On This Day
845 – Paris is sacked by Viking raiders, probably under Ragnar Lodbrok, who collects a huge ransom in exchange for leaving.
The siege of Paris of 845 AD was the culmination of a Viking invasion of France. The Viking forces were led by a Norse chieftain named “Reginherus”, or Ragnar, who tentatively has been identified with the legendary saga character Ragnar Lodbrok (Old Norse: “Ragnarr Loþbrók”, contemporary Icelandic: “Ragnar Loðbrók”). Ragnar’s fleet of 120 Viking ships, carrying thousands of men, entered the Seine in March and proceeded to sail up the river.
The Frankish king Charles the Bald assembled a smaller army in response but after the Vikings defeated one division, comprising half of the army, the remaining forces retreated. The Vikings reached Paris at the end of the month, during Easter. They plundered and occupied the city, then withdrew when they had been paid a ransom of 7,000 French livres [2,570 kilograms (83,000 ozt)] of silver and gold from Charles the Bald.
Born On This Day
1920 – Clarke Fraser, American-Canadian geneticist and academic (d. 2014)
Frank Clarke Fraser, OC FRSC (29 March 1920 – 17 December 2014) was a Canadian medical geneticist. Spanning the fields of science and medicine, he was Canada’s first medical geneticist, one of the creators of the discipline of medical genetics in North America, and laid the foundations in the field of Genetic Counselling, which has enhanced the lives of patients worldwide. Among his many accomplishments, Fraser pioneered work in the genetics of cleft palate and popularized the concept of multifactorial disease. Fraser is an iconic figure in Canadian medicine, as well as a biomedical pioneer, a fine teacher, and an outstanding scientist.
Krzysztof Eugeniusz Penderecki (Polish: [ˈkʂɨʂtɔf pɛndɛˈrɛt͡skʲi]; 23 November 1933 – 29 March 2020) was a Polish composer and conductor. In 2012, Sean Michaels called him “arguably Poland’s greatest living composer.” Among his best known works are Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima, Symphony No. 3, his St. Luke Passion, Polish Requiem, Anaklasis and Utrenja. Penderecki composed four operas, eight symphonies and other orchestral pieces, a variety of instrumental concertos, choral settings of mainly religious texts, as well as chamber and instrumental works.
Born in Dębica to a lawyer, Penderecki studied music at Jagiellonian University and the Academy of Music in Kraków. After graduating from the Academy of Music, Penderecki became a teacher at the academy and he began his career as a composer in 1959 during the Warsaw Autumn festival. His Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima for string orchestra and the choral work St. Luke Passion, have received popular acclaim. His first opera, The Devils of Loudun, was not immediately successful. Beginning in the mid-1970s, Penderecki’s composing style changed, with his first violin concerto focusing on the semitone and the tritone. His choral work Polish Requiem was written in the 1980s, with Penderecki expanding it in 1993 and 2005.
Penderecki has won many prestigious awards, including the Prix Italia in 1967 and 1968, four Grammy Awards in 1987, 1998 (twice), and 2017, Wolf Prize in Arts in 1987 and the University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition in 1992.
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