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Culture Forum

Culture Forum

  1. Standard member Grampy Bobby
    Boston Lad
    02 Feb '13 02:58
    National Anthems

    Some of your favorites? Here's one of mine:

    YouTube

    Enjoy!
  2. 02 Feb '13 03:06
    The Soviet National Anthem sung here by one of its greatest baritones:

    YouTube
  3. 02 Feb '13 08:12
    The Bulgarian National Anthem is the most stirring one I know:

    YouTube
  4. 02 Feb '13 16:10
    1. United States Star Spangled Banner for sentimental reasons alone! Tied for first is Mexicanos al Grito de Guerra: YouTube
    2. Italy's current one Il Canto degli Italiani, but I like the unofficial anthem better, "Va Pensiero" from Verdi's Nabucco. At the time Nabucco was written there was a groundswell of nationalism and a push for Italain unification and elimination of the city state system and the papal States. Verdi's name became an acronym: "Vittorio Emmanuele Re Di Italia" and a cry for unification. Va Pensiero or "Canto di schiavi ebrei" from Nabucco is gorgeous: YouTube
    3. Germany's current anthem was lifted off a Franz Joseph Haydn quartet's second movement of his Emperor Quartet: YouTube
    4. "Chant de guerre pour l'Armée du Rhin" (English: "War Song for the Army of the Rhine" or La Marseillaise is considered by many the best. I place it fourth simply because it is oddly named, renamed, misplaced and Marseilles is a hell hole! Also, Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle is no Verdi or Haydn. My favorite version is "La Marseillaise" arranged for soprano, chorus and orchestra by Hector Berlioz. I also love, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's quote of "La Marseillaise" to represent the invading French army in his 1812 Overture. He also quoted the Russian national anthem he was familiar with, to represent the Russian army. However, neither of these anthems was actually in use in 1812. Schumann's quote in his "Two Grenadiers lied" on a poem of Heinrich Heine is stunning: YouTube!
    5. Soft spot for "God Save the Queen" which we all learned in school as "My Country 'Tis of Thee", of unknown composer and oldest of the anthems since it dates from around 1619. However, Rule Britannia makes me think of England or the UK more than their current anthem: YouTube.
  5. Standard member Soothfast
    0,1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21,
    04 Feb '13 09:32
    1) Former Soviet Union
    2) Former East Germany
    3) Germany
    4) France
    5) European Union (yes, a cheat since the EU is not a nation, but still...)


    The Star-Spangled Banner never "did it" for me. It's kind of hackneyed and the lyrics ridiculous.
  6. 04 Feb '13 11:42 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by scacchipazzo
    2. Italy's current one Il Canto degli Italiani, but I like the unofficial anthem better, "Va Pensiero" from Verdi's Nabucco. At the time Nabucco was written there was a groundswell of nationalism and a push for Italain unification and elimination of the city state system and the papal States. Verdi's name became an acronym: "Vittorio Emmanuele Re Di Ita di schiavi ebrei" from Nabucco is gorgeous: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7K68tdN3fYw
    There's some scholarly doubt about this story! Here's Roger Parker, from a lecture entitled 'Verdi and Milan'.

    http://www.gresham.ac.uk/print/2092

    Pieces such as 'Va pensiero' became, and to some degree have remained, entangled in an alluring tale about opera and politics, a neat tying-together of the two that we seem willing and eager to consume again and again. According to this story, 'Va pensiero' and certain other Verdi choruses of the early and mid 1840s became a rallying cry of the Italian 'Risorgimento': their new manner energized the Italian national consciousness, encouraged the masses to the barricades in the revolutions of 1848 and generally accompanied the formation of the nation state in 1859-60. There is, though, a small problem with this story: so far as the 1840s are concerned, there's hardly any historical evidence to support it. It's true that operatic performances in Italy were occasionally the site of public demonstrations during the immediate run up to the 1848 revolutions, just as they had been to the revolutions in 1830; but Verdi's music was not involved such demonstrations much more than other composers: indeed, several others, in particular gentle, lachrymose Bellini, were judged at the time far more incendiary. So why did the connection get made? After all, although it was inevitable that the opera house, as an important (sometimes virtually the only) meeting-place for the urban bourgeoisie, occasionally became caught up in the century's great bourgeois revolutions, it was far more often a place where the ruling classes could rely on stability and an opportunity to display power. What's more, as the century progressed and revolutionary movements embraced an ever-wider socio-economic spectrum, a large element of the revolutionary population was excluded from all but the humblest of operatic representations.

    But Verdi's case was special: by the 1860s and 1870s, when Italy did achieve statehood and was looking anxiously around for national monuments to symbolise its new nation, his early music lay conveniently by, and (as we've seen, with not a little help from the great man himself) was found eminently fit for purpose. And so arose the myth of 'Va pensiero' and a few other Verdi choruses: a myth that has remained in stubborn currency ever since. The chorus has furnished a soundtrack for countless groups wishing to create a simple sense of 'Italianness': from the most benign to the trivial to the most destructive. Emphatically in the last of these categories, Mussolini's regime was, for example, a great propagator of the patriotic image of Verdi, and for obvious reasons. In 1941, and in spite of quite serious military distractions, the Duce ordered extensive celebrations of the fortieth anniversary of Verdi's death. But appropriations of 'Va pensiero' go both backwards and forwards from this grim moment: backwards to Verdi's attempts to boost its significance in his autobiographical tales; forwards to its appearance in TV advertisements, and even as the 'Padanian hym' of the north Italian separatist group, the Lega Nord.

    None of this is to deny that opera in the early nineteenth century was in many areas inescapably bound up with the idea of nation and national representation. Nor is it to deny that 'Va pensiero' is indeed an extraordinary piece of choral music: it would not have been elevated to its positions both present and past without its potent mixture of melodic single-mindedness and blatantly popular appeal. But we need to bear in mind that political 'events' and operatic 'events' are very different, their relationship often complex and subterranean. In this case, Verdi's reputation as 'bard of the Italian Risorgimento' was real enough, but it was constructed in the latter half of the nineteenth century, when a young, newly consolidated, fragile Italy urgently required cultural monuments in order to create a sense of national identity: a moment in which the gentle nostalgia of 'Va pensiero' became a potent recollection of simpler times.
  7. 04 Feb '13 11:54
    Originally posted by scacchipazzo
    5. Soft spot for "God Save the Queen" which we all learned in school as "My Country 'Tis of Thee", of unknown composer and oldest of the anthems since it dates from around 1619. However, Rule Britannia makes me think of England or the UK more than their current anthem: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sgd9nYqVz2s.
    Not really 1619, though a melody by John Bull from that date apparently has some similarities. However, the anthem as anthem is really an eighteenth-century creation.

    For me, far and away the most stirring national song we have is 'Jerusalem' ('And did those feet in ancient time...'😉. Magnificent words by a great poet, William Blake, and a wonderfully stirring tune by Charles Hubert Parry. Here's a version arranged by Elgar (followed by instrumental reprise for brass):

    YouTube

    And here it is sung in chorus by the crowd at the Last Night of the Proms:

    YouTube
  8. 04 Feb '13 12:11 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by Soothfast
    1) Former Soviet Union

    The former Soviet Union's anthem has the same tune as the modern Russian anthem, though with different words. Do you have a preference for the Communist wording?

    5) European Union (yes, a cheat since the EU is not a nation, but still...)

    An interesting, slightly sad anecdote about the choice of the Ode to Joy for the EU anthem is that, only a couple of years later, it was selected by the pariah state of Rhodesia as its new anthem after the country opted to become a Republic.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rise,_O_Voices_of_Rhodesia

    The Rhodesian government initiated a search for a new anthem around the time of its adoption of a new green-and-white flag in November 1968, but continued to use "God Save the Queen" until June 1969, when the mostly white electorate voted in favour of a republican form of government. The royal anthem officially remained in place until the formal declaration of a republic in March 1970, when it was abandoned along with numerous other overt references to the Crown. Republican Rhodesia was without an anthem for over four years before the chosen music was announced on 28 August 1974: the Fourth Movement, commonly called "Ode to Joy", from Ludwig van Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. The fact that the Council of Europe had adopted this tune as the "Anthem of Europe" in January 1972 apparently did not perturb the Rhodesian government; John Sutherland and Stephen Fender comment that Rhodesia's choice proved deeply embarrassing for the British Labour administration, whose leaders now had to respect a melody associated with Rhodesia when attending official European functions. With a tune now in place, the Rhodesian government organised a nationwide competition to write matching lyrics, the winner of which would receive a cash prize equal to about US$1,000.

    The Council of Europe, though less than pleased with Rhodesia's selection, did not object to it, reasoning that so long as Salisbury was using "Ode to Joy" in its original form, it could not be subject to reproach as the music was long out of copyright and in the public domain. It did announce, however, that should Rhodesia use the same arrangement as the Council of Europe, then the author of that score, Herbert von Karajan, would have grounds for a plagiarism lawsuit. Such an incident was averted when Rhodesia adopted an original sixteen-bar arrangement by Captain Ken MacDonald, the Rhodesian African Rifles' bandmaster. The anthem's inaugural instrumental performance in Salisbury provoked mixed reactions: some were enthusiastic—including a Coloured sergeant musician who proudly told the Rhodesia Herald that "it's just like 'God Save Our Gracious Queen'"—but many others were disappointed that the government had not commissioned an original tune. Rhys Lewis, music critic for the Herald, wrote that he was "stupefied" by the government's choice, which he said was not only unoriginal, but also so associated with supranational brotherhood that it risked making internationally isolated Rhodesia the subject of ridicule. Phinias Sithole, who headed the African Trade Union Congress (a black Rhodesian trade union federation), commented that he did not believe most of the country's blacks would identify with a song chosen while people of their ethnicity remained largely absent from the government's top levels.

    "Rise, O Voices of Rhodesia" remained in official usage for the rest of Rhodesia's history, as well as between June and December 1979, when Rhodesia was reconstituted as Zimbabwe Rhodesia, a black-ruled version of the same country, which also failed to achieve legitimacy in the eyes of Britain and the UN. Though the anthem remained in place during these six months, a new flag was adopted and Rhodesia's national holidays, largely based around colonial figures and milestones, were replaced by alternatives intended to be more inclusive: President's Day, Unity Day and Ancestors Day. The national anthem remained unchanged on 12 December 1979, when Zimbabwe Rhodesia came under British control for an interim period before internationally recognised independence came in April 1980, with the country now called Zimbabwe. "Ishe Komborera Africa", a Shona translation of Enoch Sontonga's Xhosa hymn "Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika" ("God Bless Africa" in English) was made Zimbabwe's first national anthem, and remained in place until 1994, when it was replaced by the present anthem, "Simudzai Mureza wedu WeZimbabwe" ("Blessed be the Land of Zimbabwe" ).

    Because of its use by "Rise, O Voices of Rhodesia", the "Ode to Joy" melody is controversial in Zimbabwe, where its annual playing at foreign embassies on Europe Day initially caused shock to Zimbabwean government officials who, according to historian Josephine Fisher, had not previously been aware of the song's use by the Council of Europe. During the 1980s, Derek Hudson, the long-time conductor of the Bulawayo Philharmonic Orchestra, had considerable difficulty securing official permission to give the first Zimbabwean performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. He was eventually able to do so, but only after prolonged negotiations with the authorities. When "Ode to Joy" was included in a fundraising organ recital held by a Harare church at Christmas 1994, it provoked angry protests from some who attended.
  9. Standard member Grampy Bobby
    Boston Lad
    04 Feb '13 12:44
    Originally posted by Teinosuke
    1) Former Soviet Union

    The former Soviet Union's anthem has the same tune as the modern Russian anthem, though with different words. Do you have a preference for the Communist wording?

    5) European Union (yes, a cheat since the EU is not a nation, but still...)

    An interesting, slightly sad anecdote about the choice of the Ode to Joy for the EU anthem ...[text shortened]... rovoked angry protests from some who attended.[/i]
    Just googled "Teinosuke". How interesting a choice.
  10. 04 Feb '13 13:23
    Originally posted by Grampy Bobby
    Just googled "Teinosuke". How interesting a choice.
    Teinosuke Kinugasa isn't my favourite Japanese director, but has the advantage as a username that no one else is likely to pick it! The quality of the work of this director, who lived from 1896 to 1982, is inconsistent, but his avant-garde silent film A Page of Madness (1926) is one of the masterpieces of Japanese and world cinema in the 1920s. Gate of Hell (1953), one of Japan's first colour films, is also admired by many.
  11. Subscriber C J Horse
    A stable personality
    04 Feb '13 15:44
    1. France. The words are a bit bloodthirsty, but what a brilliant tune!

    2. Wales. I can sing it in Welsh, even though I'm English - the Welsh language must not be permitted to die. Again, what a great tune.

    3. USA. I've heard it so often during the Olympics (they win so often) that I've grown to quite like it.

    4. Australia. It certainly celebrates their country.

    5. Italy. Very operatic.

    6. Netherlands. Love the reference to the King of Spain.
  12. Standard member mikelom
    Ajarn
    04 Feb '13 16:21
    Originally posted by C J Horse
    1. France. The words are a bit bloodthirsty, but what a brilliant tune!

    2. Wales. I can sing it in Welsh, even though I'm English - the Welsh language must not be permitted to die. Again, what a great tune.

    3. USA. I've heard it so often during the Olympics (they win so often) that I've grown to quite like it.

    4. Australia. It certainly celebrates ...[text shortened]... ntry.

    5. Italy. Very operatic.

    6. Netherlands. Love the reference to the King of Spain.
    How about these for kind words in an anthem?? ......... lol.

    "Thailand embraces in its bosom all people of Thai blood
    Every inch of Thailand belongs to the Thais
    It has long maintained its sovereignty
    Because the Thais have always been united
    The Thai people are peace-loving
    But they are no cowards at war
    They shall allow no one to rob them of their independence
    Nor shall they suffer tyranny
    All Thais are ready to give up every drop of blood
    For the nation's safety, freedom and progress."

    YouTube

    -----------------

    Slightly fearful??

    -m. 😉
  13. 04 Feb '13 16:58
    Originally posted by C J Horse
    6. Netherlands. Love the reference to the King of Spain.
    ...while the Spanish National Anthem has no words at all!
  14. Standard member Soothfast
    0,1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21,
    04 Feb '13 22:38
    Originally posted by Teinosuke
    [b]1) Former Soviet Union

    The former Soviet Union's anthem has the same tune as the modern Russian anthem, though with different words. Do you have a preference for the Communist wording?[/b]
    Oh yes, the wording of the Soviet Union's anthem is what brings me to pick it over the current Russian anthem.

    The Internationale would get my vote for anthem of the world.
  15. Standard member Soothfast
    0,1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21,
    04 Feb '13 22:40
    Originally posted by Teinosuke
    Teinosuke Kinugasa isn't my favourite Japanese director, but has the advantage as a username that no one else is likely to pick it! The quality of the work of this director, who lived from 1896 to 1982, is inconsistent, but his avant-garde silent film A Page of Madness (1926) is one of the masterpieces of Japanese and world cinema in the 1920s. Gate of Hell (1953), one of Japan's first colour films, is also admired by many.
    And here I thought the Godzilla films were the pinnacle of Japanese cinema!