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A History of the Nineteenth Century, Year by Year

Spontini was intended for the priesthood


[Sidenote:

Death of Spontini]

[Sidenote: Spontini's career]

Gasparo Spontini, the celebrated Italian composer, died on January 24, at his birthplace in Ancona province. Born in 1774, Spontini was intended for the priesthood, but while still a lad ran away and took up music. A sympathetic uncle sent him to the musical conservatory at Naples, where he studied under Sala Tritto. Spontini began his career as a dramatic composer at the opening of the century while acting as orchestral conductor at Palermo. In 1800 he brought out three operas, and wrote others for Rome and Venice, so that by the time he went to Paris in 1803 he had sixteen operas to his credit. His study of Mozart's music served to bring about a complete change in his style. Thus his one-act opera "Milton," dedicated to Empress Josephine, may be regarded as the first of his truly original works. Empress Josephine appointed him her chamber composer, and secured a hearing for his new opera "The Vestal," produced at the Grand Opera. Napoleon awarded to him the prize for the best dramatic work of that year. In 1810, Spontini became the director of the Italian opera, and there staged Mozart's "Don Giovanni." Dismissed in 1812, on charges of financial irregularity, he was reappointed as court composer by Louis XVIII. His stage pieces in glorification of the Restoration only achieved a _succes d'estime_. He was glad to accept an appointment to Berlin as court composer

for Frederick William III. There he brought out "Lalla Rookh," "Alcidor," and "Agnes Hohenstauffen," none of which found currency in other cities. His overweening conduct gradually made his position at Berlin untenable. He was finally driven out by the hostile demonstrations of his audiences, and retired, in 1841, a broken man. After a few years spent in Paris he returned to Italy, where the Pope created him a count. Spontini returned to his birthplace of Magolati village only to die.

[Sidenote: Prussian events]

[Sidenote: Schleswig-Holstein again]

[Sidenote: Metternich returns]

[Sidenote: Bismarck]

[Sidenote: The Dreibund]

[Sidenote: Austrian-Turkish agreement]

In Germany, King William IV. at Berlin celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Prussian monarchy on January 18. A colossal statue of Frederick the Great was made for this occasion by the sculptor Christian Rauch. At the same time a further humiliation upon Prussia was inflicted by the military occupation of Schleswig-Holstein by Austria. The Austrian troops, who came to put a definite stop to hostilities in those provinces, marched into Schleswig-Holstein over a pontoon bridge laid by the retreating columns of the Prussians. As a concession to outraged German feeling, representatives from Schleswig-Holstein were to be readmitted to the Diet of the Germanic Confederation. This superannuated Diet met again


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