National Anthems of European Nations

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Dec 31st, 2000, 08:56 AM
  #1
Bob Brown
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National Anthems of European Nations

I have two questions about European national anthems.

1. Does anyone know of a good recording (CD, tape, even vinyl) of La Marseillaise
sung by a dramatic soprano, one with a voice
like Susan Dunn, Jane Eaglen, or Catherine Malfitano?

2. What are some of the stirring, melodic national anthems of Europe? (I recognize only 3: Great Britain, France, and Germany.)
Certainly La Marseillaise is a soul stirring piece, but I am sure there are others.
 
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Dec 31st, 2000, 06:04 PM
  #2
Ed
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The Russian Czarist anthem is a pretty good and moving piece.

Ed
 
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Jan 1st, 2001, 10:19 AM
  #3
Christina
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Bob, I am not familiar with the voices of those singers, so I cannot say, but as you may know, La Marseillaise is often sung by a tenor. I think the best recording by a soprano would be the one on Telarc with Sylvia McNair (David Zinman, conductor, Baltimore SO, cat. no. CD80164). I think she has a very beautiful voice, but I would suspect you would not consider her a dramatic soprano (I wouldn't). The only other recording I know with a soprano is someone I do not know at all (Claudine Carlson with Entremont and the Denver SO, see "Vive la France" album), but I listened to some clips on Tower records of these and was not impressed with her at all. You prob know Sylvia McNair as I think she worked with Robt Shaw a lot. I'm not a big fan of national anthems, but I do like the Russian one, also--I remember hearing it during the Olympics when the Russians won a lot of female gymnastic prizes (some years ago). La Marseillaise has an unusual history as the author was a royalist, in fact. There is a website on it that lists a little history if you are interested, although it does not recommend recordings unfortunately (marseillaise.org, I think).
 
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Jan 1st, 2001, 10:32 AM
  #4
Cass
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The classic is "Finlandia," IMHO.
 
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Jan 1st, 2001, 12:49 PM
  #5
Bob Brown
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I did not know that Finlandia was the national anthem!! I have instrumental versions of it galore in my collection because it is a popular filler piece.
As for Sylvia McNair, she is a beautiful, wonderful singer. I have heard her perform in Atlanta with Robert Shaw! (Shaw's death removed from the Atlanta musical scene a vital, seminal force. While there are still many, many talented musicians on the scene, filling the void left by Shaw will take time.)
And David Zinman is truly a first class conductor. I will add that Telarc Cd to my list.
If you know of a really good tenor version of La Marseillaise, tell me about it, please. Perhaps I am restricting myself needlessly. From the sound of the music, I thought it would be ideal for a big soprano voice. Jane Eaglen sang last year (1999 - 2000) at the Opera Bastille as a regular in the role of Turandot.
Catherine Malfitano is incredible in a wide variety of roles and Susan Dunn is a true Verdian soprano.
 
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Jan 2nd, 2001, 02:07 AM
  #6
Steve
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Hi Bob,
One of the best is the Welsh National Anthem. Stirring, moving, melodic - it's got it all! Look for a version by one of the top Male Voice Choirs, e.g. Morriston Orpheus, Treorchy ...
 
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Jan 2nd, 2001, 05:41 AM
  #7
Bob Brown
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For the record, as great as it is,
Finlandia is emphatically NOT the national anthem of Finland. To quote my friend in Finland: "Maamme (our country) is our national anthem and the composer is Pacius!"

I am beginning to wonder if there is a CD out there somewhere devoted to national songs?? At any rate, Tower Records here I come. Perhaps the list will continue to grow. Acquiring the various anthems is a different question.
 
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Jan 2nd, 2001, 06:19 AM
  #8
Jordie
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Steve, what is the "official" name of the Welsh nat'l anthem? I'm in the States and would like to try to find a CD that includes it. (And can it be spelled (spelt?) without any y's or w's ;-} ?)
 
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Jan 2nd, 2001, 06:22 AM
  #9
Pris
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Sincere apologies to Finns and Bob re:Finlandia. My aging brain had done a double-think revision on the history of the piece, mis-remembering its adoption as official anthem. Out of curiosity, do you (or anyone) know whether it was ever considered, and was the fact that Grieg was not Finnish a factor?
 
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Jan 2nd, 2001, 06:23 AM
  #10
Cass
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Weird! Pris, are you me or has Fodor's cloned us both?
 
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Jan 2nd, 2001, 06:37 AM
  #11
Bob Brown
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I am not sure if I follow the question in reference to Grieg and Finlandia.
Finlandia as an orchestral piece was written by Jean Sibelius, who was born in Finland. I am told that he never learned classical Finnish; he spoke Swedish. Although English is widely learned in school, Swedish is still taught. My Helsinki friend tells me that some American TV shows are shown in English. So I end up explaining terms like "nuke it in the microwave".
It gets to be fun, and I quickly realized that Americaspeak can be baffling to those learning the language.
Try explaining "blind sided".
 
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Jan 2nd, 2001, 02:12 PM
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Christina
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Bob, you will usu hear the Berlioz' orchestration of La Marseillaise and that was written for tenor, not soprano. Given the words and sentiments of this song (macho is an understatement), I think it is perhaps more appropriate sung by a tenor. For a good tenor version, I'd recommend Placido Domingo and the Chicago Symphony Orch on Teldec (Barenboim conductor); they just came out with a new compilation of this with Berlioz' Symphonie Fantastique and a lot of orch. Ravel on a double CD (no 82121). The same version of the Marseillaise with Domingo is on an earlier Teldec (no 98800) coupled with only the Sym Fantastique. Actually, these discs are preferable to the McNair to me for the other works, although if you have the Sym Fant. you may not need another one, the other disc only has excerpts (I think) from Les Troyen, Damn of Faust and Romeo and Juliet. Now, I adore Placido Domingo so I am biased, I like almost anything he does, but here is a review of the Marseillaise on the Teldec by Domingo from Gramophone (referring to a somewhat tepid version of the Sym Fan, I think)lt;all this is the more surprising after the tremendous exhilaration which Barenboim and the players bring to Berlioz’s inspiring arrangement of the Marseillaise, one which is “doughty enough to be heard on official occasions in France to this day”, as Hugh Macdonald puts it. The orchestra go at this, to us, unfamiliar piece with the enjoyment they do not seem to feel in the symphony, and the chorus join in with a will, the sopranos taking their top B flats like birds. It seems unnecessary to have gone to the trouble of engaging Placido Domingo, who delivers the music splendidly but in a somewhat strained accent. Berlioz made two versions: the first, in the Holoman catalogue 51a, dates from the July uprising of 1830 and is for double chorus and orchestra; 51b, of the next revolutionary year, 1848, is for tenor, chorus and piano. This is essentially 51a, using the tenor and chorus alternations of 51b. It is worth mentioning that none was more delighted than the author of the Marseillaise himself, Rouget de Lisle, who thanked Berlioz effusively for having covered “sa nudite de tout le brillant de votre imagination”.>>

BTW there is an album of national anthems cheap you can buy called National Anthems of the World by the Vienna State Opera Orchestra. Now, I do sort of like the Hungarian National Anthem also, but it is not melodic, more solely orchestral to me. However, that reminded me that Kodaly, the Hungarian composer, wrote a lot of choral music and he scored a version of La Marseillaise. This is available on a disc of all or mostly Kodaly choral music, lots of it national hymns, army songs, etc, that might be very interesting (Kodaly is a composer I like very much, but I have a particular interest in East and Central Eur composers, both to listen to and to play as I'm a pianist). His arrangement of La Marseillaise is on Hungaroton HCD 31697 and is sung by a chorus (think you can search for Kodaly Choral Music as title), it's only about $15, I might get it myself for kicks, Kodaly and Bartok used a lot of folk influences in their choral music which I find very charming and enjoyable to listen to in comparison to Western Eur composers (Moravian choral music is likewise wonderful).


 
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Jan 2nd, 2001, 02:29 PM
  #13
Bob Brown
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I will look for the anthems by the VSO.
I searched Tower Record's data base, but did not come up with it.
I hope Mr. Domingo's La Marseillaise is better than his Amazing Grace.
Don't know if you caught the 3 Tenors Christmas show. But Pavarotti, Carreras and Domingo singing Jingle Bells was funny. Amazing Grace was a near travesty, particularly Carreras' attempt. It was akin to Johnny Cash trying to sing O Sole Mio.
 
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Jan 2nd, 2001, 02:37 PM
  #14
Sheila
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The National Anthem of Wales is "Land of my Fathers" or "Hen Wlad fy Nadau"
 
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Jan 2nd, 2001, 05:12 PM
  #15
Cass
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Well, I'm almost too embarrassed to re-post, since I knew very well that Sibelius wrote Finlandia, although I do stand by my statement that Grieg wasn't Finnish -- it's just not relevant. Perhaps I should go out and come in again . . . . 2 - no, 3 -- no, 4 reasons why my version of America-speak is unique and not to be blamed on anyone else. . . . it's called Birthday-Plethora-Cerebral-Eructation.
 
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Jan 2nd, 2001, 06:25 PM
  #16
wes fowler
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Bob,
For a truly stirring, and relatively new national anthem though not European, check out "O Canada" both in English and French and preferably sung by a tenor.

Here's the first stanza of the Welsh anthem in English and Welsh. Composed by James James, the Welsh words are by Evan James, the English by A. P. Graves.

O land of my fathers, O land of my love,
Dear mother of minstrels who kindle and move,
And hero on hero, who at honour's proud call,
For freedom their lifeblood let fall.

Wales! Wales! O but my heart is with you!
As long as the sea
Your bulwark shall be,
To Cymru my heart shall be true.

Mae hen wlad fy nhadau yn anwyl i mi,
Gwlad beirdd a chantorion, enwogion o fri;
Ei gwrol rhyfelwyr, gwlad garwyr tra mad,
Tros ryddid collasant eu gwaed.

Gwlad, Gwlad, pleidiol wyf i'm gwlad,
Tra mor yn fur,
I'r bur hoff bau,
O bydded i'r heniaith barhau.
 
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Jan 2nd, 2001, 07:15 PM
  #17
Bob Brown
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I raided the record store.
And yep, O Canada is at the top of the list. I have known that song for years because it is sung frequently at hockey matches because of the Canadian teams in the NHL. And then, too, the Braves play the Expos frequently, and there was the famous incident in the World Series Game against the Blue Jays when someone hung the Maple Leaf upside down while O Canada was being played.
I think that has one has to rank with the Olympic ticket agent who refused to fill an order from New Mexico because it was a foreign country and he was not authorized to execute international sales.
 
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Jan 2nd, 2001, 07:39 PM
  #18
wes fowler
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Bob,
An American tourist stopping in a souvenir shop in Niagara Falls Canada noticed Canadian Maple Leaf flags for sale. "What are they?" she asked the sales clerk. "They're the Canadian flag, ma'am" the clerk replied. "Oh", sez the tourist, "they're really neat, do they come in blue?"

If you've got an hour or two to spare, check out the Colombian national anthem - darn thing goes on forever!
 
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Jan 2nd, 2001, 08:29 PM
  #19
elvira
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OK, for me, the most stirring rendition of the Marseillaise is from the movie Casablanca, when Yvonne starts singing over the German officers. Still makes my heart pound.

And "O Canada", in French and English, is like a second anthem to a die-hard Broons fan.

Somewhere I heard the Welsh national anthem sung by a Welsh children's choir, and thought "damn, that's a good one!"

Though technically not a national anthem, A Nation Once Again is more than stirring.
 
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Jan 3rd, 2001, 02:18 AM
  #20
Tony Hughes
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Bob

The Italian national anthem is called 'Inno Di Mameli' (hymn of Mameli) and is my favourite national anthem of all time anywhere and even beats 'Scotland the Brave' into second place.
 
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