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Encyclopedia > Don Lorenzo Perosi
Don Perosi with his Sistine Choir (c. 1905).
Don Perosi with his Sistine Choir (c. 1905).

Monsignor Lorenzo Perosi (21 December 1872 - 12 October 1956) was a prolific[1] Italian composer of sacred music, the only member of the Giovane Scuola who did not write opera.[2] Although less prominent today, he enjoyed international success and a great deal of fame, particularly but not only in Italy, in the late 1890s and early 1900s, chiefly because of his innovative oratorios.[3] Nobel prize-winner Romain Rolland praised him extensively in print, and he worked for five Popes, including Pope St. Pius X. Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1277x815, 659 KB) Photo-postcard c. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1277x815, 659 KB) Photo-postcard c. ... DON LORENZO PEROSI Monsignor Lorenzo Perosi was without question the most important composer of sacred music during the turn of the last century, and one of the greatest Catholic composers of all time. ... Although it is known that the Church, from her earliest days, employed music in her cult, it was not until the time of her emergence from the catacombs that she began freely to display her beauty and splendour in sacred song. ... 1905 (MCMV) was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ... December 21 is the 355th day of the year (356th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1872 (MDCCCLXXII) was a leap year starting on Monday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar or a leap year starting on Wednesday of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar. ... October 12 is the 285th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (286th in leap years). ... 1956 (MCMLVI) was a leap year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... A composer is a person who writes music. ... Religious music (also sacred music) is music performed or composed for religious use or through religious influence. ... The Giovane Scuola (Young School) were a group of Italian composers (mostly operatic) which included Puccini, Mascagni, Leoncavallo, Giordano, Cilea, and Perosi. ... Look up Nobel in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Romain Rolland (January 29, 1866 - December 30, 1944) was a French writer. ... The current Pope is Benedict XVI (born Joseph Alois Ratzinger), who was elected at the age of 78 on 19 April 2005. ... ...

Contents

Biography

Early Years and Educaton

Lorenzo Perosi was born at Tortona, Piedmont, in Italy. Many sources[4] give December 20 as Perosi's birthdate but recent scholarship suggests December 21 to be correct.[5] For the medieval scholar Tortona, see Marziano da Tortona Tortona is a comune of Piedmont, in the Province of Alessandria, Italy. ... Piedmont (Italian: Piemonte) is a region of northwestern Italy. ... December 20 is the 354th day of the year (355th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... December 21 is the 355th day of the year (356th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...


Perosi hailed from an extremely musical and religious family. For nearly 200 years before him, all of Lorenzo’s ancestors were church musicians. His father was Giuseppe Perosi (1849-1908), Maestro di Cappella (Choir Director) of Tortona Cathedral and one of Italy’s most prominent church musicians. Giuseppe was the first teacher of Lorenzo as well as his other two sons, Carlo (who became a priest and then a cardinal) and Marziano (who was Maestro di Cappella at the Duomo of Milan from 1930 to 1949). In Milan Lorenzo studied with respected professor Michele Saladino of the Milan Conservatory. Even when he was not enrolled at the Conservatory, Perosi kept up a correspondence course with Saladino. 1849 was a common year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ... 1908 (MCMVIII) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will take you to calendar). ... For the medieval scholar Tortona, see Marziano da Tortona Tortona is a comune of Piedmont, in the Province of Alessandria, Italy. ... Piazza del Duomo and Duomo di Milano, 1909. ... 1930 (MCMXXX) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link is to a full 1930 calendar). ... 1949 (MCMXLIX) was a common year starting on Saturday (the link is to a full 1949 calendar). ...


In 1890, 18 years old and still a student, Perosi obtained his first professional post: organist and “teacher of the piano novices” at the Abbey of Montecassino. He received his diploma from the Milan Conservatory in 1892, following which he spent an influential year of study with Franz Xaver Haberl in Regensburg, at the Kirchenmusikschule that Haberl had founded in 1874. A noted musician and musicologist, Haberl was the pioneering editor of the complete works of Palestrina and Lassus. Perosi’s development was such that Haberl offered him a cattedra (“chair,” or permanent teaching position) in the Kirchenmusikschule. The homesick Perosi politely declined, in favor of a post as teacher and director of sacred music at Imola. As Perosi himself explained, he “desired and prayed at length to the Lord to be able to do something for the music of God in Italy.”[citation needed] Perosi served in Imola from November 1892, to August 1894. 1890 (MDCCCXC) was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Friday of the Julian calendar). ... The restored Abbey Monte Cassino is a rocky hill about eighty miles (130 km) south of Rome, Italy, a mile to the west of the town of Cassino (the Roman Casinum having been on the hill) and 520 m (1700 ft) altitude. ... 1892 (MDCCCXCII) was a leap year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... Franz Xaver Haberl (Oberellenbach, Lower Bavaria 12 April 1840 – Ratisbon 5 September 1910) was a German musicologist, friend of Liszt and Singenberger, cleric, and student of Proske. ... Regensburg (also Ratisbon, Latin Ratisbona) is a city (population 129,175 in 2005) in Bavaria, south-east Germany, located at the confluence of the Danube and Regen rivers, at the northernmost bend in the Danube. ... 1874 (MDCCCLXXIV) was a common year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar). ... Palestrina (ancient Praeneste) was and is a very ancient city of Latium (modern Lazio) 23 miles (37 km) east of Rome, and was reached by the Via Praenestina (see below). ... Orlande de Lassus, a. ... Country Italy Region Emilia-Romagna Province Bologna (BO) Mayor Massimo Marchignoli Elevation 47 m Area 204. ... 1892 (MDCCCXCII) was a leap year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... August is the eighth month of the year in the Gregorian Calendar and one of seven Gregorian months with the length of 31 days. ... 1894 (MDCCCXCIV) was a common year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ...


In 1894 Perosi went to the Abbey of Solesmes to study with the Gregorianists Dom Mocquerau and Dom Pothier. The Renaissance polyphony he learned from Haberl, and the Gregorian chant he studied in Solesmes — these were the two pilars upon which the entire ɶuvre of Perosi rested. 1894 (MDCCCXCIV) was a common year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ... Solesmes (St-Pierre-de-Solesmes), a Benedictine abbey near Sablé, in the Sarthe department in France, founded in 1010. ... Gregorian chant is also known as plainchant or plainsong and is a form of monophonic, unaccompanied singing, which was developed in the Catholic Church, mainly during the period 800-1000. ...


Years in Venice

From Imola, Perosi obtained a more important post, that of Maestro of the Cappella Marciana at San Marco in Venice. This Venetian appointment resulted from the deep friendship between Perosi and Cardinal Giuseppe Sarto, then Patriarca di Venezia (Patriarch of Venice) but soon to be Pope Pius X (and still later Pope Saint Pius X). Sarto was a profound music-lover who was disturbed by the roughly hundred years (c.1800-1900) that Gregorian Chant was absent from the Church. A more “operatic,” entertaining style of music prevailed, attracting congregants the same way that folk-style music draws American Catholics today. Thus, Perosi found in Sarto not only a friend and kindred spirit, but also a staunch sponsor. San Marco is one of the six sestieri of Venice, lying in the heart of the city. ... Venice, (Italian: Venezia, Venetian: Venexia) is the capital of the region of Veneto and the province of the same name in Italy. ... Pope Saint Pius X ( Latin: ) (June 2, 1835 — August 20, 1914), born Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto, was Pope from 1903 to 1914, succeeding Pope Leo XIII (1878–1903). ... Pope Saint Pius X ( Latin: ) (June 2, 1835 — August 20, 1914), born Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto, was Pope from 1903 to 1914, succeeding Pope Leo XIII (1878–1903). ...


Perosi’s Venetian appointment (1894) unleashed a torrent of music that lasted at least until 1907. He continued to compose prolifically until his death, but this 13-year period produced some of his most substantial work. 1894 (MDCCCXCIV) was a common year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ... 1907 (MCMVII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Wednesday of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ...


In 1895, Perosi became a priest, having been ordained by his good friend Cardinal Sarto himself. It should also be mentioned that St. Luigi Orione was, like Perosi, born in Tortona in 1872. The three men — Orione, Perosi, and Sarto — were all dear friends and mutual inspirers. 1895 (MDCCCXCV) was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Thursday of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar). ... Luigi Orione was born in Pontecurone, diocese of Tortona, on 23 June 1872. ... 1872 (MDCCCLXXII) was a leap year starting on Monday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar or a leap year starting on Wednesday of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar. ...


Vatican Appointment

Perosi and Toscanini, in Milan for the world-première of Mosè (1901).
Perosi and Toscanini, in Milan for the world-première of Mosè (1901).

In 1898, Cardinal Sarto used his influence with Pope Leo XIII to get Perosi the prestigious post and Maestro Perpetuo della Cappella Sistina, or Perpetual Director of the Sistine Choir, in Rome. Five years later, Sarto was ordained Pope Pius X. Just months after his coronation, he released a Motu Proprio on sacred music (of which Perosi was a co-writer). The 1903 Motu Proprio was a papal declaration that Gregorian Chant must be immediately reinstated in all Catholic churches around the world. The century of “operatic” church music was officially over. (Incidentally, so was the era of castrati. Pius was against the practice of human castration and decreed that only “whole men” would be allowed to be priests or singers in the Church.) Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (560x840, 347 KB) published 1901 This image is in the public domain in the United States. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (560x840, 347 KB) published 1901 This image is in the public domain in the United States. ... Arturo Toscanini (March 25, 1867 - January 16, 1957) was considered by many of his contemporaries — critics, fellow musicians, and the public alike — as the greatest conductor of his era. ... 1901 (MCMI) was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Wednesday of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ... 1898 (MDCCCXCVIII) was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Monday of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar). ... Pope Leo XIII (March 2, 1810 – July 20, 1903), born Vincenzo Gioacchino Raffaele Luigi Pecci, was Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, having succeeded Pope Pius IX (1846–78) on February 20, 1878 and reigning until his death in 1903. ... Although it is known that the Church, from her earliest days, employed music in her cult, it was not until the time of her emergence from the catacombs that she began freely to display her beauty and splendour in sacred song. ... Nickname: The Eternal City Motto: SPQR: Senatus PopulusQue Romanus Location of the city of Rome (yellow) within the Province of Rome (red) and region of Lazio (grey) Coordinates: Region Lazio Province Province of Rome Founded 21 April 753 BC Mayor Walter Veltroni Area    - City 1,500 km²  (580 sq mi... Name given to a certain type of Papal rescript, where the clause motu proprio (of his own accord) is used, signifying that the provisions of the rescript were decided by the pope personally and not by a cardinal or other advisors. ... 1903 (MCMIII) was a common year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar or a common year starting on Friday of the 13-day slower Julian calendar. ... A castrato is a male soprano, mezzo_soprano, or alto voice produced by castration of the singer before puberty. ...

Perosi remained Maestro Perpetuo till his death over 50 years later, in spite of interruptions in his directorship. After 1907, Perosi began to suffer more intensely from psychological and neurological problems, undoubtedly caused by his problematic (probably breach) birth. These afflictions reached their apex in 1922; many declared him “incurable.” The composer did spend many months in comparative seclusion; some sources suggest he was briefly institutionalized[6], although recent scholarship suggests that this was not the case, and that he did not change residence in 1922.[7] In fact, the very next year, 1923, Perosi was already back in action, composing up a storm, and in the last decade of his life, he maintained a busy conducting schedule.[8] Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (694x817, 798 KB) Published in the United States before 1930. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (694x817, 798 KB) Published in the United States before 1930. ... Umberto Giordano (August 28, 1867 - November 12, 1948) was a composer, mainly of opera. ... DON LORENZO PEROSI Monsignor Lorenzo Perosi was without question the most important composer of sacred music during the turn of the last century, and one of the greatest Catholic composers of all time. ... Pietro Mascagni (Livorno December 7, 1863 - Rome August 2, 1945) is one of the most important Italian opera composers of the turn of the 20th century. ... 1907 (MCMVII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Wednesday of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ... 1922 (MCMXXII) was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ... 1922 (MCMXXII) was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ... 1923 (MCMXXIII) was a common year starting on Monday (link will take you to calendar). ...

Compositional Style and Popularity

Despite the relative obscurity of his name today, Perosi was a prominent member of the Giovane Scuola, of which the most important Verismo composers or Veristi (Puccini, Mascagni, Leoncavallo, Giordano, and Cilea) were all considered members. An entire chapter is dedicated to Perosi in Romain Rolland’s Musiciens d’Aujourd’hui (1899). Perosi was deeply admired not only by Rolland and by the above-named Veristi, but also by Boito, Toscanini, and many other Italian icons. Caruso sang his music, as did Sammarco, Tagliabue, Gigli, and innumerable other great singers from that era, and also quite a few in modern times, such as Fiorenza Cossotto, Mirella Freni, Renato Capecchi, and fellow Tortonese Giuseppe Campora. His French admirers included Debussy, Massenet, Guilmant, and d’Indy, all of whom were impressed by the 1899 French Première of La Risurrezione di Cristo.[citation needed] The Giovane Scuola (Young School) were a group of Italian composers (mostly operatic) which included Puccini, Mascagni, Leoncavallo, Giordano, Cilea, and Perosi. ... Verismo was an Italian literary movement born approximately between 1875 and 1895. ... Verismo is a style of Italian opera distinguished by often sordid or violent depictions of everyday life (especially life of the lower classes), as opposed to historical or mythological subjects. ... Giacomo Puccini Giacomo Antonio Domenico Michele Secondo Maria Puccini (December 22, 1858 – November 29, 1924) was an Italian composer whose operas, including La bohème, Tosca, and Madama Butterfly, are among the most frequently performed in the standard repertoire[1]. Some of his melodies, such as O mio babbino caro... Pietro Mascagni (Livorno December 7, 1863 – Rome August 2, 1945) is one of the most important Italian opera composers of the turn of the 20th century. ... Ruggiero Leoncavallo (March 8, 1857 - August 9, 1919) was an Italian opera composer. ... Umberto Giordano Umberto Giordano (August 28, 1867 - November 12, 1948) was an Italian composer, mainly of opera. ... Francesco Cilea, (Palmi, near Reggio Calabria, July 26, 1866 - Varazze, near Savona, November 20, 1950) was an Italian opera composer, whose early success was not sustained, as taste in music changed. ... 1899 (MDCCCXCIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ... Arrigo Boito (February 24, 1842 – June 10, 1918) was an Italian poet, successful journalist, novelist and composer, best known today for his opera libretti and his own opera, Mefistofele. ... Arturo Toscanini (March 25, 1867 – January 16, 1957) was an Italian musician. ... Enrico Caruso (February 25, 1873–August 2, 1921) was one of the most famous tenors in the history of opera. ... Mario Sammarco (December 13, 1868 - January 24, 1930) was an Italian operatic baritone. ... Beniamino Gigli (March 20, 1890 - November 30, 1957) was an Italian singer, widely regarded as one of the greatest operatic tenors of his time. ... Fiorenza Cossotto is an Italian mezzo soprano. ... Mirella Freni Mirella Freni (born 27 February 1935) is a famous Italian opera soprano much admired for the youthful quality of her voice and her acting skills. ... Giuseppe Campora (born Tortona 30 September 1923, died there 5 December 2004), operatic tenor. ... Claude Debussy, ca. ... Jules (Émile Frédéric) Massenet (May 12, 1842 - August 13, 1912) was a French composer. ... Alexandre Guilmant (Boulogne-sur-Mer 1837 - Meudon 1911) was an French organist and composer. ... Photograph of Vincent dIndy Paul Marie Théodore Vincent dIndy (March 27, 1851 – December 2, 1931) was a French composer and teacher. ... 1899 (MDCCCXCIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ...


Unlike the other members of the Giovane Scuola, Perosi was the only one to be significantly influenced by pre-Classical repertoire. His so-called “eclectism” was and still is occasionally disparaged by critics, but it was his greatest trait. It was almost with naïveté that Perosi wondered to Romain Rolland, "why it is that composers feel so fettered by time and geography? Why can't music be universal, not shackled by the ephemeral trends or fads of a particular country or century?"[9]


In his day, Perosi was best known for his oratorios, large-scale works for chorus, soloists, and orchestra based on Latin texts. While the works can seem slow-paced today, at the time they were quite novel not only for their fusion of Renaissance polyphony, Gregorian chant, and lush, Verismo melodies and orchestrations, but also for Perosi’s deep-seated faith in the words that he had set. The oratorio as a genre had been in decline in the preceeding centuries, and Perosi's contributions to the canon brought him brief but significant international acclaim.[10] An oratorio is a large musical composition for orchestra, vocal soloists and chorus. ...


In addition to the oratorios and masses for which he is best known, Perosi also wrote secular music — symphonic poems, chamber music, concertos, etc. In his youth, he also wrote useful pieces for organ. According to Perosi scholar Arturo Sacchetti, Perosi wrote a total of three or four thousand compositions. A great many still await publication; some have not yet been located.


Works

Oratorios

  • La Passione di Cristo (1897)
  • La Trasfigurazione di Cristo (1898)
  • La Risurrezione di Lazzaro (1898)
  • La Risurrezione di Cristo (1898)
  • Il Natale del Redentore (1899)
  • La Strage degli Innocenti (1900)
  • Il Giudizio Universale (1904)
  • Transitus Animae (1907)

Masses and mottetti

  • Missa In Honorem Ss. Gervasii et Protasii (1895)
  • Missa "Te Deum Laudamus" (1897)
  • Missa Eucharistica (1897)
  • Missa [Prima] Pontificalis (1897)
  • Messa da Requiem (1897)
  • Missa "Benedicamus Domino" (1899)
  • Missa Cerviana
  • Missa Secunda Pontificalis (1906)
  • Numerous mottetti ("melodie sacre")

References

  1. ^ According to biographer Graziella Merlatti, Perosi was the most prolific composer of sacred music of the 20th century. According to musicologist Arturo Sacchetti's estimate, Perosi composed 3,000-4,000 works. All of the sources (see Bibliography) agree that Perosi was the most influential composer of the Cecilian Movement, q.v.
  2. ^ See L. Ciampa, Don Lorenzo Perosi (2006), p. xxxii. Perosi's sacred oratorios garnered such immense popularity that the Italian media, from the late 1890s into the 20th century, used a catch-phrase Il Momento Perosiano, or "Perosi's Moment". Nobel Prize winner Romain Rolland wrote: "It’s not easy to give you an exact idea of how popular Lorenzo Perosi is in his native country." (Le Journal des Débats (21 November 1899)). Perosi's fame was not restricted to Italy. A 19 March 1899 New York Times article entitled “The Genius of Don Perosi” began: "The great and ever-increasing success which has greeted the four new oratorios of Don Lorenzo Perosi has placed this young priest-composer on a pedestal of fame which can only be compared with that which has been accorded of late years to the idolized Pietro Mascagni by his fellow-countrymen."
  3. ^ Waterhouse, John C.G. "Lorenzo Perosi." Grove music online, ed. L. Macy (accessed 20 December 2006). www.grovemusic.com.
  4. ^ Waterhouse, John C.G. "Lorenzo Perosi." Grove music online, ed. L. Macy (accessed 20 December 2006). www.grovemusic.com.
  5. ^ In Mario Rinaldi's Lorenzo Perosi the correct date is given as December 21 (page 17 explains why that is correct).
  6. ^ Waterhouse, John C.G. "Lorenzo Perosi." Grove music online, ed. L. Macy (accessed 20 December 2006). www.grovemusic.com.
  7. ^ A lengthy discussion of Perosi's psychological health can be found in Ciampa, Don Lorenzo Perosi
  8. ^ Rinaldi, Lorenzo Perosi, pp. 374 ff.
  9. ^ Romain Rolland, Musiciens d'Aujourd'hui (1907)
  10. ^ Waterhouse, John C.G. "Lorenzo Perosi." Grove music online, ed. L. Macy (accessed 20 December 2006). www.grovemusic.com.

The young Lorenzo Perosi (photo-postcard late 1890s). ... Photo 1 (credit: Anastasia Cazabon) Photo 2 (credit: Paul Raila) Leonardo Ciampa (born East Boston, January 17, 1971), is a composer, organist, pianist, and author. ... Nobel Prize medal. ... Romain Rolland (January 29, 1866 - December 30, 1944) was a French writer. ... Pietro Mascagni (Livorno December 7, 1863 – Rome August 2, 1945) is one of the most important Italian opera composers of the turn of the 20th century. ... December 21 is the 355th day of the year (356th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Romain Rolland (January 29, 1866 - December 30, 1944) was a French writer. ... 1907 (MCMVII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Wednesday of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ...

Biographies

  • Amadori, Andrea (1999). Lorenzo Perosi: Documenti e inediti. ISBN 88-7096-233-4.
  • Bassi, Adriano (1994). Don Lorenzo Perosi: L'uomo, il compositore e il religioso. ISBN 88-7514-708-6.
  • Ciampa, Leonardo (2006). Don Lorenzo Perosi. ISBN 1-4259-3440-4.
  • Damerini, Adelmo. Lorenzo Perosi.
  • Glinski, Matteo (1953). Lorenzo Perosi.
  • Hesse, Helmut (1981, Heft 5, S.343-349.). Lorenzo Perosi. Sein Leben und seine Musik..
  • Merlatti, Graziella (2006). Lorenzo Perosi, una vita tra genio e follia. ISBN 88514033092006.
  • Onofri, Teodoro (1977). Lorenzo Perosi nei giorni imolesi.
  • Pagano, Sergio (1996). L'epistolario "vaticano" di Lorenzo Perosi (1867-1956). ISBN 88-211-9120-6.
  • Paglialunga, Arcangelo (1952). Lorenzo Perosi.
  • Rinaldi, Mario (1967). Lorenzo Perosi.
  • Sanarica, Marino (1999). Lorenzo Perosi.

  Results from FactBites:
 
Don Lorenzo Perosi - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1387 words)
Monsignor Lorenzo Perosi (born 21 December 1872 in Tortona, Italy; died 12 October 1956) was the most significant Italian composer of sacred music at the turn of the twentieth century.
In Milan Lorenzo studied with one of Italy’s greatest professors, Michele Saladino of the Milan Conservatory.
The homesick Perosi politely declined, in favor of a post as teacher and director of sacred music at Imola.
DON LORENZO PEROSI FACTS AND INFORMATION (1253 words)
Monsignor Lorenzo Perosi (born 21 December 1872 in Tortona, Italy; died 12 October 1956) was far by the most significant Italian composer of sacred music during the turn of the nineteenth century.
Giuseppe was the first teacher of Lorenzo as well as his other two sons, Don Carlo (later a cardinal) and Marziano, both of whom became able composers, organists, and directors.
As Perosi himself explained, he "desired and prayed at length to the Lord to be able to do something for the music of God, in Italy." He served in Imola from November 1892, to August 1894.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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