1904

3 January 1904 A week after finishing Madama Butterfly, Giacomo Puccini (45) marries Elvira Bonturi Gemignani, his lover of 18 years and mother of his 17-year-old son.  The civil ceremony takes place in Viareggio, the religious in Torre del Lago.

6 January 1904 The Japanese railroad in Korea refuses to transport Russian troops.

7 January 1904 Arthur Foote (50) premieres his Suite in D op.54 for organ in Boston.

9 January 1904 Estampes for piano by Claude Debussy (41), is performed for the first time, by the Société National de Musique, Paris.  The audience requires the pianist, Ricardo Viñes, to encore “Jardin sous la pluie.”

11 January 1904 British troops kill about 1,000 Dervishes in British Somaliland.

String Quintet no.1 op.85 by Charles Villiers Stanford (51) is performed for the first time, in St. James’ Hall, London.

12 January 1904 The Hereros of South West Africa rise up against German colonial rule.

13 January 1904 Kossuth, a symphonic poem by Béla Bartók (22), is performed for the first time, in Budapest.  Some members of the orchestra refuse to perform the work as the eighth section parodies the Austrian national anthem.  Nevertheless, the piece is a smashing success.

19 January 1904 Three Love Songs op.14 for voice and piano by Frederick S. Converse (33) to words of Meredith, Shelley, and Keats, are performed for the first time, in Boston.

20 January 1904 The Cinema Moderno opens in Rome.  It is the first building in Italy constructed to be a movie theatre.

21 January 1904 Edvard Grieg (60) is awarded the Grand Cross of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav by King Oscar II.

Her Foster Daughter, an opera by Leos Janácek (49) (known outside Czechoslovakia as Jenufa), with words adapted by the composer after Preissová, is performed for the first time, at the National Theatre, Brünn (Brno).  It is dedicated to the memory of his daughter Olga who died during its composition.  The opera is a critical success and a popular triumph.  The composer is called to the stage after each act and the librettist acknowledges applause from her box.  Janácek is carried on the shoulders of the singers to a victory party.  See 23 April 1903 and 26 February 1903.

Frederick Delius’ (41) tone poem Lebenstanz, a reworking of his earlier work La Ronde se déroule, is performed for the first time, in Düsseldorf.

22 January 1904 Béla Bartók (22) gives a solo recital in Pressburg (Bratislava).

23 January 1904 The center of the Norwegian city of Ålesund is destroyed by fire.

The Intermezzo for string quartet by Anton Bruckner (†7) is performed for the first time, in Vienna.

24 January 1904 Friedrich II replaces Friedrich I as Duke of Anhalt.

25 January 1904 Gas explodes in a mine in Cheswick, Pennsylvania, killing about 180 people.

Béla Bartók’s (22) Violin Sonata in e minor is performed completely for the first time, in Budapest.  The composer plays the accompaniment.  See 8 June 1903.

Ballade carnavalesque for flute, oboe, E-flat saxophone, bassoon, and piano by Charles Martin Loeffler (42) is performed for the first time, in Potter Hall, Boston.

29 January 1904 Ferruccio Busoni (37) gives a recital at the White House before President and Mrs. Roosevelt.  It is only the second time that a performer has been given an entire evening.  (Paderewski was the first)

30 January 1904 The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov is performed for the first time, in the Moscow Art Theatre.

31 January 1904 Fantasia slava for piano and orchestra by Ottorino Respighi (24) is performed for the first time, in Bologna.

1 February 1904 Denmark grants internal autonomy to Iceland.

Richard Strauss (39) and his wife depart Berlin for a tour of the United States.

CQD is adopted by the Marconi International Marine Communication Company as a worldwide distress signal.

3 February 1904 Luigi Dallapiccola is born in Pisino d’Istria, Austria (now part of Italy), the son of a teacher of classical languages and school headmaster.

Edward Elgar (46), Hubert Parry (55) and Alexander Mackenzie dine with King Edward VII, the Prince of Wales and other royals at Marlborough House.  The three composers each conduct one of their works.

4 February 1904 The divertissement-ballet Cigale by Jules Massenet (61), to a scenario by Cain, is performed for the first time, at the Théâte Favart, Paris.

5 February 1904 Japan breaks diplomatic relations with Russia, claiming that Russia is dragging its feet in negotiations over Manchuria.

The last American troops leave Cuba.

6 February 1904 Horatio Parker (40) is hired by the Collegiate Church of St. Nicholas in New York as organist and choirmaster.

7 February 1904 Today and tomorrow, fire destroys much of the city of Baltimore.  1,300 buildings are destroyed in a 57-hectare area.

8 February 1904 Two works for orchestra by Jean Sibelius (38) are performed for the first time, in Helsinki, conducted by the composer:  the Violin Concerto and Cassazione.  Also premiered is Sibelius’ Have You Courage? op.31/2 for male chorus and orchestra to words of Wecksell.

9 February 1904 Just after midnight. Japanese torpedo boats attack Russian warships at their base in Port Arthur, without a formal declaration of war.  Three Russian ships are damaged.  During the day, naval forces of the two countries engage near Port Arthur.  240 total casualties result.

10 February 1904 8,000 Japanese troops land near Seoul while other Japanese forces come ashore across western Korea.  Two Russian warships are destroyed in the process.  Russia and Japan exchange formal declarations of war.

11 February 1904 The first two of the Four Songs op.2 by Arnold Schoenberg (29) to words of Dehmel are performed for the first time, in Vienna.  See 26 January 1907 and 14 January 1910.

Two songs by Ralph Vaughan Williams (31), Jean Renaud and L’Amour de Moy, to anonymous words (tr. England), are performed for the first time, at St. James’ Hall, London.

12 February 1904 The report of Roger Casement is published.  After diligent on scene research, Casement shows in detail the egregious violations of human rights of Africans by Europeans in the Congo Free State.

13 February 1904 Senegal is separated from French West Africa and becomes a separate colony.

Panama adopts a constitution granting the United States the right to intervene at will in the internal affairs of the country.

17 February 1904 Madama Butterfly, a tragedia giapponese by Giacomo Puccini (45), to words of Illica and Giacosa after Belasco and Long, is performed for the first time, in the Teatro alla Scala, Milan.  The production is accompanied by whistles, shouts, and general pandemonium engineered by rivals of the composer.  Reviews are mixed.  Puccini, Illica, and Giacosa withdraw the production tonight and cancel an upcoming engagement in Rome to make changes.

Manuel Amador Guerrero becomes the first President of Panama.

18 February 1904 The poème lyrique Hélène, by Camille Saint-Saëns (68) to his own words, is performed for the first time, in Monaco.

The Symphony no.2 of Vincent d’Indy (52) is performed for the first time, in Paris.  It is universally acclaimed.

Béla Bartók (22) gives his first concert in Britain, in Manchester.  He plays the Spanish Rhapsody of Franz Liszt (†17) and the Variations on a Theme by Handel of Robert Volkmann.  His symphonic poem Kossuth is also performed.  The critics are generally positive.

20 February 1904 Two of the Mélodies populaires grecques, for solo voice and piano by Maurice Ravel (28) are performed for the first time, in the School of Advanced Studies, Paris.

21 February 1904 Old Norwegian Melody with Variations op.51 for orchestra by Edvard Grieg (60) is performed for the first time, in the National Theatre, Christiania (Oslo).  This is Grieg’s orchestration of his work for two pianos.

23 February 1904 Japan guarantees the sovereignty of Korea if they will assist in the defeat of Russia.

The US Senate ratifies the treaty of last November.  Immediately, the US sends $10,000,000 to Panama and buys the assets of the New Panama Canal Company.

24 February 1904 Richard Strauss (39) and his wife arrive in New York for an American tour.

Sonata no.4 for violin alone op.42/4 by Max Reger (30) is performed for the first time, in Berlin.

25 February 1904 JM Synge’s Riders to the Sea opens at the Irish National Theatre Society.  The audience is so moved that there is no applause.

Pursuant to the Treaty of Petropolis signed last November, Brazil annexes the Bolivian province of Acre.

27 February 1904 Richard Strauss (39) gives his first concert in the United States, conducting Ein Heldenleben in Carnegie Hall, New York.  He will also visit Boston and Philadelphia.

29 February 1904 US President Roosevelt appoints a Panama Canal Commission to oversee construction of the canal.

The scherzo movement to Béla Bartók’s (22) Symphony in Eb is performed for the first time, in Budapest.

1 March 1904 In an effort to support his young colleague, Gustav Mahler (44) attends a performance of Arnold Schoenberg’s (29) Verklärte Nacht in Vienna.  Mahler cheers the work loudly, but most of the audience reaction is strongly negative.  Mahler suggests to Schoenberg that he rescore the piece for string orchestra.

2 March 1904 Sonata no.1 for violin alone op.42/1 by Max Reger (30) is performed for the first time, in Berlin.

4 March 1904 Ten Pieces for organ op.69 by Max Reger (30) are performed for the first time, in Berlin.

Richard Strauss (39) conducts Tod und Verklärung with the Philadelphia Orchestra in Philadelphia.

5 March 1904 US archaeologist Edward Thompson begins the first excavations at Chichén Itzá on the Yucatán Peninsula.

Tanssi-Intermezzo op.45/2 for orchestra by Jean Sibelius (38) is performed for the first time, in Helsinki, the composer conducting.

Maurice Ravel’s (28) String Quartet is performed for the first time, at the Salle de la Schola Cantorum, Paris.

6 March 1904 Japanese naval forces bombard the harbor of Vladivostok but to little effect.  The Russian fleet has escaped.  Although militarily it is a waste of time, it causes many citizens of Vladivostok to return west and causes concern in the Russian army over a possible invasion.

7 March 1904 The orchestral work Symphonic Rhapsody by Ralph Vaughan Williams (31), is performed for the first time, in Bournemouth.

8 March 1904 The German Reichstag lifts the ban on the Jesuits.

11 March 1904 Richard Strauss (39) conducts his own music in the first of two concerts in Pittsburgh with the Pittsburgh Symphony.  It will be repeated tomorrow.

12 March 1904 Two partsongs op.26 for female chorus by Edward Elgar (46) to words of his wife CA Elgar, are performed for the first time in an orchestral setting, in Queen’s Hall, London.

14 March 1904 The United States Supreme Court dissolves the Northern Securities Company, thus upholding the Sherman Anti-Trust Act.

Today begins a three-day festival of the music of Edward Elgar (46) at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.  Never before has such an honor been accorded a living English composer.

15 March 1904 Japanese forces shell Port Arthur killing about 300 Russians.

The Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde decides to ask Gustav Mahler (44) to direct their concert series.  He will decline, twice.

16 March 1904 In the South overture op.50 by Edward Elgar (46) is performed for the first time, in the Royal Opera House, London, conducted by the composer.

19 March 1904 A cantata for the 60th birthday of Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov (60) by Igor Stravinsky (21) is performed for the first time, in the master’s St. Petersburg apartment, conducted by the composer.  Also premiered is Stravinsky’s song Conductor and Tarantula.

21 March 1904 On his first visit to the United States, Richard Strauss (39) conducts the premiere performance of his Symphonia Domestica in Carnegie Hall, New York.  The audience calls him to the stage eight times.  Critics are mixed.  See 16 April 1904.

22 March 1904 Today’s London Daily Illustrated Mirror contains the first color photograph to be published.

Think of Me, a song by Ralph Vaughan Williams (31) to anonymous words (tr. Ferguson), is performed for the first time, in Steinway Hall, London.

24 March 1904 Ferruccio Busoni (37) sails from New York aboard the Blücher after his first concert tour of the United States.

La copla, a zarzuela sevillana by Joaquín Turina (21) to words of Labios and Luciux, is performed for the first time, in Seville.

25 March 1904 Antonín Dvorák’s (62) opera Armida, to words of Vrchlicky after Tasso, is performed for the first time, at the National Theatre, Prague.  The composer is present but is forced to leave early, complaining of a pain in the side.  It is an illness from which he will not recover.

26 March 1904 Romance in C op.42 for strings by Jean Sibelius (38) is performed for the first time, in Turku, conducted by the composer.

30 March 1904 Antonín Dvorák (62) takes a walk to the Prague railroad station to look at some locomotives.  He catches a cold which will confine him to bed.

String Quintet no.2 op.86 by Charles Villiers Stanford (51) is performed for the first time, in Berlin.

The Boston Evening Transcript reports that an incorporation bill has been introduced in the Massachusetts legislature for the Cahill Telharmonic Company of New England.  A new statute is needed since Massachusetts law has no provision for a firm to produce electric musical instruments.  It is the first widespread, public description of the Telharmonium and its service.  (The company will be incorporated in New Jersey)

Koanga, a lyric drama by Frederick Delius (42) to words of Keary, after Cable, is staged for the first time in the Elberfeld Stadttheater.  See 30 May 1899.

31 March 1904 The British expedition into Tibet meets resistance at Guru.  The Tibetans are defeated and then massacred as they attempt to flee.  600-700 are killed.

1 April 1904 Deux Impromptus op.14 for piano by Alyeksandr Skryabin (32) are performed for the first time, in Moscow.

2 April 1904 Richard Strauss (39) conducts an all-Strauss evening in Chicago.

5 April 1904 The advancing Japanese army reaches the Yalu River.

8 April 1904 In an entente cordiale, Great Britain and France settle differences in Morocco, Egypt, Newfoundland, Siam, the New Hebrides, and western Africa.  Britain recognizes the Suez Canal Convention and surrenders its claim to Madagascar while France gives Britain a free hand in Egypt.

Enrico Caruso sings the song Mattinata in the Grand Hotel, Milan, accompanied by the composer, Ruggero Leoncavallo (47) in a recording session by the Gramophone and Typewriter Company.  The song was composed at the request of G&T specifically for the purpose of recording.

Mayor George McClellan of New York proclaims that henceforth Longacre Square will be called Times Square in honor of the New York Times.

9 April 1904 British colonial forces defeat Tibetans at Red Idol Gorge, but the Tibetans make an orderly retreat.

10 April 1904 During the performance of a Beethoven (†77) symphony in the Cirque d’été, Paris, Erik Satie (37) exchanges words with his arch-enemy, the critic Henri Gauthier-Villars (pseud. Willy).  Not satisfied with the responses he is receiving, Satie begins to beat Willy, who responds with his walking stick.  The composer is removed to a nearby police station.

The electoral college of Argentina selects Manuel Quintana as President.

12 April 1904 Through the efforts of Charles Villiers Stanford (51) and Hubert Parry (56), Edward Elgar (46) is elected to the Athenaeum Club.

13 April 1904 The Russian battleship Petropavlovsk hits a mine outside of Port Arthur and sinks, taking 600 men with her, including Admiral Makarov, the commander of Russia’s naval forces in the Far East.  37 men are saved.  In action earlier in the day, one Russian destroyer is lost.

Hereros battle Germans at Oviumbo and force them to withdraw.

14 April 1904 Albert Roussel’s (35) Piano Trio op.2 is performed for the first time, at the home of Mme Taravent, Paris.  See 4 February 1905.

16 April 1904 The premiere of Richard Strauss’ (39) Symphonia domestica on 12 March was so successful that an entire floor of Wannamaker’s department store in New York has been cleared for a repeat performance.  It will be performed again in the same place on 18 April.

18 April 1904 The socialist journal L’Humanité, founded by Jean Jaurès, is first published, in Paris.

19 April 1904 Fire destroys six hectares of downtown Toronto.

20 April 1904 Gustav Holst (29) enters upon duties as teacher of class singing at James Allen’s Girls’ School in Southeast London.  He was recommended by the last person to hold the job, Ralph Vaughan Williams (31).  See 16 September 1904.

21 April 1904 As Russian forces retreat in the face of the Japanese, hundreds of them drown in the Yalu River.

22 April 1904 Four Irish Dances op.89 for orchestra by Charles Villiers Stanford (51) is performed for the first time, in Buckingham Palace.

23 April 1904 The United States acquires property and assets of the French Panama Canal Company.

The American Academy of Arts and Letters is founded within the National Institute of Arts and Letters.

The Euterpe Overture of George Whitefield Chadwick (49) is performed for the first time, in Symphony Hall, Boston, conducted by the composer.

25 April 1904 The chamber orchestra setting of Valse Triste, by Jean Sibelius (38), is performed for the first time, in Helsinki.  See 2 December 1903.

Five Partsongs from the Greek Anthology op.45, for male chorus by Edward Elgar (46), are performed for the first time at the Royal Albert Hall, London.

26 April 1904 On his tour of the United States, Richard Strauss (39) and his wife are received by President and Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt in Washington.

27 April 1904 John Christian Watson replaces Alfred Deakin as Prime Minister of Australia.  Watson is the first socialist head of government in the world.

28 April 1904 In Turin, Edgard Varèse (20) experiences Debussy’s (41) Prélude a l'après-midi d'un faune for the first time.  On hearing it, Varèse decides to become a composer.

String Quartet op.54/2 by Max Reger (31) is performed for the first time, in Munich.

29 April 1904 The first concert of the recently founded Munich branch of the Allgemeiner Deutscher Musikverein is devoted entirely to the music of its secretary, Max Reger (31).  His Sonata for clarinet and piano op.49/2 is performed for the first time, the composer at the keyboard.

30 April 1904 Japanese forces cross the Yalu River into Manchuria near Uiju (Xinyizhou) in force.

Called in to save the ailing Warsaw Conservatory, Leos Janácek (49) meets with the directors and discusses his plans.

The Louisiana Purchase Exposition opens in St. Louis.  Hymn of the West for chorus by John Knowles Paine (65) to words of Stedman, is performed for the first time, at the opening ceremonies.  It is his last commission.

1 May 1904 Japanese forces rout Russians from their positions above the Yalu River across from Uiju (Xinyizhou).

A typhoon strikes the Mekong Delta costing thousands of lives.

Antonín Leopold Dvorák dies suddenly at the dinner table of his home in Prague.  He is aged 62 years, seven months, and 23 days.

Leos Janácek (49) misses a scheduled meeting with the Russian governor general in Warsaw.  As a result, he will not be offered the post of director of the Warsaw Conservatory.  He attends a concert in the evening.  After the conductor announces the death of Antonín Dvorák, the audience rises and Dvorák’s Hussite Overture is played.

2 May 1904 The Japanese send eight merchant ships into Port Arthur.  They manage to break the protective boom and reach the inner harbor where they are blown up by their commanders.  Other ships are sunk near the entrance to the harbor.

4 May 1904 At the Midland Hotel in Manchester, engineer Henry Royce and car dealer Charles Rolls agree to form a company to make automobiles.

The United States formally takes possession of French property at the Panama Canal.

5 May 1904 Tibetans attack the British at Chang Lo but are easily beaten off.

After a funeral procession through Prague where thousands line the route, the body of Antonín Dvorák is buried in the Vysehrad Cemetery, in an area reserved for the leading figures of the nation.

Japanese forces land on the Liaotung (Liaodong) peninsula, 65 kilometers from the Russian naval base at Port Arthur (Lüshun).

Denton “Cy” Young of the Boston Red Sox pitches the first perfect game of the twentieth century against the Detroit Tigers.

6 May 1904 Over the next five days, three Japanese divisions land on the south coast of Manchuria to attempt to cut off the Russian base at Port Arthur (Lüshun) from the main Russian army further north.

10 May 1904 Henry Morton Stanley dies in London at the age of 63.

13 May 1904 About this time, the Japanese manage to cut communications between Port Arthur and the Russian army in Manchuria.

15 May 1904 The Japanese battleships Hatsuse and Yashima strike mines while on blockade duty off Port Arthur.  One mine detonates the magazine of Hatsuse and about 500 people are killed.  Yashima is eventually abandoned.  The Japanese cruiser Kasuga collides with the cruiser Yoshino in dense fog off Port Arthur.  The Yoshino goes down with 319 of her crew.  19 are rescued.

17 May 1904 Works by three contemporary French composers are performed for the first time at the Nouveau Théâtre, Paris.  They are the symphonic prelude Résurrection op.4 by Albert Roussel (35), Shéhérazade, for solo voice and orchestra by Maurice Ravel (29) to words of Klingsor, and Choral varié for saxophone and orchestra, by Vincent d’Indy (53).

18 May 1904 German engineer Christian Hülsmeyer gives the first public demonstration of his telemobiloscope on the Hohenzollern Bridge at Cologne.  His device detects the approach of a ship on the Rhine.  It is the first practical radar.

La véranda op.3 for voice, female chorus, and piano or orchestra by Charles Koechlin (36) to words of Leconte de Lisle is performed publicly for the first time, in Salle Erard, Paris, the composer conducting.  See 10 May 1899.

20 May 1904 The Suite de Ballet in Eb op.10 for orchestra by Gustav Holst (29) is performed for the first time, in St. James’ Hall, London, conducted by the composer.

Symphonic Poem for orchestra by Frank Bridge (25) is performed for the first time, in St. James’ Hall, London, directed by the composer.

21 May 1904 Representatives of football federations from France, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland sign an agreement in Paris creating the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).

24 May 1904 Ruggero Leoncavallo (47) is granted an audience with Kaiser Wilhelm II at Potsdam for the purpose of presenting the Kaiser with a copy of his Der Roland von Berlin.  Wilhelm calls Leoncavallo “the foremost Italian composer.”  (Dryden, 90)

25 May 1904 Japanese forces attack Russians at Nanshan south of Chinchou (Jinzhou) but are repulsed.

26 May 1904 Japanese forces occupy Chinchou (Jinzhou) and once again attack Russian positions on Nanshan to the south.  After a seesaw battle of over nine hours, the Russians are forced to withdraw.  5,174 people are killed.

27 May 1904 Japanese forces capture Dairen (Dalian) without opposition.

30 May 1904 Adolf Friedrich V replaces Friedrich Wilhelm as Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

1 June 1904 Die Heinzelmännchen op.14 for bass and orchestra by Hans Pfitzner (35) to words of Kopisch is performed for the first time, in Frankfurt-am-Main.

Three songs from the sixth set of English Lyrics by Hubert Parry (56) are performed for the first time, in London:  And I Love Her Till I Die to anonymous words, Love is a Bable, to anonymous words, and A Lover’s Garland to Greek words translated by Graves.  Also performed is Parry’s song Nightfall in Winter to  words of Mitchell, from the eighth set of English Lyrics.

8 June 1904 Four of the six songs op.16 by Gustav Holst (29) are performed for the first time, in Bechstein Hall, London:  Calm is the Morn, to words of Tennyson; My True Love Hath My Heart, to words of Sidney; Weep You No More, Sad Fountains, to an anonymous text; and Lovely Kind and Kindly Loving, to words of Breton.

State militia attack striking miners at Dunnville, Colorado, killing six of them and imprisoning 15.  79 others will be sent to Kansas in two days.

9 June 1904 The London Symphony Orchestra gives its first performance, in Queen’s Hall.

11 June 1904 14,000 German troops arrive in South West Africa to deal with the Herero uprising.

15 June 1904 Two Japanese battleships are lost to Russian mines but the blockade of Port Arthur (Lüshun) continues.

After a two-day battle at Te-li-Ssu (Delisi), 135 km north of Port Arthur, Russian forces are forced to withdraw, but they escape encirclement by the Japanese.

A second daughter is born to Gustav (44) and Alma Mahler at their summer home Maiernigg.  She is named Anna Justine after Alma’s mother and Mahler’s sister.

A chartered paddle wheeler, the General Slocum, catches fire and burns to the waterline in the East River of New York.  As many as 1,300 people are killed.  Only about 300 survive.

16 June 1904 At Senate House in Helsinki, Eugen Schauman, a civil servant and Finnish nationalist, shoots Nikolay Bobrikov, Governor-General of Finland and then himself.  Schauman dies instantly.  Bobrikov will survive until 17 June.

19 June 1904 Charles T. Griffes (19) is honored at the end of his first year at Stern Conservatory, Berlin with a solo in the year-end concert.  He plays Beethoven’s (†77) 32 Variations in c minor.

22 June 1904 Edward Elgar (47) receives an honorary degree from the University of Durham.

27 June 1904 The School of Musical Art of the City of New York is granted a charter by the University of the State of New York Board of Regents.  It will eventually be called the Juilliard School.

28 June 1904 Six days out of Copenhagen, with stops at Christiania and Kristianssand, the Danish liner SS Norge strikes ground near Rockall in the north Atlantic.  Over 600 people are lost but 160 survive in lifeboats.

Helen Keller graduates magna cum laude from Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

30 June 1904 String Quartet in C by Ralph Vaughan Williams (31) is performed for the first time, at the Oxford and Cambridge Musical Club.

1 July 1904 The games of the Third Olympiad of the modern era open in St. Louis, Missouri, United States.

3 July 1904 Theodor Herzl dies in Edlach, Lower Austria at the age of 44.

4 July 1904 Prince Piero Ginori Conti tests the first geothermal power generator at Larderello, Italy.  It powers four light bulbs.

5 July 1904 Edward Elgar (47) is knighted by King Edward VII in Buckingham Palace.

A Romance for violin and piano by Leos Janácek (50) is performed for the first time, in Ivancice v Brna.

6 July 1904 British and colonial troops capture the Tibetan fortress at Gyantse.

7 July 1904 Members of religious orders are forbidden to teach in French schools.

15 July 1904 Anton Pavlovich Chekhov dies in Badenweiler, Germany at the age of 44.

Claude Debussy (41) puts his wife, Rosalie “Lily” Texier on a train to her parents’ home, and goes to Emma Bardac.  They subsequently leave Paris for Jersey.

The first Buddhist temple in North America is established in Los Angeles.

16 July 1904 James Joyce meets his future wife Nora Barnacle on a Dublin street.  He will choose this date as the one he describes in his novel Ulysses.

The United States takes possession of the Manu’a Islands and Rose Atoll in the Samoa group.

17 July 1904 Russian forces attempt to retake the Motien Pass from the Japanese, southeast of Liaoyang.  They are forced to retreat with heavy casualties.

26 July 1904 Erik Satie’s (38) song La Diva de l’”Empire” to words of Bonnaud and Blès, is performed for the first time, in the revue Dévidons la bobine, in Berck, Pas-de-Calais.

28 July 1904 Japanese forces take the outer defenses of the Russian base at Port Arthur (Lüshun).

Vyacheslav Konstantinovich von Plehve, director of the Russian state police, is killed in St. Petersburg by a bomb thrown into his carriage by a Social-Revolutionary.

30 July 1904 Japanese forces take the second defense line of the Russian base at Port Arthur (Lüshun).

At a Paris Conservatoire awards ceremony, Nadia Boulanger (16) receives first prizes in organ, piano accompaniment, and fugue.

31 July 1904 The Trans-Siberian Railway, from Chelyabinsk to Vladivostok, is completed.

3 August 1904 British forces occupy Lhasa.

6 August 1904 Eduard Hanslick dies in Baden, near Vienna at the age of 78.

7 August 1904 Japanese forces launch the first in a series of suicide attacks on the besieged Russian garrison at Port Arthur (Lüshun).

10 August 1904 On personal instructions of Tsar Nikolay II, fearing the imminent fall of Port Arthur, the commander of the Russian Pacific Fleet, Admiral Vilgelm Karlovich Vitgeft, leads a force out from Port Arthur making for Vladivostok.  They are set upon by the Japanese and in the ensuing engagement a shell hits the bridge and conning tower of the flagship Tsarevich. Admiral Vitgeft is killed.  The Russian squadron is forced to return to Port Arthur, except for Tsarevich which manages to limp into the German port of Tsingtao (Qingdao).

The New York Electric Music Company is incorporated in Jersey City, New Jersey.  It is intended to produce Telharmoniums and its service.

11 August 1904 German troops defeat the Hereros at Waterberg, South West Africa but are unable to end the uprising.  Any Hereros found alive after the battle are killed by the Germans, regardless of age or sex.  The rest attempt to flee to Bechuanaland.

13 August 1904 Ernest Bloch (24) marries Margarethe Augusta Schneider, a pianist, in Geneva.

14 August 1904 Sailing to meet the Port Arthur fleet, a squadron of Russian ships from Vladivostok are set upon by the Japanese off Ulsan, Korea.  Serious damage is inflicted on both sides.  One Russian ship is lost and the others are forced to return to Vladivostok.  Hundreds are killed.

18 August 1904 George Houston Reid replaces John Christian Watson as Prime Minister of Australia.

20 August 1904 Japanese forces begin a general assault on the Russian base at Port Arthur (Lüshun).

Having traveled from Port Arthur all the way around Japan making for Vladivostok, the Russian cruiser Novik is set upon by two Japanese ships in La Perousse Strait between Sakhalin and Hokkaido.  After seriously damaging one of the Japanese ships, the Russian captain is forced to beach his vessel.

25 August 1904 Japanese forces launch an attack on the Russian defenses at Liaoyang.  The Russians withstand the assault but at midnight withdraw to their second defensive line.

28 August 1904 Three Choruses for Women’s Voices for female chorus and piano by George Whitefield Chadwick (49) to words of Meleager (tr. Perry), are performed for the first time, in New York.

30 August 1904 Japanese forces renew their attack on the Russians at Liaoyang.  Russian defenses hold firm.

1 September 1904 Helen Keller graduates with honors from Radcliffe College.

2 September 1904 Russian forces launch a muddled attack out of their defenses at Liaoyang.  Despite hopeless confusion, they manage to make headway.

3 September 1904 Despite fighting the Japanese to a standstill, Russian troops withdraw from Liaoyang.  With the Japanese too exhausted to pursue, the Russians make it safely to Mukden (Shenyang).  The nine-day battle for Liaoyang caused 39,000 casualties.

7 September 1904 In the absence of the Dalai Lama in Lhasa, a government is cobbled together by the British expedition from prominent Tibetans who sign a treaty with them, essentially turning Tibet into a British protectorate.  This will not be recognized by China, nor later by Britain as well.

Hubert Parry’s (56) sinfonia sacra The Love That Casteth Out Fear for alto, bass, chorus, and orchestra is performed for the first time, in Gloucester.

9 September 1904 The Harper and His Son op.38/4, a song for voice and piano by Jean Sibelius (38) to words of Rydberg, is performed for the first time, in Helsinki.

15 September 1904 King Leopold II of Belgium sets up a commission to investigate complaints of mistreatment of the indigenous population of the Congo which have persisted since 1897.

A general strike is called in Italy to protest the armed repression of previous strikes.  It is the first general strike in Italian history and causes severe disruptions for five days.

16 September 1904 Gustav Holst’s (29) position as teacher of class singing at James Allen’s Girls’ School in Southeast London is made permanent.  See 20 April 1904.

Sergey Rakhmaninov (31) conducts at the Bolshoy Theatre in Moscow for the first time, in a performance of Rusalka by Dargomizhsky (†45).

22 September 1904 Sergey Prokofiev (13) undergoes the entrance examination to the St. Petersburg Conservatory.  His examiners include Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov (60) and Alyeksandr Glazunov (39).  He is accepted.

23 September 1904 British forces depart Lhasa for India after an occupation of six weeks.

24 September 1904 Jean Sibelius (38) and his family move into a new villa, Ainola, near Tuomala.

25 September 1904 Claude Debussy (42) returns to Paris after leaving his wife and spending over a month in Jersey with his mistress, Emma Bardac.  He moves into an apartment alone, rented on credit.

28 September 1904 A woman smoking a cigarette while riding in an open car along Fifth Avenue, New York is arrested.

1 October 1904 The Sea Wolf by Jack London is published this month in New York.

Representatives of the Netherlands and Portugal agree at The Hague on a treaty governing their common boundary on the island of Timor.

Incidental music to Francmesnil’s (after Dickens) play Le grillon du foyer by Jules Massenet (62) is performed for the first time, at the Théâtre de l’Odéon, Paris.

2 October 1904 General Lothar von Trotha, commander of German forces in South West Africa, orders the Hereros out of the province, and that any Herero who falls into German hands will be killed.

3 October 1904 Russian forces begin a major offensive, attacking south from Mukden (Shenyang) against the Japanese on a 65 km front along the Sha River.  They make early gains.

France and Spain reach a secret agreement in Paris in their dispute over Morocco.  Spain will support a French protectorate in return for a share of the country.

Edgard Varèse (20) begins studies at the Schola Cantorum, Paris.

7 October 1904 Songs of the Sea op.91 for baritone, male chorus and orchestra by Charles Villiers Stanford (52) to words of Newbolt is performed for the first time, in Leeds.

8 October 1904 After creating 39 tunnels, the Trans-Siberian Railway is opened from Baikal to Kultuk.  The work was speeded up because of the needs of the Russ-Japanese War.

10 October 1904 Japanese forces begin a counterattack in the weakest area of the Russian front south of Mukden (Shenyang).

11 October 1904 The Russian offensive south of Mukden (Shenyang) is halted with heavy casualties by the Japanese.

12 October 1904 Leopold’s Rule in Africa, by British consul Roger Casement, is published.  It chronicles the egregious human rights abuses perpetrated by the administration of King Leopold II of Belgium in the Congo Free State.

Manuel A. Quintana y Sáenz de Gaona replaces Alejo Julio Argentino Roca Paz as President of Argentina.

I Would I Were Dwelling op.38/5, a song for voice and piano by Jean Sibelius (38) to words of Frödling, is performed for the first time, in Helsinki.

13 October 1904 Three months after her husband, Claude Debussy (42), left her, Rosalie “Lily” Texier shoots herself “beneath the breast” in her Paris home.  She will survive, and the bullet will never be removed.

15 October 1904 The Russian Baltic Fleet, renamed the Second Pacific Squadron, sails for the Far East from St. Petersburg.

Arnold Schoenberg (30) begins a course “for professionals and serious amateurs” in harmony and counterpoint in Vienna, along with Alexander von Zemlinsky (analysis and instrumentation) and Dr. Elsa Bienenfeld (music history).  One of his students is Alban Berg (19), who was brought to the attention of Schoenberg by the young man’s brother and sister.  Upon seeing Berg’s compositions, Schoenberg invites him to the course free of charge.

Appalachia:  Variations on an Old Slave Song for solo voice, chorus, and orchestra by Frederick Delius (42) to anonymous words, is performed for the first time, in the Elberfeld Stadthalle.

King Georg of Saxony dies in Pillnitz and is succeeded by his son Friedrich August III.

16 October 1904 The opera Pan Voyevoda, by Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov (60) to words of Tyumenev, is performed for the first time, at the St. Petersburg Conservatory.  An interested young protege of the composer, Igor Stravinsky (22), is in the audience.

17 October 1904 After eight days of fighting along the Sha River south of Mukden (Shenyang), Russian and Japanese forces halt combat, utterly exhausted.

18 October 1904 France creates the protectorate of Haut-Sénégal-Niger.

Alban Berg (19) enrolls in a course in accounting at the University of Vienna.  He will need this certification to become a civil servant.

The Symphony no.5 of Gustav Mahler (44) is performed for the first time, in Gürzenich Concert Hall, Cologne, under the baton of the composer.  The audience response is mixed, the press is hostile.

20 October 1904 José Luciano de Castro Pereira Corte-Real replaces Ernesto Rodolfo Hintze Ribeiro as Prime Minister of Portugal.

21 October 1904 The Russian offensive against the Japanese in Manchuria ends after ten days.  They have achieved no objectives and lost 32,000 men.

An agent appointed by the United States government takes over the customs house in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.

22 October 1904 Over the night 21-22 October, Russian naval vessels on their way to the Far East fire on British fishing boats in the North Sea under the misapprehension that they are Japanese.  One trawler is sunk.  Three British and two Russians are killed.  Russia will pay compensation.

A ten-day conference of most of the Russian radical and revolutionary groups closes in Paris.

In London, Giacomo Puccini (45) writes an acceptance to a dinner invitation from Sybil Seligman, wife of a wealthy banker.  It is the first of 700 letters he will write to her.

Two works for piano-four hands by Max Reger (31) are performed for the first time, in Munich:  Five Picturesque Pieces op.34 and Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Beethoven op.86.  The composer plays one part in both works.

24 October 1904 The Piano Concerto in c minor by Frederick Delius (42) is performed for the first time, in the Elberfeld Stadthalle.  See 22 October 1907.

Two Vocal Duets for 2 voices, piano and string quartet ad.lib. by Ralph Vaughan Williams (32) are performed for the first time, in Reading Town Hall.

27 October 1904 A small section of subway opens in New York City with 28 stations between City Hall and 145th Street and Broadway.

String Quartet in a minor by Frederick S. Converse (33) is performed for the first time, at the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences.

3 November 1904 Voting takes place in Canada for the Tenth Parliament.  The Liberal Party of Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier makes small gains and retains its majority.

4 November 1904 The following report appears in Le Figaro :  “Mme D., a very pretty young woman, married to a very distinguished composer, acknowledged as the leader of the young school, and one whose opera had been much applauded recently in a subsidized theatre, tried to kill herself a few days ago...The disconsolate woman wanted to die when she became aware that her husband had been unfaithful to her.  The composer has not been reconciled, so it seems, to his young wife, and their impending divorce has been announced.  M.D. will be remarried to Mme B., the young divorced wife of a well-known financier.”  This makes the scandal public.

6 November 1904 Danses for harp and string orchestra by Claude Debussy (42), is performed for the first time, in Paris.

7 November 1904 Incidental music to Nathan’s play The Eternal Feminine by Horatio Parker (41), is performed for the first time, in New Haven, Connecticut.

8 November 1904 Voting in the United States ensures the reelection of President Theodore Roosevelt over Judge Alton B. Parker.  His Republican Party gains over 40 seats in the House of Representatives.

9 November 1904 Cathaleen-ni-Hoolihan for two violins and piano by Arnold Bax (21) is performed for the first time, privately, at the Bax family home in Hampstead, the composer at the keyboard.

10 November 1904 The Golden Bowl by Henry James is published by Charles Scribner’s Sons in New York.

Concerto for piano, chorus, and orchestra op.39 by Ferruccio Busoni (38) to words of Oehlenschlaeger is performed for the first time, in the Beethovensaal, Berlin.

A Dragonfly op.17/5, a song by Jean Sibelius (38) to words of Levertin, is performed for the first time, in Helsinki.

13 November 1904 During large street demonstrations in Warsaw against high taxation and food shortages, six people are killed and 27 injured.

Caprice andalous op. 122, for violin and orchestra by Camille Saint-Saëns (69), is performed for the first time, in the Salle Gaveau, Paris.

14 November 1904 Tantum ergo, for soprano, chorus and organ by Gabriel Fauré (59), is performed for the first time, at the Madeleine, Paris.

15 November 1904 King C. Gillette of Boston receives a US patent for the disposable safety razor.

16 November 1904 Norwegian Captain Carl Anton Larsen, working for the Argentine Fishing Company, establishes a whaling station at Grytviken on the British island of South Georgia.

20 November 1904 Escenas románticas for piano by Enrique Granados (37) is performed for the first time.

21 November 1904 Three songs from A Celtic Song Cycle for voice and piano by Arnold Bax (21) to words of MacLeod, are performed for the first time, in Queen’s Hall, London, the composer at the keyboard.  They are Eilidh my Fawn, Closing Doors and At the Last.  See 14 June 1907.

The Piano Quintet of Béla Bartók (23) is performed for the first time, in Ehrbar Hall, Vienna.

Several works by George Whitefield Chadwick (50) are performed for the first time, in Jordan Hall, Boston, conducted by the composer: Sinfonietta and Symphonic Sketches (movements 1-3), both for orchestra, and A Ballad of Trees and the Master for solo voice and orchestra to words of Lanier.

22 November 1904 Two songs for voice and piano by Arthur Farwell (32) are performed for the first time, in Pasadena, California:  A Ruined Garden op.14/1 to words of Marston and Requiescat to words of Heyman.

23 November 1904 The games of the Third Olympiad of the modern era close in St. Louis, Missouri, United States.  The competition, connected to the Louisiana Purchase Exhibition, took four months and 23 days and included 651 athletes from twelve nations.

The first concert of the Vereinigung Schaffender Tonkünstler in Wien takes place in Vienna, conducted by the group’s honorary president, Gustav Mahler (44).  It has been set up to mirror the Secession movement in visual arts.

24 November 1904 Novelletten for string quartet by Frank Bridge (25) is performed for the first time, at the Royal College of Music.

25 November 1904 Two works for piano, Scottish Legend and Gavotte fantastique op.54 by Amy Cheney Beach (37), are performed for the first time, in Boston.

26 November 1904 Edward Elgar (47) agrees to become Peyton Professor of Music at the University of Birmingham, a newly endowed chair.

27 November 1904 German forces defeat the Hottentots at Warmbad, South West Africa.

Carrie Lena Fambro Still marries a postal employee, Charles Shepperson, in Little Rock, Arkansas.  Shepperson becomes the stepfather of William Grant Still (9) and will introduce the boy to the arts, especially classical music.

29 November 1904 String Trio op.77b by Max Reger (31) is performed for the first time, in Munich.

1 December 1904 The Louisiana Purchase Exposition closes at St. Louis.

2 December 1904 My Brother is Abroad for male chorus by Jean Sibelius (38) to words of Aho is performed for the first time, in Helsinki.

In a concert in Bechstein Hall, London, several songs by Gustav Holst (30) are premiered.  They are Soft and Gently op.4/3 to words of Heine; In a Wood op.15/4 to words of Hardy; I Will Not Let Thee Go op.15/6 to words of Bridges; Cradle Song op.16/5 to words of Blake; and Peace op.16/6 to words of Hyatt.  The composer accompanies each at the piano.  In the same performance, two song cycles by Ralph Vaughan Williams (32), The House of Life, to words of D. Rossetti, and Songs of Travel, to words of Stevenson, along with Orpheus with His Lute, a song to words of Shakespeare, are all performed for the first time.  These are part of a concert of the works of Holst and Vaughan Williams which the latter produces at his own expense.

3 December 1904 American astronomer Charles Dillon Perrine discovers Himalia, a moon of Jupiter, at the Lick Observatory near San Jose, California.

6 December 1904 US President Roosevelt asserts that his country has a right to intervene in Latin American countries, if they are guilty of “chronic wrongdoing.”

Three songs for voice and piano by Frank Bridge (25) are performed for the first time, in Aeolian Hall, London:  A Dead Violet and A Dirge, both to words of Shelley, and Night Lies on the Silent Highways to words of Heine (tr. Kroeker).  Also premiered is Concert Piece for viola and piano by Arnold Bax (21), the composer at the keyboard.

8 December 1904 Due to international revulsion, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany is forced to countermand the order of his commander in South West Africa.  However, death camps have already been set up to enslave and kill Hereros.

10 December 1904 Among the recipients of the Glinka Prizes awarded today are Sergey Rakhmaninov (31) for his Second Piano Concerto and Alyeksandr Skyrabin (32) for his third and fourth Piano Sonatas.

Anti-Austrian Nikola Pasic replaces Sava Grujic as Prime Minister of Serbia.

Charles M. Schwab, lately of United States Steel, incorporates Bethlehem Steel.

11 December 1904 En mer, la nuit op.27, a symphonic poem by Charles Koechlin (37) is performed for the first time, in Théâtre du Chátelet, Paris.

The choral work Dream Tryst op.12/1 by Gustav Holst (30) to words of Thompson, is performed for the first time, in London, directed by the composer.  This is part of the first concert by the Settlement Choral Society under its new director, Gustav Holst.

12 December 1904 Arnold Schoenberg (30) writes to Gustav Mahler (44) in Vienna after hearing Mahler’s Symphony no.4.  “...I saw your very soul, naked, stark naked.  It was revealed to me as a stretch of wild and secret country, with eerie chasms and abysses neighbored by sunlit, smiling meadows, haunts of idyllic repose.  I felt it as an event of nature, which after scourging us with its terrors puts a rainbow in the sky....I shared in the battling for illusion; I suffered the pangs of disillusionment; I saw the forces of evil and good wrestling with each other; I saw a man in torment struggling towards inward harmony; I divined a personality, a drama, and truthfulness, the most uncompromising truthfulness.”

13 December 1904 The Japanese cruiser Takasago strikes a mine south of Port Arthur.  Her magazine explodes and she goes down in a blizzard with 273 of her crew.  162 are rescued by another Japanese ship.

The historical drama Der Roland von Berlin by Ruggero Leoncavallo (47) to his own words, after Alexis (tr. Droescher) is performed for the first time, at the Städtische Oper, Berlin.  The public likes it but the critics are unimpressed.

A musical prologue to Synge’s play Riders to the Sea by Henry F. Gilbert (36) is performed for the first time, in Jordan Hall, Boston.  See 22 August 1914.

14 December 1904 Three works by Max Reger (31) are performed for the first time, in Munich:  Serenade for flute, violin, and viola op.77a; Sonata for cello and piano no.3 op.78, the composer at the keyboard; and Variations and Fugue on a Theme of JS Bach op.81.

15 December 1904 The Soir d’été, the third movement of Le poème de la forêt op.7 for orchestra by Albert Roussel (35), is performed for the first time.  See 10 November 1907 and 22 March 1908.

16 December 1904 Marcelo de Azcárraga y Palmero replaces Antonio Maura y Montaner as Prime Minister of Spain.

26 December 1904 Béla Bartók (23) writes to his sister that he is determined to “collect the finest examples of Hungarian folksongs and raise them to the level of works of art with the best possible piano accompaniment.”

27 December 1904 The first production ever mounted in the Abbey Theatre, Dublin opens to the public.

Peter Pan; or, The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up by JM Barrie is performed for the first time, in London.

28 December 1904 Theodoros Pangaiou Diligiannis replaces Georgios Theotokis as Prime Minister of Greece.

30 December 1904 String Quartet no.3 op.74 by Max Reger (31) is performed for the first time, in Frankfurt.

©2004-2014 Paul Scharfenberger

16 September 2014

Last Updated (Tuesday, 16 September 2014 05:48)