Édouard-Victoire-Antoine Lalo was a French composer. His most celebrated piece is his Symphonie espagnole, which consists of five movements and is a popular work in the standard repertoire for violin and orchestra. Lalo was born in northernmost France, he attended that city's conservatoire in his youth. Beginning at age 16, Lalo studied at the Paris Conservatoire under François Antoine Habeneck. Habeneck conducted student concerts at the Conservatoire from 1806 onwards and became the founding conductor of the Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire in 1828. For several years, Lalo worked as teacher in Paris. In 1848, he joined with friends to found the Armingaud Quartet, playing viola and second violin. Lalo's earliest surviving compositions are songs and chamber works. Julie Besnier de Maligny, a contralto from Brittany, became his bride in 1865, she aroused Lalo's early interest in opera and led him to compose works for the stage, of which Le Roi d'Ys is the most notable. These works were never popular.
This led Lalo to dedicate most of his career to the composition of chamber music, coming into vogue for the first time in France, works for orchestra. Although Lalo is not one of the most recognized names in French music, his distinctive style has earned him some degree of popularity. Symphonie espagnole for violin and orchestra still enjoys a prominent place in the repertoire of violinists, every now and Lalo's Cello Concerto in D minor is revived, his Symphony in G minor was a favorite of Sir Thomas Beecham and has been championed by conductors too. Lalo's idiom is notable for strong melodies and colourful orchestration, with a rather Germanic solidity that distinguishes him from other French composers of his era; such works as the Scherzo in D minor, one of Lalo's most colorful pieces, might be considered appropriate embodiments of his distinctive style and strong expressive bent. The aforementioned Le roi d'Ys, an opera based on the Breton legend of Ys, is Lalo's most complex and ambitious creation.
For many years Le Roi d'Ys was considered unperformable, it was not staged until 1888, when Lalo was 65 years old. Eight years earlier, he became a member of the Legion of Honour, he died in Paris in 1892, leaving several unfinished works, including his opera La jacquerie, completed by Arthur Coquard. He was interred at the Père Lachaise Cemetery. Lalo's son Pierre was a music critic who wrote for Le Temps and other French periodicals from 1898 until his death. In 1962, composer Maurice Jarre used a theme from Lalo's Piano Concerto for the exotic score to Lawrence of Arabia; the American science fiction television series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, makes reference to a "U. S. S. Lalo" in two different episodes, "We'll Always Have Paris" and "The Best of Both Worlds", though there is no particular reason to suppose this is a reference to the French composer. Part of his Cello Concerto in D minor was used in the second season of Mozart in the Jungle. Huebner, Steven. French Opera at the Fin de Siècle: Édouard Lalo, Wagnerian.
Oxford Univ. Press, US. pp. 231–254. ISBN 978-0-19-518954-4. Macdonald, Hugh, "Lalo, Edouard-Victoire-Antoine", in Stanley Sadie, The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, Vol. Two. London: Macmillan Publishers, Inc. ISBN 0-333-73432-7 ISBN 1-56159-228-5 Édouard Lalo at Encyclopædia Britannica Lalo Piano Trio Nos. 1-3 sound-bites and discussion of works Free scores by Édouard Lalo at the International Music Score Library Project The Mutopia Project has compositions by Édouard Lalo "Lalo, Edouard". Encyclopædia Britannica. 1911
Carmen is an opera in four acts by French composer Georges Bizet. The libretto was written by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy, based on a novella of the same title by Prosper Mérimée; the opera was first performed by the Opéra-Comique in Paris on 3 March 1875, where its breaking of conventions shocked and scandalized its first audiences. Bizet died after the 33rd performance, unaware that the work would achieve international acclaim within the following ten years. Carmen has since become one of the most popular and performed operas in the classical canon; the opera is written in the genre of opéra comique with musical numbers separated by dialogue. It is set in southern Spain and tells the story of the downfall of Don José, a naïve soldier, seduced by the wiles of the fiery gypsy Carmen. José abandons his childhood sweetheart and deserts from his military duties, yet loses Carmen's love to the glamorous torero Escamillo, after which José kills her in a jealous rage; the depictions of proletarian life and lawlessness, the tragic death of the main character on stage, broke new ground in French opera and were controversial.
After the premiere, most reviews were critical, the French public was indifferent. Carmen gained its reputation through a series of productions outside France, was not revived in Paris until 1883. Thereafter, it acquired popularity at home and abroad. Commentators have asserted that Carmen forms the bridge between the tradition of opéra comique and the realism or verismo that characterised late 19th-century Italian opera; the music of Carmen has since been acclaimed for brilliance of melody, harmony and orchestration, for the skill with which Bizet musically represented the emotions and suffering of his characters. After the composer's death, the score was subject to significant amendment, including the introduction of recitative in place of the original dialogue; the opera has been recorded many times since the first acoustical recording in 1908, the story has been the subject of many screen and stage adaptations. In the Paris of the 1860s, despite being a Prix de Rome laureate, Bizet struggled to get his stage works performed.
The capital's two main state-funded opera houses—the Opéra and the Opéra-Comique—followed conservative repertoires that restricted opportunities for young native talent. Bizet's professional relationship with Léon Carvalho, manager of the independent Théâtre Lyrique company, enabled him to bring to the stage two full-scale operas, Les pêcheurs de perles and La jolie fille de Perth, but neither enjoyed much public success; when artistic life in Paris resumed after the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71, Bizet found wider opportunities for the performance of his works. Although this failed and was withdrawn after 11 performances, it led to a further commission from the theatre, this time for a full-length opera for which Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy would provide the libretto. Halévy, who had written the text for Bizet's student opera Le docteur Miracle, was a cousin of Bizet's wife, Geneviève. Bizet was delighted with the Opéra-Comique commission, expressed to his friend Edmund Galabert his satisfaction in "the absolute certainty of having found my path".
The subject of the projected work was a matter of discussion between composer and the Opéra-Comique management. It was Bizet. Mérimée's story is a blend of travelogue and adventure yarn inspired by the writer's lengthy travels in Spain in 1830, had been published in 1845 in the journal Revue des deux Mondes, it may have been influenced in part by Alexander Pushkin's 1824 poem "The Gypsies", a work Mérimée had translated into French. Bizet may first have encountered the story during his Rome sojourn of 1858–60, since his journals record Mérimée as one of the writers whose works he absorbed in those years. Cast details are as provided by Mina Curtiss from vocal score; the stage designs are credited to Charles Ponchard. Place: Seville and surrounding hills Time: Around 1820 A square, in Seville. On the right, a door to the tobacco factory. At the back, a bridge. On the left, a guardhouse. A group of soldiers relaxes in the square, waiting for the changing of the guard and commenting on the passers-by.
Micaëla appears, seeking José. Moralès tells her that "José invites her to wait with them, she declines. José arrives with the new guard, greeted and imitated by a crowd of urchins; as the factory bell rings, the cigarette girls emerge and exchange banter with young men in the crowd. Carmen sings her provocative habanera on the untameable nature of love; the men plead with her to choose a lover, after some teasing she throws a flower to Don José, who thus far has been ignoring her but is now annoyed by her insolence. As the women go back to t
The violin, sometimes known as a fiddle, is a wooden string instrument in the violin family. Most violins have a hollow wooden body, it is highest-pitched instrument in the family in regular use. Smaller violin-type instruments exist, including the violino piccolo and the kit violin, but these are unused; the violin has four strings tuned in perfect fifths, is most played by drawing a bow across its strings, though it can be played by plucking the strings with the fingers and by striking the strings with the wooden side of the bow. Violins are important instruments in a wide variety of musical genres, they are most prominent in the Western classical tradition, both in ensembles and as solo instruments and in many varieties of folk music, including country music, bluegrass music and in jazz. Electric violins with solid bodies and piezoelectric pickups are used in some forms of rock music and jazz fusion, with the pickups plugged into instrument amplifiers and speakers to produce sound. Further, the violin has come to be played in many non-Western music cultures, including Indian music and Iranian music.
The name fiddle is used regardless of the type of music played on it. The violin was first known in 16th-century Italy, with some further modifications occurring in the 18th and 19th centuries to give the instrument a more powerful sound and projection. In Europe, it served as the basis for the development of other stringed instruments used in Western classical music, such as the viola. Violinists and collectors prize the fine historical instruments made by the Stradivari, Guarneri and Amati families from the 16th to the 18th century in Brescia and Cremona and by Jacob Stainer in Austria. According to their reputation, the quality of their sound has defied attempts to explain or equal it, though this belief is disputed. Great numbers of instruments have come from the hands of less famous makers, as well as still greater numbers of mass-produced commercial "trade violins" coming from cottage industries in places such as Saxony and Mirecourt. Many of these trade instruments were sold by Sears, Roebuck and Co. and other mass merchandisers.
The parts of a violin are made from different types of wood. Violins can be strung with Perlon or other synthetic, or steel strings. A person who makes or repairs violins is called a violinmaker. One who makes or repairs bows is called an bowmaker; the word "violin" was first used in English in the 1570s. The word "violin" comes from "Italian violino, diminutive of viola"; the term "viola" comes from the expression for "tenor violin" in 1797, from Italian viola, from Old Provençal viola, Medieval Latin vitula" as a term which means "stringed instrument," from Vitula, Roman goddess of joy... or from related Latin verb vitulari, "to exult, be joyful." The related term "Viola da gamba" means "bass viol" is from Italian "a viola for the leg"." A violin is the "modern form of the smaller, medieval viola da braccio." The violin is called a fiddle, either when used in a folk music context, or in Classical music scenes, as an informal nickname for the instrument. The word "fiddle" was first used in English in the late 14th century.
The word "fiddle" comes from "fedele, fidel, earlier fithele, from Old English fiðele "fiddle,", related to Old Norse fiðla, Middle Dutch vedele, Dutch vedel, Old High German fidula, German Fiedel, "a fiddle. As to the origin of the word "fiddle", the "...usual suggestion, based on resemblance in sound and sense, is that it is from Medieval Latin vitula." The earliest stringed instruments were plucked. Two-stringed, bowed instruments, played upright and strung and bowed with horsehair, may have originated in the nomadic equestrian cultures of Central Asia, in forms resembling the modern-day Mongolian Morin huur and the Kazakh Kobyz. Similar and variant types were disseminated along East-West trading routes from Asia into the Middle East, the Byzantine Empire; the direct ancestor of all European bowed instruments is the Arabic rebab, which developed into the Byzantine lyra by the 9th century and the European rebec. The first makers of violins borrowed from various developments of the Byzantine lyra.
These included the lira da braccio. The violin in its present form emerged in early 16th-century northern Italy; the earliest pictures of violins, albeit with three strings, are seen in northern Italy around 1530, at around the same time as the words "violino" and "vyollon" are seen in Italian and French documents. One of the earliest explicit descriptions of the instrument, including its tuning, is from the Epitome musical by Jambe de Fer, published in Lyon in 1556. By this time, the violin had begun to spread throughout Europe; the violin proved popular, both among street musicians and the nobility. One of these "noble" instruments, the Charles IX, is the oldest surviving violin; the finest Renaissance carved and decorated violin in the world is the Gasparo da Salò owned by Ferdinand II, Archduke of Austria and from 1841, by the Norwegian virtuoso Ole Bull, who used it for forty years and thousands of concerts, for i
Paris is the capital and most populous city of France, with an area of 105 square kilometres and an official estimated population of 2,140,526 residents as of 1 January 2019. Since the 17th century, Paris has been one of Europe's major centres of finance, commerce, fashion and the arts; the City of Paris is the centre and seat of government of the Île-de-France, or Paris Region, which has an estimated official 2019 population of 12,213,364, or about 18 percent of the population of France. The Paris Region had a GDP of €681 billion in 2016, accounting for 31 percent of the GDP of France, was the 5th largest region by GDP in the world. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit Worldwide Cost of Living Survey in 2018, Paris was the second most expensive city in the world, after Singapore, ahead of Zurich, Hong Kong and Geneva. Another source ranked Paris as most expensive, on a par with Singapore and Hong-Kong, in 2018; the city is a major rail and air-transport hub served by two international airports: Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Paris-Orly.
Opened in 1900, the city's subway system, the Paris Métro, serves 5.23 million passengers daily, is the second busiest metro system in Europe after Moscow Metro. Gare du Nord is the 24th busiest railway station in the world, the first located outside Japan, with 262 million passengers in 2015. Paris is known for its museums and architectural landmarks: the Louvre was the most visited art museum in the world in 2018, with 10.2 million visitors. The Musée d'Orsay and Musée de l'Orangerie are noted for their collections of French Impressionist art, the Pompidou Centre Musée National d'Art Moderne has the largest collection of modern and contemporary art in Europe; the historical district along the Seine in the city centre is classified as a UNESCO Heritage Site. Popular landmarks in the centre of the city include the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris and the Gothic royal chapel of Sainte-Chapelle, both on the Île de la Cité. Paris received 23 million visitors in 2017, measured by hotel stays, with the largest numbers of foreign visitors coming from the United States, the UK, Germany and China.
It was ranked as the third most visited travel destination in the world in 2017, after Bangkok and London. The football club Paris Saint-Germain and the rugby union club Stade Français are based in Paris; the 80,000-seat Stade de France, built for the 1998 FIFA World Cup, is located just north of Paris in the neighbouring commune of Saint-Denis. Paris hosts the annual French Open Grand Slam tennis tournament on the red clay of Roland Garros. Paris will host the 2024 Summer Olympics; the 1938 and 1998 FIFA World Cups, the 2007 Rugby World Cup, the 1960, 1984, 2016 UEFA European Championships were held in the city and, every July, the Tour de France bicycle race finishes there. The name "Paris" is derived from the Celtic Parisii tribe; the city's name is not related to the Paris of Greek mythology. Paris is referred to as the City of Light, both because of its leading role during the Age of Enlightenment and more because Paris was one of the first large European cities to use gas street lighting on a grand scale on its boulevards and monuments.
Gas lights were installed on the Place du Carousel, Rue de Rivoli and Place Vendome in 1829. By 1857, the Grand boulevards were lit. By the 1860s, the boulevards and streets of Paris were illuminated by 56,000 gas lamps. Since the late 19th century, Paris has been known as Panam in French slang. Inhabitants are known in French as Parisiens, they are pejoratively called Parigots. The Parisii, a sub-tribe of the Celtic Senones, inhabited the Paris area from around the middle of the 3rd century BC. One of the area's major north–south trade routes crossed the Seine on the île de la Cité; the Parisii minted their own coins for that purpose. The Romans began their settlement on Paris' Left Bank; the Roman town was called Lutetia. It became a prosperous city with a forum, temples, an amphitheatre. By the end of the Western Roman Empire, the town was known as Parisius, a Latin name that would become Paris in French. Christianity was introduced in the middle of the 3rd century AD by Saint Denis, the first Bishop of Paris: according to legend, when he refused to renounce his faith before the Roman occupiers, he was beheaded on the hill which became known as Mons Martyrum "Montmartre", from where he walked headless to the north of the city.
Clovis the Frank, the first king of the Merovingian dynasty, made the city his capital from 508. As the Frankish domination of Gaul began, there was a gradual immigration by the Franks to Paris and the Parisian Francien dialects were born. Fortification of the Île-de-la-Citie failed to avert sacking by Vikings in 845, but Paris' strategic importance—with its bridges prevent
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, was a Russian composer of the romantic period, whose works are among the most popular music in the classical repertoire. He was the first Russian composer whose music made a lasting impression internationally, bolstered by his appearances as a guest conductor in Europe and the United States, he was honored in 1884 by Emperor Alexander III, awarded a lifetime pension. Although musically precocious, Tchaikovsky was educated for a career as a civil servant. There was scant opportunity for a musical career in Russia at that time and no system of public music education; when an opportunity for such an education arose, he entered the nascent Saint Petersburg Conservatory, from which he graduated in 1865. The formal Western-oriented teaching he received there set him apart from composers of the contemporary nationalist movement embodied by the Russian composers of The Five, with whom his professional relationship was mixed. Tchaikovsky's training set him on a path to reconcile what he had learned with the native musical practices to which he had been exposed from childhood.
From this reconciliation he forged a personal but unmistakably Russian style—a task that did not prove easy. The principles that governed melody and other fundamentals of Russian music ran counter to those that governed Western European music. Russian culture exhibited a split personality, with its native and adopted elements having drifted apart since the time of Peter the Great; this resulted in uncertainty among the intelligentsia about the country's national identity—an ambiguity mirrored in Tchaikovsky's career. Despite his many popular successes, Tchaikovsky's life was punctuated by personal crises and depression. Contributory factors included his early separation from his mother for boarding school followed by his mother's early death, the death of his close friend and colleague Nikolai Rubinstein, the collapse of the one enduring relationship of his adult life, his 13-year association with the wealthy widow Nadezhda von Meck, his patron though they never met each other, his homosexuality, which he kept private, has traditionally been considered a major factor, though some musicologists now downplay its importance.
Tchaikovsky's sudden death at the age of 53 is ascribed to cholera. While his music has remained popular among audiences, critical opinions were mixed; some Russians did not feel it was sufficiently representative of native musical values and expressed suspicion that Europeans accepted the music for its Western elements. In an apparent reinforcement of the latter claim, some Europeans lauded Tchaikovsky for offering music more substantive than base exoticism and said he transcended stereotypes of Russian classical music. Others dismissed Tchaikovsky's music as "lacking in elevated thought," according to longtime New York Times music critic Harold C. Schonberg, derided its formal workings as deficient because they did not stringently follow Western principles. Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was born in Votkinsk, a small town in Vyatka Governorate in the Russian Empire, into a family with a long line of military service, his father, Ilya Petrovich Tchaikovsky, had served as a lieutenant colonel and engineer in the Department of Mines, would manage the Kamsko-Votkinsk Ironworks.
His grandfather, Pyotr Fedorovich Tchaikovsky, was born in the village of Mikolayivka, Poltava Gubernia, Russian Empire, served first as a physician's assistant in the army and as city governor of Glazov in Vyatka. His great-grandfather, a Ukrainian Cossack named Fyodor Chaika, distinguished himself under Peter the Great at the Battle of Poltava in 1709. Tchaikovsky's mother, Alexandra Andreyevna, was the second of Ilya's three wives, 18 years her husband's junior and French on her father's side. Both Ilya and Alexandra were trained in the arts, including music—a necessity as a posting to a remote area of Russia meant a need for entertainment, whether in private or at social gatherings. Of his six siblings, Tchaikovsky was close to his sister Alexandra and twin brothers Anatoly and Modest. Alexandra's marriage to Lev Davydov would produce seven children and lend Tchaikovsky the only real family life he would know as an adult during his years of wandering. One of those children, Vladimir Davydov, whom the composer would nickname'Bob', would become close to him.
In 1844, the family hired a 22-year-old French governess. Four-and-a-half-year-old Tchaikovsky was thought too young to study alongside his older brother Nikolai and a niece of the family, his insistence convinced Dürbach otherwise. By the age of six, he had become fluent in German. Tchaikovsky became attached to the young woman. Dürbach saved much of Tchaikovsky's work from this period, including his earliest known compositions, became a source of several childhood anecdotes. Tchaikovsky began piano lessons at age five. Precocious, within three years he had become as adept at reading sheet music as his te
Nadezhda von Meck
Nadezhda Filaretovna von Meck was a Russian business woman who became an influential patron of the arts music. She is best known today for her artistic relationship with Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, supporting him financially for thirteen years, so that he could devote himself full-time to composition, while stipulating that they were never to meet. Tchaikovsky dedicated his Symphony No. 4 in F minor to her. She gave financial support to several other musicians, including Nikolai Rubinstein and Claude Debussy. Nadezhda von Meck began life as Nadezhda Filaretovna Frolovskaya, in a family which owned great landed estates, her father, Filaret Frolovsky, embraced his love of music from an early age, while from her mother, Anastasia Dimitryevna Potemkina, she learned energy and business acumen. In her youth a serious student of music, Nadezhda became a capable pianist with a good knowledge of the classical repertoire, she mastered some foreign languages, learned to appreciate the visual arts, read in literature and philosophy the work of Arthur Schopenhauer and the Russian idealist Vladimir Solovyov.
At seventeen, Nadezhda was married to Karl Otto Georg von Meck, a 27-year-old engineer and the son of Major Otto Adam von Meck by his marriage to Wilhelmine Hafferberg – Baltic Germans from Riga. Together they had thirteen children; as a government official, Karl von Meck's life was uneventful, his work was poorly paid. With several children added to his responsibilities, however, he was reluctant to make a break with a steady post. Nadezhda von Meck saw things differently. To her, filling the roles of mother, governess, dressmaker and valet was far easier to bear than the humiliation of seeing her husband as a cog in the machine of a government organization. Neither did fulfilling all those domestic duties lower her resolve or weaken her energy in urging him to make a break. Russia short of railways, was expanding its communications network and Nadezhda was far-sighted enough to see that a future for her husband lay there, she continually exerted pressure on him to find a partner with capital and to join the boom in Russian railway construction.
Meck gave in to his wife's urgings and resigned from the civil service, at which point they had an income of only twenty kopecks a day on which to live. Nadezhda was right, though, to trust her husband's talent as an engineer. In 1860, there were only 100 miles of railroad track laid in Russia. Twenty years there were over 15,000 miles of lines. Much of this explosion was due to Karl von Meck, his investments made him a multi-millionaire; the railway lines for which he was responsible included that from Kursk to Kiev and the profitable Moscow to Ryazan line, with its effective monopoly of grain transportation from the Black Earth Region of Central Russia. In 1876, Karl von Meck died leaving a will which gave Nadezhda control of his vast financial holdings; this included two railway networks, large landed estates, several million rubles in investments. With seven of their eleven children still at home, Nadezhda von Meck concentrated on her business affairs and on the education of the children still dependent on her.
She sold one of Meck's railway companies and ran the other one with the help of her brother and her eldest son, Vladimir. After the death of her husband, Nadezhda von Meck took no part in social life, withdrawing into complete seclusion, she refused to meet the relatives of those whom her children were going to marry, she never attended any of their weddings. By all accounts, Nadezhda von Meck was imperious by nature, presiding over her household despotically, she expected to have her own way, so surrounded herself only with people who would give it to her, she ruled her children's lives in every detail. As they grew into adulthood, she arranged their marriages, bought houses for them, chose furniture for their houses; when she wanted to see her married children, she summoned. Understandably, her children were not always grateful for the extreme degree of their mother's care. Nadezhda von Meck was always compulsively busy, she took her elder servants on periodic inspection tours of her house, from cellar to roof, cellar to roof never remained quite the same.
String was saved for her to wind. Books were bought, she purchased quantities of wool, which she wound into balls and sent to her daughter, Countess Bennigsen. While engaging in this business, she would summon her daughter Julia to read to her. Julia did not mind. Of all the Meck children, she was the one most eager to please her mother, who demanded everything from her—and got it. Meck was well aware that she was hard to tolerate, she wrote to Tchaikovsky, "I am unsympathetic in my personal relations because I do not possess any femininity whatever. All of us are afraid to be affected or sentimental, therefore the general nature of our family relationships is comradely, or masculine, so to speak." Nadezhda von Meck was a professed atheist, not unusual in aristocratic Russia in the 1870s. Her fierce need for independence, on the other hand, was unusual for a woman of the time, her division between that and concern for her family resulted in contradictions between her beliefs and actions. Her views on affairs of the heart were moral, but she did not believe in marria
Berlin is the capital and largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,748,148 inhabitants make it the second most populous city proper of the European Union after London; the city is one of Germany's 16 federal states. It is surrounded by the state of Brandenburg, contiguous with its capital, Potsdam; the two cities are at the center of the Berlin-Brandenburg capital region, which is, with about six million inhabitants and an area of more than 30,000 km², Germany's third-largest metropolitan region after the Rhine-Ruhr and Rhine-Main regions. Berlin straddles the banks of the River Spree, which flows into the River Havel in the western borough of Spandau. Among the city's main topographical features are the many lakes in the western and southeastern boroughs formed by the Spree and Dahme rivers. Due to its location in the European Plain, Berlin is influenced by a temperate seasonal climate. About one-third of the city's area is composed of forests, gardens, rivers and lakes; the city lies in the Central German dialect area, the Berlin dialect being a variant of the Lusatian-New Marchian dialects.
First documented in the 13th century and situated at the crossing of two important historic trade routes, Berlin became the capital of the Margraviate of Brandenburg, the Kingdom of Prussia, the German Empire, the Weimar Republic, the Third Reich. Berlin in the 1920s was the third largest municipality in the world. After World War II and its subsequent occupation by the victorious countries, the city was divided. East Berlin was declared capital of East Germany. Following German reunification in 1990, Berlin once again became the capital of all of Germany. Berlin is a world city of culture, politics and science, its economy is based on high-tech firms and the service sector, encompassing a diverse range of creative industries, research facilities, media corporations and convention venues. Berlin serves as a continental hub for air and rail traffic and has a complex public transportation network; the metropolis is a popular tourist destination. Significant industries include IT, biomedical engineering, clean tech, biotechnology and electronics.
Berlin is home to world-renowned universities, orchestras and entertainment venues, is host to many sporting events. Its Zoological Garden is one of the most popular worldwide. With the world's oldest large-scale movie studio complex, Berlin is an popular location for international film productions; the city is well known for its festivals, diverse architecture, contemporary arts and a high quality of living. Since the 2000s Berlin has seen the emergence of a cosmopolitan entrepreneurial scene. Berlin lies in northeastern Germany, east of the River Saale, that once constituted, together with the River Elbe, the eastern border of the Frankish Realm. While the Frankish Realm was inhabited by Germanic tribes like the Franks and the Saxons, the regions east of the border rivers were inhabited by Slavic tribes; this is why most of the villages in northeastern Germany bear Slavic-derived names. Typical Germanised place name suffixes of Slavic origin are -ow, -itz, -vitz, -witz, -itzsch and -in, prefixes are Windisch and Wendisch.
The name Berlin has its roots in the language of West Slavic inhabitants of the area of today's Berlin, may be related to the Old Polabian stem berl-/birl-. Since the Ber- at the beginning sounds like the German word Bär, a bear appears in the coat of arms of the city, it is therefore a canting arm. Of Berlin's twelve boroughs, five bear a Slavic-derived name: Pankow, Steglitz-Zehlendorf, Marzahn-Hellersdorf, Treptow-Köpenick and Spandau. Of its ninety-six neighborhoods, twenty-two bear a Slavic-derived name: Altglienicke, Alt-Treptow, Buch, Gatow, Kladow, Köpenick, Lankwitz, Lübars, Marzahn, Prenzlauer Berg, Schmöckwitz, Stadtrandsiedlung Malchow, Steglitz and Zehlendorf; the neighborhood of Moabit bears a French-derived name, Französisch Buchholz is named after the Huguenots. The earliest evidence of settlements in the area of today's Berlin are a wooden beam dated from 1192, remnants of a house foundation dated to 1174, found in excavations in Berlin Mitte; the first written records of towns in the area of present-day Berlin date from the late 12th century.
Spandau is first mentioned in 1197 and Köpenick in 1209, although these areas did not join Berlin until 1920. The central part of Berlin can be traced back to two towns. Cölln on the Fischerinsel is first mentioned in a 1237 document, Berlin, across the Spree in what is now called the Nikolaiviertel, is referenced in a document from 1244. 1237 is considered the founding date of the city. The two towns over time formed close economic and social ties, profited from the staple right on the two important trade routes Via Imperii and from Bruges to Novgorod. In 1307, they formed an alliance with a common external policy, their internal administrations still being separated. In 1415, Frederick I became the elector of the Margraviate of Brandenburg, which he ruled until 1440. During the 15th century, his successors established Berlin-Cölln as capital of the margraviate, subsequent members of the Hohenzol