic
  • Maximum 12-hour work day for children in England
  • Rossini’s The Barber of Seville is first heard in America, at the Park Theater in New York, in English
  • Beethoven: Hammerklavier Sonata
  • Schubert: Trout Quintet
  • Goethe: West-östlicher Divan
  • Walter Scott: Bride of Lammermoor
  • George Eliot born
  • Charles Kingsley born
  • Jacques Offenbach born
  • Clara Wieck (Schumann) born
1820 1820
  • Missouri Compromise
  • Continent of Antarctica discovered
  • Revolutionary and liberal movements suppressed in Germany
  • George IV becomes King of Great Britain and Ireland
  • Beethoven: “Abendlied unterm gestirnten Himmel”
  • America begins to feel the influence of European Romanticism
  • Liszt debuts as a pianist in Oedenburg
  • Loewe meets Goethe
  • First use of metal frames in piano construction
  • Keats finishes major Odes
  • Alphonse de Lamartine:  Méditations Poétiques
  • Thomas Moore in Paris (until 1827)
  • Walter Scott: Ivanhoe
  • Statue of Venus de Milo discovered
  • Jenny Lind ("The Swedish Nightingale") born
  • John Gordon McCurry (American composer, compiled The Social Harp, which includes the spiritual "Zion's Walls," eventually immortalized by Aaron Copland) born
  • Andrew Law (American minister and composer, wrote the song "Bunker Hill") dies
  • Republic of Liberia founded as a haven for freed slaves
  • As a state of Mexico, Texas is opened to settlement by Moses Austin
  • Napoleon dies in exile
  • Berlioz in Paris to study medicine
  • Mendelssohn meets Goethe
  • Heine: Gedichte
  • Weber: Der Freischutz
  • Müller: Griechenlieder (until 1824)
  • First women's collegiate-level school in American
  • First public high school opens in Boston
  • Schauspielhaus (now Konzerthaus) construction begun in Berlin, to a design by Schinkel
  • Charles Baudelaire born
  • Fyodor Dostoyevsky born
  • Gustav Flaubert born
  • John Keats dies in Rome; his death is commemorated in P. B. Shelley’s poem “Adonais"
  • English poet Matthew Arnold is born. His text, "Dover Beach" of 1867, is set by composer Samuel Barber in 1936.
  • Peter K. Moran publishes his most popular song, "The Carrier Pigeon."
  • Beethoven: “Der Kuss” (sketched 1798)
  • Louise Reichardt: 7 romantische Gesänge
  • Berlioz engaged as journalist for Le Corsaire
  • Pierre Erard patents piano double escape action
  • Wagner sees Der Freischütz in Dresden (26 Jan.)
  • Liszt studies with Czerny & Salieri in Vienna
  • Schubert: Unfinished Symphony
  • Alexander Pushkin: Eugene Onegin
  • E. T. A. Hoffmann dies
  • Shelley drowns near Livorno (8 July)
1823 1823
  • Monroe Doctrine
  • Beethoven: “Der edle Mensche sei hülfreich und gut”; Symphony No. 9 (Choral Symphony)
  • Schubert: Die Schöne Müllerin
  • Berlioz begins studying with Lesueur
  • Liszt meets Beethoven and begins years as touring piano virtuoso
  • Rossini: Semiramide
  • Müller: Die Winterreise (first 12 poems)
  • Leopold von Ranke, German historian, publishes History of the Latin and Teutonic Nations from 1494 to 1514
  • Louis XVIII dies, Charles X succeeds to French throne
  • Franz Lachner begins composing his output of approx. 300 Lieder
  • Loewe: 3 Balladen (published, Berlin, includes “Edward”--Scottish, trans. J.G. von Herder--composed 1818; “Der Wirthin Töchterlein" (L. Uhland), composed 1823; “Erlkönig" (Goethe), composed 1824) & 3 Balladen (published, Berlin, includes "Treuröschen" (T. Körner), composed 1814; "Herr Oluf" (Danish, trans. Herder), composed 1821; "Walpurgisnacht" (W. Alexis), composed 1824) & Hebräische Gesange
  • Müller completes poetic cycle on Die Winterreise
  • Anton Bruckner born
  • Peter Cornelius born
  • Lord Byron dies
  • James Hewitt: "The Minstrel's Return from the War"
  • The completion of the Erie Canal, in October, will lead to many songs, including "Low Bridge" and "The E-Ri-E Canal
  • John Quincy Adams inaugurated
  • First passenger railroad (Britain)
  • Friedrich Silcher begins composing his Lieder output, at the center of which stands his work with German and foreign folk songs
  • Václav Jan Tomášek: Starožitné písné ("alten Lieder," early examples of art song in Czech)
  • Thomas Cole's work launches the Hudson River School of landscape painting
  • Beethoven: Grosse Fuge
  • Berlioz: Missa Solemnis
  • Liszt composes his only opera, Don Sanche
  • Alexander Pushkin: Boris Godounov
  • Johann Strauss born
1826 1826
  • McCormick Reaper invented
  • Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both die on July 4
  • Adolf Frederik Lindblad begins composing his song output, which will include Swedish folk music; he is made famous by his student Jenny Lind
  • Berlioz at Paris Conservatory
  • Berlin Philharmonic Society formed
  • Gustav Moreau born
  • Carl Maria von Weber dies
  • American minstrel performer George Washington Dixon popularizes his song "Long Tail Blue," the first song of the black dandy
  • Ethel Lynn Beers born
  • James Hewitt dies
  • Alessandro Manzoni’s I Promessi Sposi is published for the first time; it is a thinly-veiled allegorical critique of Austrian rule in Italy (work is standardized in 1840)
  • Schubert: Winterreise
  • Berlioz sees Hamlet performed by Kemble's troupe, falls in love with Harriet Smithson
  • Liszt moves to Paris after the death of his father Adam
  • Heine: Das Buch der Lieder
  • Beethoven dies
  • William Blake dies
  • Wilhelm Müller dies
1828 1828
  • Loewe: many, many songs published this year, including Gesänge der Sehnsucht and Nachtgesänge (published, includes “Totengräberlied,” a German translation of the gravediggers scene from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, this song composed 1827)
  • Liszt lionized in Paris
  • Noah Webster publishes his monumental American Dictionary of the English Language
  • John James Audubon's first volume of Birds in America
  • Dante Rossetti born
  • Leo Tolstoy born
  • Jules Verne born
  • Schubert dies
  • The hymn tune “New Britain” is published in the shape-note tunebook Columbian Harmony; the melody becomes paired with the text of “Amazing Grace”
  • American minstrel performer George Washington Dixon popularizes his song "Coal Black Rose," the first blackface comic lovesong
  • Louis Moreau Gottschalk born
  • Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore born
  • Andrew Jackson inaugurated
  • Louis Braille invents the Braille System for the blind
  • Berlioz: Neuf Mélodies ("Irlande"); meets Liszt
  • Schubert's Schwanengesang published posthumously
  • Rossini: Guillaume Tell; Rossini subsequently retires from composing opera
  • Mendelssohn revives Bach's St. Matthew Passion
  • W.C. Peters opens his music store in Louisville
  • Wagner composes two piano sonatas and a string quartet (now lost)
  • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: Wilhelm Meisters Wanderjahre
  • Niepce & Daguerre develop photography (beginnings)
  • Minstrel singer Thomas “Daddy” Rice popularizes the “Jim Crow" persona
  • Emily Dickinson born
  • First railway in America
  • July Revolution in Paris
  • Kingdom of Belgium is founded
  • Adelbert von Chamisso: Frauenliebe und Leben
  • Rossini starts composing Les soirées musicales, eight chamber arias and four duets (Paris; finished in 1835)
  • Karl Friedrich Curschmann begins composing his 83 songs; becomes popular at the end of the century (complete works 1871)
  • Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique premiere (Dec.) at Paris Conservatoire; also wins the Prix de Rome earlier that year (July)
  • Liszt begins friendships with Heine, Hugo, Saint-Simonians
  • Chopin leaves Poland, never to return
  • Delacroix paints Liberty on the Barricades
  • William Sidney Mount paints his first genre picture, The Country Dance
  • Donizetti: Anna Bolena
  • Chopin leaves Poland, never to return
  • Christina Rossetti born
  • America, by Samuel Francis Smith, is sung to the tune of "God Save the King"
  • Benjamin Carr dies
  • William Lloyd Garrison founds the abolitionist newspaper The Liberator
  • Nat Turner leads slaves in a rebellion and is executed
  • Trail of Tears
  • Ross discovers magnetic North Pole
  • Wagner: Seven Pieces from Goethe's Faust
  • Bellini: La SonnambulaNorma
  • Meyerbeer: Robert le diable
  • Victor Hugo: Notre Dame de Paris
  • Stendhal: Le Rouge et le Noir
  • Hegel dies
1832 1832
  • First continental railway, from Budweis to Linz
  • Black Hawk War with Indians in Wisconsin
  • Berlioz: "La Captive" (song)
  • Chopin debuts in Paris
  • Donizetti: L'Elisir d'Amore
  • George Sand: Indiana
  • Sir Edwin Arnold born
  • Lewis Carroll born
  • Goethe dies; Faust (Pt. 2) published posthumously
  • Sir Walter Scott dies
  • Nikolas Lenau travels to American Midwest
  • Charles Edward Horn arrives from England; compositions will include “Ode to Washington”
  • English poet and lyricist Thomas H. Bayley composes "Long, long ago," which is published in Philadelphia in 1844 and becomes one of the most popular songs in 19th-century America
  • Emily Huntington Miller born
  • American Anti-Slavery Society is founded
  • Oberlin college is the first to admit women alongside men, and the first to admit Blacks
  • Loewe: [12] Bilder des Orients (published 1834)
  • Johannes Brahms born
  • Berlioz marries Harriet Smithson with Liszt as a witness
  • Wagner begins Die Feen
  • Carlyle publishes Sartor Resartus
  • Minstrel singer George Washington Dixon's tune "Zip Coon" becomes popular, and in 1861, Dan Bryant writes lyrics of "Turkey in the Straw" to that tune
  • At the age of 25, Abraham Lincoln enters politics in Illinois
  • Berlioz: Benvenuto Cellini (composed)
  • Schumann "founds" the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik (first appeared under Schumann's editorship 2 Jan. 1835)
  • Phillis Wheatley: Memoir and Poems of Phyllis Wheatley
  • Alexander Pushkin: The Queen of Spades
  • The Stuttgart Congress of Physicists decide on 440 vps as the tone "A" in treble clef
  • Edgard Degas born
  • Samuel Taylor Coleridge dies
1835 1835
  • Edict by German Federal Diet bans books of the "Young German" writers such as Heine
  • First German railroad from Nuremberg to Fürth
  • Andrew Carnegie born
  • Loewe: Der Bergmann: Ein Liederkreis in Balladenform
  • William Walker's shape-note songbook Southern Harmony is published
  • Bellini: I Puritani
  • Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor
  • Liszt elopes with Marie, Comtesse D'Agoult, and Blandine born 18 Dec.
  • Alexis de Tocqueville: Democracy in America
  • Alfred de Vigny: Première Poésies
  • Camille Saint-Saëns born
  • Vincenzo Bellini dies
1836 1836
  • Battle of the Alamo; Davy Crockett is killed
  • Texas achieves independence from Mexico
  • Aleksandr Dargomyžskij begins composing his songs (over 100); texts from Pushkin and Lermontov, among others
  • Loewe: Frauenliebe (published 1837)
  • Meyerbeer: Les Huguenots
  • Wagner premieres Das Liebesverbot in Magdeburg; marries Minna Planer
  • Emerson publishes his first essay, Nature, an early landmark of American Transcendentalism
  • McGuffey publishes his First and Second Readers
  • Georg Büchner: Woyzeck (play)
  • Schopenhauer: Über den Willen in der Natur
1837 1837
  • Martin Van Buren inaugurated
  • Fröbel opens first Kindergarten
  • Electric telegraph (commercial) invented
  • Liszt's piano "duels" with Thalberg
  • Loewe tours Germany
  • First daguerreotype
  • Charles Dickens: Oliver Twist
  • Queen Victoria crowned
  • Underground Railroad is organized
  • Samuel Morse develops his famous Code
  • Steamship Great Western crosses the Atlantic in 15 days
  • Ludwig Erk: Die deutschen Volkslieder mit ihren Singweisen/Neue Sammlung deutscher Volkslieder mit ihren eigentümlichen Melodien (an important collection of German folk songs; finished 1845)
  • Liszt begins composing his more than 70 songs, setting French, German, Italian, Hungarian, and English texts
  • Wagner: "Der Tannenbaum"
  • Berlioz: Benvenuto, Cellini
  • Schumann: Kreisleriana, Phantasien für das Pianoforte
  • At the age of 18, Jenny Lind debuts in Stockholm in Weber's Der Freischütz
  • Georges Bizet born
  • Lorenzo da Ponte dies in New York City
  • Mutiny on the slave-ship the Amistad
  • Goodyear discovers "vulcanization" of rubber
  • Wagner's French songs ("Dors mon enfant," "Extase," "Attente," "La tombe dit a la rose," "Mignonne," "Tout n'est qu'images fugitives (Soupir)"); "Les deux grenadiers" (Heine, trans. F.-A. Loeve-Veimars)
  • The rules for baseball are established, in Cooperstown NY
  • Paul Cézanne born
  • Ira D. Sankey, American Evangelist, composer of gospel hymns, and hymnbook compiler, born
  • Queen Victoria marries Prince Albert
  • Berlioz: Les Nuits d'Été
  • Robert Schumann's YEAR OF SONG: Liederkreis, Op. 24 & 39, Myrthen, Op. 25, Dichterliebe and Frauenliebe und -Leben, and MANY more; marries Clara Wieck
  • Wagner: "Adieux de Marie Stuart”; Rienzi
  • First national convention of American music teachers
  • Donizetti: La Fille du Régiment
  • Thomas Hardy born
  • Claude Monet born
  • Auguste Rodin born
  • Tchaikovsky born
  • Richard Storrs Willis is the first American to study music in Germany; in the next decades this will become a frequent path for American composers. Willis will return to the United States in 1847 and become an important music critic
  • William Henry Harrison catches cold at his inauguration and dies a month later; John Tyler succeeds him
  • John Quincy Adams argues for the Amistad mutineers and they are freed
  • Schumann: Symphony No. 1
  • Wagner: The Flying Dutchman
  • Saxophone invented by Adolphe Sax
  • Berlioz's liaison with Marie Recio
  • Emerson publishes his first series of Essays
  • Hoffmann von Fallersleben pens the words to “Das Lied der Deutschen"
  • Antonin Dvořák born
  • Pierre-Auguste Renoir born
1842 1842
  • Massachusetts limits the number of hours that a child may work to 10 hours a day
  • Universal male suffrage in Rhode Island after Dorr's Rebellion
  • First surgical operation using anesthesia
  • Liszt: Three Petrarch Sonnets (finished and published in 1846)
  • Verdi: Nabucco
  • New York Philharmonic Society founded--first symphony orchestra in America
  • Berlioz meets Wagner and Schumann
  • Polka becomes fashionable
  • P.T. Barnum opens his "museum"
  • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: Poems on Slavery
  • Edgar Allen Poe: The Masque of the Red Death
  • William James born
  • Stéphane Mallarmé born
  • Jules Massenet born
1843 1843
  • Dorothea Dix begins campaign against poor asylum and prison conditions in the United States
  • Robert Franz: Zwölf Gesänge, Op. 1 (several Burns settings, Eichendorff, et. al)
  • Wagner Kapellmeister in Dresden
  • Irish composer Michael Balfe's opera The Bohemian Girl premiered at Drury Lane Theatre, London
  • Donizetti: Don Pasquale
  • First nightclub opens in Paris
  • Dickens: A Christmas Carol
  • John Greenleaf Whittier: Lays of My Home and Other Poems
  • Henry James born
  • Hölderlin dies
1844 1844
  • Samuel Morse sends his telegraph message, "What hath God wrought?"
  • Marx meets Engels in Paris
  • Robert Franz: Schilflieder, Op. 2 (all N. Lenau settings) & Sechs Gesänge, Op. 3 (Eichendorff, Hoffmann von Fallersleben, Burns, Osterwald)
  • Loewe visits Vienna; composes Kaiser Karl V (4 historical ballads on poems by four different poets)
  • Shape-note songbook Sacred Heart is published; its title refers to the human voice
  • Berlioz premieres Le carnaval romain; separates from Harriet
  • Liszt breaks with Marie D'Agoult
  • Verdi: Ernani
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson publishes his second collection of essays
  • Matthew Brady opens his portrait studio in New York
  • Alexander Dumas, pére: Three Musketeers
  • Mary Cassatt born
  • Friedrich Nietzsche born
  • Nicholas Rimsky-Korsakov born
  • Henri Rousseau born
  • Paul Verlaine born
1845 1845
  • James Polk inaugurated
  • Texas votes to join U.S. and becomes 28th state
  • Great Famine, which lasts through 1852, spurs immigration from Ireland
  • First use of the term "Manifest Destiny"
  • Engels: The Condition of the Working Class in England
  • Robert Franz: Zwölf Gesänge, Op. 4 (several Burns and Osterwald settings, Rückert)
  • Richard Wagner: Tannhäuser
  • Thoreau goes to live at Walden
  • Beginning of the American Renaissance in literature, including Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, the Alcotts, and Fuller
  • Frederick Douglass: Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave
  • Alexander Dumas, pére: The Count of Monte Cristo
  • Prosper Mérimée: Carmen
  • Edgar Allan Poe: The Raven and Other Poems
  • Sarah Bernhardt born
  • Gabriel Fauré born
  • The Negro Singer's Own Book published
  • Stephen Foster moves to Cincinnati to work as a bookkeeper for his brother's business
  • Dan Emmett: "De Blue Tail Fly (Jimmy Crack Corn)"
  • Stephen Foster: "There's a Good Time Coming"
  • Frederick W. Root, organist and composer, born
  • Sarah Wentworth Morton (nicknamed "The American Sappho") dies
  • Mexican War begins; U.S. will acquire substantial Western land
  • Robert Franz: Zwölf Gesänge, Op. 5 (Heine, Osterwald, Rückert, Eichendorff, Schröer), as well as Op. 6, 7, & 8 songs
  • Berlioz: The Damnation of Faust
  • Mendelssohn: Elijah
  • Gottfried Keller: Gedichte
1847 1847
  • Elias Howe invents the sewing machine
  • Mormons arrive in the Salt Lake Valley
  • The abolitionist newspaper North Star begins publication
  • Liberia, founded by freed American slaves, becomes the first republic in Africa
  • Irish immigration to the United States begins
  • Wulf Fries, German cellist, moves to Boston
  • Liszt's last virtuoso concert; meets Princess Carolyne Sayn-Wittgenstein this year
  • Verdi: Macbeth
  • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: Evangeline
  • Charlotte Brontë: Jane Eyre
  • Emily Brontë: Wuthering Heights
  • Alfred, Lord Tennyson: The Princess
  • Newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer born
  • Felix and Fanny Mendelssohn die
1848 1848
  • Mexican War ends
  • First Women's Rights Convention, in Seneca Falls NY
  • Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels: The Communist Manifesto
  • Uprisings throughout Europe
  • Liszt in Weimar (until 1861)
  • First American department store opens in New York City
  • Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood formed in London
  • Gaetano Donizetti dies
1849 1849
  • Zachary Taylor inaugurated
  • California Gold Rush
  • Harriet Tubman escapes from slavery
  • Elizabeth Blackwell is the first woman in America to receive a medical degree
  • German National Assembly passes constitution and elects King Frederick William IV of Prussia "Emperor of the Germans," he refuses; revolutions in Baden and Dresden
  • Mazzini & Garibaldi overthrown; Pius IX restored in Italy
  • Schumann: Minnespiel, Op. 101 and Myrthen und Rosen, Op. 25
  • Otto Nicolai: The Merry Wives of Windsor
  • Verdi: Luisa Miller
  • Wagner in Dresden barricades; flees to Zürich
  • Henry David Thoreau: Civil Disobedience
  • Frédéric Chopin dies
  • Otto Nicolai dies
  • Stephen Foster: "Camptown Races," "The Voice of Bygone Days," "Molly, Do You Love Me?," and "Ah! May the Red Rose Live Alway!"
  • In “Mary Loves the Flowers,” Stephen Foster tries new harmonization techniques
  • Richard S. Willis composes "Carol (It Came Upon a Midnight Clear)"
  • Jenny Lind tours U.S.
  • "I Have Got the Blues To Day!" (with words by Miss Sarah M. Graham and music by Gustave Blessner) is published; it is often cited as being the first "blues"-titled song.
  • Eugene Field born
  • Compromise of 1850
  • Levi Strauss invents blue jeans
  • The first opera (Bellini's La Sonnambula) and symphony concert in Chicago, both lead by Julius Dyhrenfurth
  • Richard Wagner: Lohengrin (premiere on Aug. 28--the anniversary of Goethe's birth--in Weimar under the direction of Franz Liszt)
  • Stephen Foster marries Jane McDowell
  • Emerson publishes Representative Men
  • Elizabeth Barrett Browning: Sonnets from the Portuguese
  • Hawthorne publishes The Scarlet Letter
  • Neo-Gothic architecture in vogue
  • Nikolaus Lenau dies
  • Robert Louis Stevenson born
  • Margaret Fuller dies
  • William Wordsworth dies
  • Stephen Foster sets Charles G. Eastman's "Sweetly She Sleeps" as well as “Old Folks at Home”. Also known as “Way Down Upon the Swanee River,” the latter becomes hugely popular and eventually the state song of Florida. Foster's song "Ring de Banjo" is also published.
  • Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield (the "Black Swan") has her first public performance in Buffalo
  • Verdi: Rigoletto
  • Herman Melville: Moby Dick
  • First American YMCA opens in Boston
  • Writer Kate O'Flaherty Chopin born
  • John James Audubon dies
  • James Fenimore Cooper dies
  • Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley dies
  • Painter Joseph Turner dies
  • Lucien H. Southard sets “The Little Sleeper” by J. Clement
  • John Sullivan Dwight begins publishing Dwight’s Journal of Music, in Boston
  • Frederic Brandeis, a native of Austria, publishes “Was It A Crime to Love Thee” at the age of 17
  • The earliest printing of the song "Row, Row, Row Your Boat," which emerged from American minstrelsy
  • Stephen Foster: "Massa's in de Cold, Cold Ground"
  • Isaac Woodbury: "Uncle Tom's Lament for Eva"
  • Calamity Jane born
  • Thomas Moore dies
  • Abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe publishes Uncle Tom's Cabin
  • First volume of Brothers Grimm Deutsches Wörterbuch published
1853 1853
  • Franklin Pierce is inaugurated
  • E. G. Otis introduces the safety elevator
  • Crimean War (until 1856)
  • Brahms's first published songs Sechs Gesänge, Op. 3; meets Robert and Clara Schumann
  • Anthony Philip Heinrich: The Wildwood Troubadour (autobiographical symphony)
  • Steinway & Sons is founded in New York City by German immigrant Henry Engelhard Steinway
  • Verdi: La Traviata and Il Trovatore
  • Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield (the "Black Swan") travels to England, sings for Queen Victoria and helps Harriet Beecher Stowe build a transatlantic abolition movement
  • Charles Dickens: Bleak House
  • Vincent Van Gogh born
1854 1854
  • Republican Party is born in Wisconsin
  • The Ashmun Institute (first black university) is founded
  • Peter Cornelius: Vater Unser  (song cycle)
  • George F. Root: The Pilgrim Fathers (cantata)
  • Wagner: Das Rheingold
  • Henry David Thoreau: Walden
  • Charles Dickens: Hard Times
  • Eduard Hanslick: Von Musikalisch-Schönen
  • Boston Public Library and New York's Astor Library open
1855 1855
  • World Exposition in Paris
  • Registered mail is introduced
  • Berlioz sees Wagner in London
  • Robert Browning: Men and Women
  • Frederick Douglass: My Bondage and My Freedom
  • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: Hiawatha
  • Ernst Chausson born
  • Charlotte Brontë dies
  • Walt Whitman publishes a much longer second edition of Leaves of Grass
  • Benjamin R. Hanby: "Darling Nellie Grey"--a minstrel song sensitive to the plight of slaves
  • Stephen Foster: "Gentle Annie"
  • Hart P. Danks: "Anna Lee"
  • German composer Julius Eichberg moves to America
  • James Berry Bensel born
  • May Probyn born
  • Kansas is coined "Bloody Kansas" after the Pottawatomie Massacre
  • Baritone Julius Stockhausen gives first public performance of Schubert's Die schöne Müllerin
  • Robert Franz: Sechs Gesänge, Op. 16 (includes Goethe setting)
  • Richard Wagner: Die Walküre
  • Gustave Flaubert: Madame Bovary
  • Sigmund Freud born
  • Arthur Rimbaud born
  • Heinrich Heine dies
  • Robert Schumann dies
1857 1857
  • James Buchanan is inaugurated
  • Transatlantic cable laid
  • Dred Scott decision handed down by Supreme Court
  • Garibaldi forms the Italian National Association in an attempt at unifying the Italian states
  • Rossini comes out of retirement and begins composing his Péchés de vieillesse (Sins of Old Age), over 150 piano pieces, songs, small ensembles and the Petite messe solennelle, which he continued composing to his death and refused to publish; these short works influenced future composers, such as Camille Saint-Saëns and Erik Satie
  • Wagner: Wesendonck Lieder (1857-8)
  • Opening of Philadelphia's Academy of Music--the oldest grand opera house in the United States still used for its original purpose
  • First official Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans
  • George F. Root: The Haymakers (cantata)
  • Verdi: Simon Boccanegra
  • Charles Baudelaire: Les Fleurs du Mal
  • Joseph Conrad born
  • Edward Elgar born
  • Max Klinger born
  • Ruggero Leoncavallo born
  • Joseph Eichendorff dies
  • Mikhail Glinka dies
  • Stephen Foster: "Linger in Blissful Repose"
  • Daniel Emmett becomes the composer for Bryant's Minstrels
  • "The Yellow Rose of Texas (Song of the Texas Rangers)" is published in New York under the name "J.K." The song was probably written in 1836 during the Battle of San Jacinto
  • Paul Dresser, composer of the state song if Indiana, "On the Banks of the Wabash," is born
  • Lincoln-Douglas debates
  • India is made a British Crown Colony after the Sepoy Rebellion ends
  • Garibaldi names Victor Emmanuel King of Italy
  • William H. Fry’s Italianate opera Leonora is given in New York
  • Thomas Carlyle begins Frederick the Great
  • Hector Berlioz: Les Troyens
  • Jacques Offenbach: Orpheus and the Underworld
  • Giacomo Puccini born
1859 1859
  • Abolitionist John Brown stages raid on Harper's Ferry to free slaves; he is hanged
  • Adelina Patti's operatic debut (New York Academy of Music)
  • Charles Gounod: Faust
  • Verdi: Un Ballo in Maschera
  • Richard Wagner: Tristan und Isolde
  • Tennyson: Idylls of the King
  • Charles Darwin: The Origin of the Species