National Anthems

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by kiwiinoz, Oct 17, 2017.

  1. kiwiinoz

    kiwiinoz Member

    OK this is a weird thread but has anyone heard the North Korean national anthem and if so what do you think also what is your favourite national anthem and least favourite
  2. kiwiinoz

    kiwiinoz Member

  3. Tom-King

    Tom-King Well-Known Member

    The vast majority of national anthems leave one lasting impression on me: "ours is unbelievably poor by comparison".

    No particular one sticks in my mind, though.
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  4. BrianT

    BrianT Member

    Music YouTuber Adam Neely posted a recent video about the American National Anthem. The British National Anthem gets an honourable mention too.
    Google for Adam Neely Anthem.
    Definitely worth a look.
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  5. Jack E

    Jack E Well-Known Member

    I agree, Tom - ours sounds like a funeral dirge to me.

    If the partly Dis-United Kingdom ever breaks up, and we need a national anthem for England, my choice would either be 'The Standard of St George', by Kenneth Alford, or 'I Vow to Thee, My Country' - and, if the latter, to be sung by a baritone, and not a soprano!

    You'd never guess it, but I never score well in tests for Compliance with Political Correctness . . . I can't imagine why . . .

    With best regards,

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  6. Jack E

    Jack E Well-Known Member

    What surprised me was the fact that it sounded like the national anthem of a western country, in terms of both the overall sound and the scales used. Considering how anti-western their government is, I'd have expected to hear something more like the national anthems of, say, Bangladesh, or Japan, which are far more reflective of their musical traditions.
  7. Jack E

    Jack E Well-Known Member

    I looked - and you're right, it was definitely worth it!! In terms of the demands on the vocal ability of a singer, that tune, with its range of an octave and a half, is a killer. But then, as the original melody was written as the vocal equivalent of a Championship Section test piece for brass bands, it's hardly surprising.

    In contrast, though ours may sound a bit dreary, going from C to A can be managed easily by anyone with the most modest singing ability.

    And he's right; the harsh criticism of Stravinky's arrangement is astonishing!
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  8. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    I like the Stravinsky version - a lot! I also like the Beethoven variations on it. The tune itself, though is dull, boring and dreary!
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  9. John Brooks

    John Brooks Well-Known Member

    Haven't heard the Stravinsky version (and assuming the reference is to a Stravinsky version of "God Save The Queen") but I do have a recording of Charles Ives "Variations on America; same tune, different title. Americans sing "My country 'tis of thee" to this tune.
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  10. Jack E

    Jack E Well-Known Member

    No - what Adam Neely refers to is Stravinky's arrangement of 'The Star Spangled Banner'; here's the link:

    I'm not aware that Stravinsky ever did an arrangement of our national anthem.
  11. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    Yes, sorry, I was being unclear - as usual!! BTW, a half decent version of the British National Anthem is the one by Benjamin Britten. Almost makes it sound musical!
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  12. honestoil

    honestoil New Member

    I remember playing a fantastic version of our national anthem arranged by Michael Berkeley wth the Slaithwaite Philharmonic Orchestra. Unfortunately can't find this arrangement uploaded on you tube as I would love to hear it again !
  13. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Agree about the Britten. Apparently there was also quite a spectacular version played by a Wagnerian orchestra under Sir Thomas Beecham but I'm not sure it was recorded.
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  14. Jack E

    Jack E Well-Known Member

    I just had a listen to Ives' 'Variations on America' - very interesting! Do you know, despite having heard it thousands of times (maybe tens of thousands?) I've only just realised that our national anthem is in waltz time! :rolleyes:

    But it does show just how you can ring the changes on a very simple tune; I once saw Oscar Peterson playing one of the simplest musical structures going; a 12 bar blues, based on three chords - live on TV. He turned it into a tour de force, and took it to a point where it was hard to believe he was still playing a 12 bar blues!

    Well . . . when I say 'what you can do with a 12 bar blues' . . . maybe I should add 'if you're Oscar Peterson'!

  15. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    I was always quite fond of the Stan Kenton version:

    Always wanted to do a brass band arrangement of this if we drew No. 1 at a contest, but never quite had the nerve ...
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  16. Slider1

    Slider1 Active Member

    Personally I like the Italian and also the Russian. Our anthem needs sorting, Jerusalem would be nice
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  17. Jack E

    Jack E Well-Known Member

    I'd be very happy with 'Jerusalem', too, Slider - and your mention of the Russian national anthem had me digging into that (whilst I'm stuck indoors with a cold!).

    As you can imagine, with all the regime changes the Russians have had a few changes in their national anthem to match. But here's an oddball; until the early 19th century, Russia didn't have a national anthem at all - but when Vasily Zhukovsky wrote 'The Prayer of the Russians' in 1816, he set it to the tune of 'God Save the King'! It wasn't until 1833 that Russia had a completely home-grown anthem, when Zhukovsky was asked to write new lyrics to music composed by Prince Alexei Lvov, and the finished piece was approved by Tzar Nicholas I. Officially titled 'The Russian People's Prayer', it was commonly called 'God Save the Tzar'.

    In the wake of the Russian revolution, of course, it was a case of "The anthem is dead! Long live the anthem!" - particularly when there was a change of leader, but frequently even when there wasn't!

    I've listened to the current Russian anthem, the music of which was introduced in 1944, but which now has new lyrics which don't refer to Stalin (!) - but I must say I find the old Imperial Russian national anthem of 1833 far more inspiring, and I can see why Tchaikovsky was able to use it so effectively in the closing passages of the '1812 Overture', with the melody gradually overwhelming that of the French 'Marseillaise'!

    Here's a link to 'God Save the Tzar' done by orchestra and choir:

    Re. Italy - actually, I prefer the 'Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves', written by Verdi. In the late 1850s, when the struggle for Italian unification and independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire was coming to the boil, the Italian nationalists adopted the slogan "Viva VERDI!", as an acronym for "Viva Vittorio Emanuele, Re D'Italia!" (Long Live Victor Emmanuel, King of Italy); Victor Emmanuel was then King of Sardinia. In 1861, as Victor Emmanuel II, he became the first king of a united Italy since the 6th century, and Verdi's 'Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves' became cherished in Italy the way that 'Jerusalem' is in England.
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2017
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  18. Slider1

    Slider1 Active Member

  19. Slider1

    Slider1 Active Member

    I'd forgotten about this one , nice one
    Have a nice day, Comrade :):)
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  20. Jack E

    Jack E Well-Known Member

    Ваше здоровье, мой друг!
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