Freethought Almanac

Lighting a candle in toxic air.
2011-10-25
October 25: Georges Bizet

Georges Bizet (1838) It was on this date, October 25, 1838, that French opera composer Alexandre César Léopold Bizet – know as Georges Bizet – was born in Paris. His parents home-schooled him in music and at the age of nine the precocious child was admitted to the Paris Conservatoire. There he studied under Gounod, Halévy and […]

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2011-10-10
October 10: Giuseppe Verdi

Giuseppe Verdi (1813) It was on this date, October 10, 1813 – the same year as Richard Wagner – that Italian opera composer Giuseppe Fortunino Francesco Verdi was born in Roncole, Duchy of Parma, which was then under the occupation of Napoleon's army. This self-described "peasant from Roncole" began his education with local priests before […]

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2011-10-09
October 9: Imagining John Lennon

John Lennon (1940) It was on this date, October 9, 1940, that John Winston Lennon was born in Liverpool, England. John Lennon had working-class roots, but went to art school and loved popular music. Having gotten together with songwriting collaborator Paul McCartney, who introduced Lennon to George Harrison, and a drummer to be named later […]

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2011-10-05
October 5: Bob Geldof

Bob Geldof (1954) It was on this date, October 5, 1954, that musician and humanitarian Bob Geldof was born in Dún Laoghaire, County Dublin, Ireland. He was one of the founders in Dublin of the Boomtown Rats. In 1984, after witnessing the starvation in Ethiopia, Geldof wrote "Do They Know It's Christmas?" and got some […]

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2011-09-23
September 23: Ani DiFranco

Ani DiFranco (1970) It was on this date, September 23, 1970, that recording artist and entrepreneur Ani DiFranco was born in Buffalo, New York. She got her first lessons in performance from Buffalo bar talent, which left her with no illusions about the music business. DiFranco began singing and playing acoustic guitar before she was […]

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2011-06-11
June 11: Richard Strauss

What the Encyclopedia Britannica doesn't mention is the Rationalist philosophy evident in “Till Eulenspiegels Merry Pranks.”

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2011-06-08
June 8: Robert Schumann

Although religious compositions made up a significant part of Schumann's works, he was a Pantheist like his countryman, Goethe.

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2011-05-11
May 11: Irving Berlin

In her biography of her father, Mary Ellin Barrett refers to her father's "agnosticism," and describes him as a "nonbeliever."

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2011-02-24
February 24: Arrigo Boito

Boito’s only completed opera, “Mefistofele,” based on Goethe's “Faust,” infuriated the Italian clergy by his frivolous treatment of religion.

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2011-01-31
January 31: Franz Schubert

Sir George Grove says, "of formal or dogmatic religion we can find no trace," in Schubert's short life. Of creeds, "Not a word of it is true," said Schubert.

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Ronald Bruce Meyer

Our Fearless Leader.


Daily Almanac

March 19: Richard Francis Burton

He either believed all religions or none of them. He did not believe in a future life. A fairer estimate of Burton's religion might be that he was an Agnostic.



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