Feodor Ivanovich Chaliapin was a Russian opera singer. Possessing a deep and expressive bass voice, he enjoyed an important international career at major opera houses and is credited with establishing the tradition of naturalistic acting in his chosen art form. During the first phase of his career, Chaliapin endured direct competition from three other great basses: the powerful Lev Sibiriakov, the more lyrical Vladimir Kastorsky, Dmitri Buchtoyarov, whose voice was intermediate between those of Sibiriakov and Kastorsky; the fact that Chaliapin is far and away the best remembered of this magnificent quartet of rival basses is a testament to the power of his personality, the acuteness of his musical interpretations, the vividness of his performances. He himself spelled his surname, French-style, Chaliapine in the West, his name appeared on early HMV 78s as Theodore Chaliapine. In English texts, his given name is most rendered as Feodor or Fyodor, his surname is most seen as Chaliapin. However, in the Russian pronunciation the initial consonant Ш is pronounced like sh in shop, not as ch in chop, in reference books the surname is sometimes given a strict romanization as Shalyapin.
This spelling better reflects the fact that the name is pronounced with three syllables, not four. Feodor Chaliapin was born into a peasant family on February 1, 1873 in Kazan, in the wing of merchant Lisitzin's house on Rybnoryadskaya Street 10; this wing no longer exists. The next day, Candlemas, he was baptized in Epiphany Church on Bolshaya Prolomnaya street, his godparents were his neighbors: the shoemaker Nikolay Tonkov and Ludmila Kharitonova, a 12-year-old girl. The dwelling was expensive for his father, Ivan Yakovlevich, who served as a clerk in the Zemskaya Uprava, in 1878 the Chaliapin family moved to the village of Ametyevo behind the area of Sukonnaya Sloboda, settled in a small house, his vocal teacher was Dmitri Usatov. Chaliapin began his career at Tbilisi and the Imperial Opera, St. Petersburg in 1894, he was invited to sing at the Mamontov Private Opera. At Mamontov he met Sergei Rachmaninoff, serving as an assistant conductor there and with whom he remained friends for life. Rachmaninoff taught him much about musicianship, including how to analyze a music score, insisted that Chaliapin learn not only his own roles but all the other roles in the operas in which he was scheduled to appear.
With Rachmaninoff he learned the title role of Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov, which became his signature character. Chaliapin returned the favor by showing Rachmaninoff how he built each of his interpretations around a culminating moment or "point." Regardless of where that point was or at which dynamic within that piece, the performer had to know how to approach it with absolute calculation and precision. Rachmaninoff put this approach to considerable use when he became a full-time concert pianist after World War I. On the strength of his Mamontov appearances, the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow engaged Chaliapin, where he appeared from 1899 until 1914. During the First World War, Chaliapin appeared at the Zimin Private Opera in Moscow. In addition, from 1901, Chaliapin began touring in the West, making a sensational debut at La Scala that year as the devil in a production of Boito's Mefistofele, under the baton of one of the 20th century's most dynamic opera conductors, Arturo Toscanini. At the end of his career, Toscanini observed that the Russian bass was the greatest operatic talent with whom he had worked.
The singer's Metropolitan Opera debut in the 1907 season was disappointing due to the unprecedented frankness of his stage acting. In 1913, Chaliapin was introduced to London and Paris by the brilliant entrepreneur Sergei Diaghilev, at which point he began giving well-received solo recitals in which he sang traditional Russian folk songs as well as more serious fare. Among these folk songs were Along Peterskaya, which he recorded with a British-based Russian folk-instrument orchestra, the song which he made famous throughout the world: The Song of the Volga Boatmen. In 1925, while performing in New York, his piano accompanist was a young Harry Lubin to become a composer of music for the television series The Outer Limits. Chaliapin toured Australia in 1926, giving a series of recitals which were acclaimed. Chaliapin's personal affairs were in a state of disarray as a consequence of the Russian Revolution of 1917. At first he was treated as a revered artist of the newly emerged Soviet Russia.
However, the harsh realities of everyday life under the new regime, the unstable climate which followed because of the ensuing Civil War, combined with the encroachment on some of his property by the Communist authorities, caused him to remain perpetually outside Russia after 1921. He still maintained, that he was not anti-Soviet. Chaliapin moved to Finland and lived in France. Cosmopolitan Paris, with its significant
SpongeBob SquarePants is an American animated television series created by marine science educator and animator Stephen Hillenburg for Nickelodeon. The series chronicles the adventures and endeavors of the title character and his various friends in the fictional underwater city of Bikini Bottom; the series' popularity has made it a media franchise, as well as the highest rated series to air on Nickelodeon, the most distributed property of MTV Networks. As of late 2017, the media franchise has generated $13 billion in merchandising revenue for Nickelodeon. Many of the ideas for the series originated in an unpublished educational comic book titled The Intertidal Zone, which Hillenburg created in 1989, he began developing SpongeBob SquarePants into a television series in 1996 upon the cancellation of Rocko's Modern Life, turned to Tom Kenny, who had worked with him on that series, to voice the title character. SpongeBob was going to be named SpongeBoy, the series was to be called SpongeBoy Ahoy!, but both of these were changed, as the name was trademarked.
Nickelodeon held a preview for the series in the United States on May 1, 1999, following the television airing of the 1999 Kids' Choice Awards. The series premiered on July 17, 1999, it has received worldwide critical acclaim since its premiere and gained enormous popularity by its second season. A feature film, The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, was released in theaters on November 19, 2004, a sequel was released on February 6, 2015. In 2018, the series began airing its twelfth season; the series has won a variety of awards, including six Annie Awards, eight Golden Reel Awards, four Emmy Awards, 16 Kids' Choice Awards, two BAFTA Children's Awards. Despite its widespread popularity, the series has been involved in several public controversies, including one centered on speculation over SpongeBob's intended sexual orientation. In 2011, a newly described species of fungus, Spongiforma squarepantsii, was named after the cartoon's title character. A Broadway musical based on the series opened in 2017 to critical acclaim.
On February 14, 2019, it was announced. The series takes place in the benthic underwater city of Bikini Bottom, located in the Pacific Ocean beneath the real-life coral reef known as Bikini Atoll. In 2015, Tom Kenny confirmed that the fictitious city was named after Bikini Atoll, but denied an Internet fan theory that connected the series' characters to actual nuclear testing that occurred in the atoll; the citizens are multicolored fish who live in buildings made from ship funnels and use "boatmobiles," amalgamations of cars and boats, as a mode of transportation. Recurring locations within Bikini Bottom include the neighboring houses of SpongeBob and Squidward; when the SpongeBob crew began production on the series' pilot episode, they were tasked with designing the stock locations where "the show would return to again and again, in which most of the action would take place, such as the Krusty Krab and SpongeBob's pineapple house". The idea for the series was "to keep everything nautical", so the crew used a great amount of rope, wooden planks, ships' wheels, anchors and rivets in creating the show's setting.
Transitions between scenes are marked by bubbles filling up the screen, accompanied by the sound of water rushing. The series features "sky flowers" as a main setting material, they first have since become a common feature throughout the series. When series background designer Kenny Pittenger was asked what they were, he answered, "They function as clouds in a way, but since the show takes place underwater, they aren't clouds; because of the tiki influence on the show, the background painters use a lot of pattern." Pittenger said that the sky flowers were meant to "evoke the look of a flower-print Hawaiian shirt". The series revolves around an ensemble cast of his aquatic friends. SpongeBob SquarePants is an energetic and optimistic sea sponge who physically resembles a rectangular kitchen sponge, he lives in a submerged pineapple with his pet snail Gary. SpongeBob has a childlike enthusiasm for life, which carries over to his job as a fry cook at a fast food restaurant called the Krusty Krab, his greatest goal in life is to receive a license to drive a boatmobile.
His favorite pastimes include "jellyfishing," which involves catching jellyfish with a net in a manner similar to butterfly catching, blowing soap bubbles into elaborate shapes. Living two houses down from SpongeBob is his best friend Patrick Star, a dim-witted yet friendly pink starfish who resides under a rock. Despite his mental setbacks, Patrick still sees himself as intelligent. Squidward Tentacles, SpongeBob's next-door neighbor and co-worker at the Krusty Krab, is an arrogant and ill-tempered octopus who lives in an Easter Island moai, he enjoys playing the clarinet and painting self-portraits, but hates his job as a cashier and dislikes living between SpongeBob and Patrick, due to their childish nature. The owner of the Krusty Krab is a miserly red crab named Mr. Krabs who talks like a sailor and runs his restaurant as if it were a pirate ship. Mr. Krabs is a single parent with one teenage daughter, a sperm whale named Pearl, to whom he wants to pass down his riches. Pearl does not want to continue the family business and would rather spend her time
Peter Schickele is an American composer, musical educator, parodist, best known for comedy albums featuring his music, but which he presents as being composed by the fictional P. D. Q. Bach, he hosted a long-running weekly radio program called Schickele Mix. From 1990 to 1993, Schickele's P. D. Q. Bach recordings earned him four consecutive wins for the Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album. Schickele was born in Iowa, to Alsatian immigrant parents, his father, Rainer Schickele, son of the writer René Schickele, was an agricultural economist teaching at Iowa State University. In 1945, Schickele's father took a position at George Washington University in Washington, D. C.. In Fargo, Schickele studied composition with Sigvald Thompson, he attended Fargo Central High School, graduating in 1952. He attended Swarthmore College, graduating in 1957 with a degree in music, he was a contemporary of Ted Nelson at Swarthmore, he scored Nelson's experimental film, The Epiphany of Slocum Furlow. It was his first film score.
He graduated from the Juilliard School with a master's degree in musical composition. Schickele wrote music for a number of folk musicians, most notably Joan Baez, for whom he orchestrated and arranged three albums during the mid-1960s, Noël, Baptism. Schickele, an accomplished bassoonist, was a member of the chamber rock trio The Open Window, which wrote and performed music for the 1969 revue Oh! Calcutta! and released three albums. The humorous aspect of Schickele's musical career came from his early interest in the music of Spike Jones, whose musical ensemble lampooned popular music in the 1940s and 1950s. While at Juilliard, Schickele teamed with conductor Jorge Mester to present a humorous concert, which became an annual event at the college. In 1965, Schickele invited the public to attend. Bach" was launched. By 1972, the concerts had become so popular that they were moved to Avery Fisher Hall at the Lincoln Center. Besides composing music under his own name, Schickele has developed an elaborate parodic persona built around his studies of the fictional "youngest and the oddest of the twenty-odd children" of Johann Sebastian Bach, P.
D. Q. Bach. Among the fictional composer's "forgotten" repertory "uncovered" by Schickele are such farcical works as The Abduction of Figaro, Canine Cantata: "Wachet Arf!", Good King Kong Looked Out, the Trite Quintet, "O Little Town of Hackensack", A Little Nightmare Music, the cantata Iphigenia in Brooklyn, the Concerto for Horn and Hardart, The Art of The Ground Round, Blaues Grasse, best known of all, the dramatic oratorio, Oedipus Tex, featuring the "O. K. Chorale". Though P. D. Q. Bach is ostensibly a Baroque composer, Schickele extends his repertoire to parody much more modern works such as Einstein on the Fritz, a parody of his Juilliard classmate Philip Glass, his fictitious "home establishment", where he reports having tenure as "Very Full Professor Peter Schickele" of "musicolology" and "musical pathology", is the "University of Southern North Dakota at Hoople", described as "a little-known institution which does not welcome out-of-state visitors". To illustrate the work of his uncovered composer, Schickele invented a range of rather unusual instruments.
The most complicated of these is the Hardart, a variety of tone-generating devices mounted on the frame of an "automat", a coin-operated food dispenser. The modified automat is used in the Concerto for Horn and Hardart, a play on the name of proprietors Horn & Hardart, who pioneered the North American use of the automat in their restaurants. Schickele invented the "dill piccolo" for playing sour notes, the "left-handed sewer flute", the "tromboon", the "lasso d'amore", the double-reed slide music stand, which he described as having "a range of major third and less expressiveness," the "tuba mirum", a flexible tube filled with wine, the "pastaphone", an uncooked tube of manicotti pasta played as a horn. Further invented instruments of his include the "pumpflute" and the "proctophone"; the überklavier or super piano, with a 15 octave keyboard ranging from sounds which only dogs can hear down to sounds which only whales can make, was invented in 1797 by Klarck Känt, a Munich piano-maker who demonstrated the instrument for P.
D. Q. A sample of a piece written for the überklavier, The Trance and Dental Etudes appeared in P. D. Q.'s unauthorized autobiography, published in 1976. P. D. Q's Pervertimento for Bagpipes and Balloons demonstrated the inherent musical qualities of everyday objects in ways not agreeable to all who listen to them. To some degree, Schickele's music as P. D. Q. Bach has overshadowed his work as a "serious" composer. During the 1970s and early 1980s, performances by Schickele of the music of P. D. Q. Bach featured guest appearances by the Swarthmore College Choir advertised as "fresh from their recent tour of Swarthmore, Pennsylvania". Schickele performed two concerts to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his first concert at The Town Hall in Ne
Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin was a Soviet and Russian politician and the first President of the Russian Federation, serving from 1991 to 1999. A supporter of Mikhail Gorbachev, Yeltsin emerged under the perestroika reforms as one of Gorbachev's most powerful political opponents. During the late 1980s, Yeltsin had been a candidate member of the Politburo, in late 1987 tendered a letter of resignation in protest, making him the first Politburo member to resign; this act branded Yeltsin as a rebel and led to his rise in popularity as an anti-establishment figure. On 29 May 1990, he was elected the chairman of the Russian Supreme Soviet. On 12 June 1991 he was elected by popular vote to the newly created post of President of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Upon the resignation of Mikhail Gorbachev and the dissolution of the Soviet Union on 25 December 1991, the RSFSR became the sovereign state of the Russian Federation, Yeltsin remained in office as president, he was reelected in the 1996 election, in which critics claimed pervasive corruption.
Yeltsin transformed Russia's socialist economy into a capitalist market economy, implementing economic shock therapy, market exchange rate of the ruble, nationwide privatization and lifting of price controls. Yeltsin proposed a new Russian constitution, popularly approved at the 1993 constitutional referendum. Rather than creating new enterprises, Yeltsin's policies led to international monopolies hijacking the former Soviet markets, arbitraging the huge difference between old domestic prices for Russian commodities and the prices prevailing on the world market. In the foreign policy Yeltsin offered cooperative and conciliatory relations with the Group of Seven, CIS and OSCE, as well as adherence to arms control agreements, such as START II. Much of the Yeltsin era was marked by widespread corruption, as a result of persistent low oil and commodity prices during the 1990s, Russia suffered inflation and economic collapse. Within a few years of his presidency, many of Yeltsin's initial supporters had started to criticize his leadership, Vice President Alexander Rutskoy denounced the reforms as "economic genocide".
Ongoing confrontations with the Supreme Soviet climaxed in the 1993 Russian constitutional crisis in which Yeltsin ordered the unconstitutional dissolution of the Supreme Soviet parliament, which as a result attempted to remove him from office. In October 1993, troops loyal to Yeltsin stopped an armed uprising outside of the parliament building, leading to a number of deaths. Boris Yeltsin visited Poland in 1993 and apologized to Poles for the Katyn massacre, a war crime committed by Stalin in 1940. On 31 December 1999, under enormous internal pressure, Yeltsin announced his resignation, leaving the presidency in the hands of his chosen successor, then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Yeltsin left office unpopular with the Russian population. Yeltsin kept a low profile after his resignation, though he did criticise his successor publicly. Yeltsin died of congestive heart failure on 23 April 2007. Boris Yeltsin was born in the village of Butka, Talitsky District, Sverdlovsk, USSR, on 1 February 1931.
In 1932, after the state took away the entire harvest from the collectivised Butka peasants, the Yeltsin family moved as far away as they could, to Kazan, more than 1,100 kilometres from Butka, where Boris' father, found work on a building site. Growing up in rural Sverdlovsk, he studied at the Ural State Technical University, began his career in the construction industry. In 1934, Nikolai Yeltsin was convicted of anti-Soviet agitation and sentenced to hard labour in a gulag for three years. Following his release in 1936 after serving two years, Nikolai took his family to live in Berezniki in Perm Krai, where his brother Ivan, a blacksmith, had been exiled the previous year for failing to deliver his grain quota. Nikolai remained unemployed for a period of time and worked again in construction, his mother, Klavdiya Vasilyevna Yeltsina, worked as a seamstress. Boris studied at Pushkin High School in Berezniki, he was fond of sports despite losing the thumb and index finger of his left hand when he and some friends furtively entered a Red Army supply depot, stole several grenades, tried to disassemble them.
In 1949, he was admitted to the Ural Polytechnic Institute in Yekaterinburg, majoring in construction, he graduated in 1955. The subject of his degree paper was "Construction of a Mine Shaft". From 1955 to 1957 he worked as a foreman with the building trust Uraltyazhtrubstroy. From 1957 to 1963, he worked in Sverdlovsk, was promoted from construction site superintendent to chief of the Construction Directorate with the Yuzhgorstroy Trust. In 1963, he became chief engineer, in 1965, head of the Sverdlovsk House-Building Combine, responsible for sewerage and technical plumbing, he joined the ranks of the CPSU nomenklatura in 1968 when he was appointed head of construction with the Sverdlovsk Regional Party Committee. In 1975, he became secretary of the regional committee in charge of the region's industrial development. In 1976, the Politburo of the CPSU promoted him to the post of the First Secr
Alexander Konstantinovich Glazunov was a Russian composer, music teacher, conductor of the late Russian Romantic period. He served as director of the Saint Petersburg Conservatory between 1905 and 1928 and was instrumental in the reorganization of the institute into the Petrograd Conservatory the Leningrad Conservatory, following the Bolshevik Revolution, he continued heading the Conservatory until 1930, though he had left the Soviet Union in 1928 and did not return. The best-known student under his tenure during the early Soviet years was Dmitri Shostakovich. Glazunov was significant in that he reconciled nationalism and cosmopolitanism in Russian music. While he was the direct successor to Balakirev's nationalism, he tended more towards Borodin's epic grandeur while absorbing a number of other influences; these included Rimsky-Korsakov's orchestral virtuosity, Tchaikovsky's lyricism and Taneyev's contrapuntal skill. Younger composers such as Prokofiev and Shostakovich considered his music old-fashioned, while admitting he remained a composer with an imposing reputation, a stabilizing influence in a time of transition and turmoil.
Glazunov was born in the son of a wealthy publisher. He began studying piano at the age of nine and began composing at 11. Mily Balakirev, former leader of the nationalist group "The Five", recognized Glazunov's talent and brought his work to the attention of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. "Casually Balakirev once brought me the composition of a fourteen- or fifteen-year-old high-school student, Alexander Glazunov", Rimsky-Korsakov remembered. "It was an orchestral score written in childish fashion. The boy's talent was indubitably clear." Balakirev introduced him to Rimsky-Korsakov shortly afterwards, in December 1879. Rimsky-Korsakov premiered this work in 1882, when Glazunov was 16. Borodin and Stasov, among others, lavishly praised both its composer. Rimsky-Korsakov taught Glazunov as a private student. "His musical development progressed not by the day, but by the hour", Rimsky-Korsakov wrote. The nature of their relationship changed. By the spring of 1881, Rimsky-Korsakov considered Glazunov more of a junior colleague than a student.
While part of this development may have been from Rimsky-Korsakov's need to find a spiritual replacement for Modest Mussorgsky, who had died that March, it may have been from observing his progress on the first of Glazunov's eight completed symphonies. More important than this praise was that among the work's admirers was a wealthy timber merchant and amateur musician, Mitrofan Belyayev. Belyayev was introduced to Glazunov's music by Anatoly Lyadov and would take a keen interest in the teenager's musical future extend that interest to an entire group of nationalist composers. Belyayev took Glazunov on a trip to Western Europe in 1884. Glazunov met Liszt in Weimar. In 1884, Belyayev rented out a hall and hired an orchestra to play Glazunov's First Symphony plus an orchestral suite Glazunov had just composed. Buoyed by the success of the rehearsal, Belyayev decided the following season to give a public concert of works by Glazunov and other composers; this project grew into the Russian Symphony Concerts, which were inaugurated during the 1886–1887 season.
In 1885 Belyayev started his own publishing house in Leipzig, Germany publishing music by Glazunov, Rimsky-Korsakov and Borodin at his own expense. Young composers started appealing for his help. To help select from their offerings, Belyayev asked Glazunov to serve with Rimsky-Korsakov and Lyadov on an advisory council; the group of composers that formed became known at the Belyayev Circle. Glazunov soon enjoyed international acclaim, he emerged from a creative crisis in 1890–1891 with a new maturity. During the 1890s he wrote two string quartets and a ballet; when he was elected director of the Saint Petersburg Conservatory in 1905, he was at the height of his creative powers. His best works from this period are considered his Violin Concerto; this was the time of his greatest international acclaim. He conducted the last of the Russian Historical Concerts in Paris on 17 May 1907, received honorary Doctor of Music degrees from the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. There were cycles of all-Glazunov concerts in Saint Petersburg and Moscow to celebrate his 25th anniversary as a composer.
Glazunov made his conducting debut in 1888. The following year, he conducted his Second Symphony in Paris at the World Exhibition, he was appointed conductor for the Russian Symphony Concerts in 1896. In March of that year he conducted the posthumous premiere of Tchaikovsky's student overture The Storm. In 1897, he led the disastrous premiere of Rachmaninoff's Symphony No 1; this catalysed Rachmaninoff's three year depression. The composer's wife claimed that Glazunov seemed to be drunk at the time. While this assertion cannot be confirmed, it is not implausible for a man who, according to Shostakovich, kept a bottle of alcohol hidden behind his desk and sipped it through a tube during lessons. Drunk or not, Glazunov had insufficient rehearsal time with the symphony and, while he loved the art of conducting, he never mastered it. From time to time he conducted his own compositions the ballet Raymonda though he may have known he had no talent for it, he would sometimes joke, "You can criticize my compositions, but you can't deny that I am a good conductor and a remarkable conservatory Director".
Despite the hardships he suffered during World War I and the ensuing Russian Civil War, Glazunov remained active as a conduc
Dissolution of the Soviet Union
The dissolution of the Soviet Union occurred on 26 December 1991 granting self-governing independence to the Republics of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. It was a result of the declaration number 142-Н of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union; the declaration acknowledged the independence of the former Soviet republics and created the Commonwealth of Independent States, although five of the signatories ratified it much or did not do so at all. On the previous day, 25 December, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, the eighth and final leader of the USSR, declared his office extinct and handed over its powers—including control of the Soviet nuclear missile launching codes—to Russian President Boris Yeltsin; that evening at 7:32 p.m. the Soviet flag was lowered from the Kremlin for the last time and replaced with the pre-revolutionary Russian flag. From August to December all the individual republics, including Russia itself, had either seceded from the union or at the least denounced the Treaty on the Creation of the USSR.
The week before formal dissolution, eleven republics signed the Alma-Ata Protocol formally establishing the CIS and declaring that the USSR had ceased to exist. Both the Revolutions of 1989 and the dissolution of the USSR marked the end of the Cold War. Several of the former Soviet republics have retained close links with the Russian Federation and formed multilateral organizations such as the Commonwealth of Independent States, Eurasian Economic Community, the Union State, the Eurasian Customs Union and the Eurasian Economic Union to enhance economic and security cooperation. On the other hand, the Baltic states have joined the European Union. Mikhail Gorbachev was elected General Secretary by the Politburo on March 11, 1985, three hours after predecessor Konstantin Chernenko's death at age 73. Gorbachev, aged 54, was the youngest member of the Politburo, his initial goal as general secretary was to revive the Soviet economy, he realized that doing so would require reforming underlying political and social structures.
The reforms began with personnel changes of senior Brezhnev-era officials who would impede political and economic change. On April 23, 1985, Gorbachev brought two protégés, Yegor Ligachev and Nikolai Ryzhkov, into the Politburo as full members, he kept the "power" ministries happy by promoting KGB Head Viktor Chebrikov from candidate to full member and appointing Minister of Defence Marshal Sergei Sokolov as a Politburo candidate. This liberalization, fostered nationalist movements and ethnic disputes within the Soviet Union, it led indirectly to the revolutions of 1989, in which Soviet-imposed socialist regimes of the Warsaw Pact were toppled peacefully, which in turn increased pressure on Gorbachev to introduce greater democracy and autonomy for the Soviet Union's constituent republics. Under Gorbachev's leadership, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1989 introduced limited competitive elections to a new central legislature, the Congress of People's Deputies. In May 1985, Gorbachev delivered a speech in Leningrad advocating reforms and an anti-alcohol campaign to tackle widespread alcoholism.
Prices of vodka and beer were raised, intended to discourage drinking by increasing the cost of liquor. A rationing program was introduced, where citizens were assigned punch cards detailing how much liquor they could buy in a certain time frame. Unlike most forms of rationing, adopted as a strategy to conserve scarce goods, this was done to restrict sales with the overt goal of curtailing drunkenness. Gorbachev's plan included billboards promoting sobriety, increased penalties for public drunkenness, censorship of drinking scenes from old movies; this mirrored Tsar Nicholas II's program during the First World War, intended to eradicate drunkenness in order to bolster the war effort. However, that earlier effort was intended to preserve grain for only the most essential purposes, which did not appear to be a goal in Gorbachev's program. Gorbachev soon faced the same adverse economic reaction to his prohibition; the disincentivization of alcohol consumption was a serious blow to the state budget according to Alexander Yakovlev, who noted annual collections of alcohol taxes decreased by 100 billion rubles.
Alcohol sales migrated to the black market and moonshining became more prevalent as some made "bathtub vodka" with homegrown potatoes. Poorer, less educated Soviets resorted to drinking unhealthy substitutes such as nail-polish remover, rubbing alcohol, or men's cologne, resulting in an additional burden on Russia's healthcare sector due to the increased poisoning cases; the underlying purpose of these reforms was to prop up the existing command economy, in contrast to reforms, which tended toward market socialism. On July 1, 1985, Gorbachev promoted Eduard Shevardnadze, First Secretary of the Georgian Communist Party, to full member of the Politburo, the following day appointed him minister of foreign affairs, replacing longtime Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko; the latter, disparaged as "Mr Nyet" in the West, had served for 28 years as Minister of Foreign Affairs. Gromyko was relegated to the ceremonial position of Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, as he was considered an "old thinker".
On July 1, Gorbachev sidelined his main rival by removing Grigory Romanov from the Politburo and he brought Boris Yeltsin and Lev Zaikov into the CPSU Central Committee Secretariat. In the fall of 1985, Gorbachev continued to bring more energetic men into government. On September 27, 55-year-ol
Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky was a Russian-born composer and conductor. He is considered one of the most important and influential composers of the 20th century. Stravinsky's compositional career was notable for its stylistic diversity, he first achieved international fame with three ballets commissioned by the impresario Serge Diaghilev and first performed in Paris by Diaghilev's Ballets Russes: The Firebird and The Rite of Spring. The latter transformed the way in which subsequent composers thought about rhythmic structure and was responsible for Stravinsky's enduring reputation as a musical revolutionary who pushed the boundaries of musical design, his "Russian phase" which continued with works such as Renard, the Soldier's Tale and Les Noces, was followed in the 1920s by a period in which he turned to neoclassical music. The works from this period tended to make use of traditional musical forms, drawing on earlier styles from the 18th century. In the 1950s, Stravinsky adopted serial procedures.
His compositions of this period shared traits with examples of his earlier output: rhythmic energy, the construction of extended melodic ideas out of a few two- or three-note cells and clarity of form, of instrumentation. Stravinsky was born on 17 June 1882 in Oranienbaum, a suburb of Saint Petersburg, the Russian imperial capital, was brought up in Saint Petersburg, his parents were Fyodor Stravinsky, a well-known bass at the Kiev opera house and the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Anna, a native of Kiev, one of four daughters of a high-ranking official in the Kiev Ministry of Estates. Fyodor, born into a mixed Polish-Russian family, was "descended from a long line of Polish grandees and landowners." It is believed that Stravinsky’s ancestry is traceable back to the 17th and 18th centuries, to the bearers of the Soulima and Strawinski Coat of Arms. Stravinsky's family branch most came from Stravinskas, polonized Lithuanian land owners, nobles of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. According to Stravinsky himself, his family had a Soulima-Stravinsky surname, the name "Stravinsky" originated from the word "Strava", one of the variants of the Streva River in Lithuania.
It is still unclear when the Soulima part of the surname was dropped. Stravinsky recalled his schooldays as being lonely saying that "I never came across anyone who had any real attraction for me". Stravinsky began piano lessons as a young boy, attempting composition. In 1890, he saw a performance of Tchaikovsky's ballet The Sleeping Beauty at the Mariinsky Theatre. By age fifteen, he had mastered Mendelssohn's Piano Concerto in G minor and finished a piano reduction of a string quartet by Glazunov, who considered Stravinsky unmusical and thought little of his skills. Despite his enthusiasm for music, his parents expected him to study law. Stravinsky enrolled at the University of Saint Petersburg in 1901, but he attended fewer than fifty class sessions during his four years of study. In the summer of 1902, Stravinsky stayed with composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and his family in the German city of Heidelberg, where Rimsky-Korsakov, arguably the leading Russian composer at that time, suggested to Stravinsky that he should not enter the Saint Petersburg Conservatoire but instead study composing by taking private lessons, in large part because of his age.
Stravinsky's father died of cancer that year, by which time his son had begun spending more time on his musical studies than on law. The university was closed for two months in 1905 in the aftermath of Bloody Sunday: Stravinsky was prevented from taking his final law examinations and received a half-course diploma in April 1906. Thereafter, he concentrated on studying music. In 1905, he began to take twice-weekly private lessons from Rimsky-Korsakov, whom he came to regard as a second father; these lessons continued until Rimsky-Korsakov's death in 1908. In 1905, Stravinsky was engaged to his cousin Katherine Gavrylivna Nosenko, whom he had known since early childhood. In spite of the Orthodox Church's opposition to marriage between first cousins, the couple married on 23 January 1906: their first two children and Ludmila, were born in 1907 and 1908, respectively. In February 1909, two of Stravinsky's orchestral works, the Scherzo fantastique and Feu d'artifice were performed at a concert in Saint Petersburg, where they were heard by Serge Diaghilev, at that time involved in planning to present Russian opera and ballet in Paris.
Diaghilev was sufficiently impressed by Fireworks to commission Stravinsky to carry out some orchestrations and to compose a full-length ballet score, The Firebird. From 1890 until 1914 the composer visited Ustilug, a town in the modern Volyn Oblast, Ukraine, he spent most of his summers there. In 1907, Stravinsky designed and built his own house in Ustilug, which he called "my heavenly place". In this house, Stravinsky worked on seventeen of his early compositions, among them Feu d'artifice, The Firebird and The Rite of Spring. Renovated, the house is now a Stravinsky house-museum open to the public. Many documents and photographs are on display there, a Stravinsky Festival is held annually in the nearby town of Lutsk. Stravinsky became an overnight sensation following the success of the Firebird's premiere in Paris on 25 June 1910; the composer had travell