The best and worst national anthems? Time to award the medals | Classical music reviews, news & interviews
The best and worst national anthems? Time to award the medals
The tunes that inspire gold, and those that limp home. Do you agree?
The onerous task of recording all 205 national anthems for playing at the Olympics medal ceremonies has fallen on the London Philharmonic Orchestra. An edited group of 36 players has recorded the anthems at the Abbey Road Studios in 60 gruelling recording hours over six days. But which would try their patience most?
The anthems - every one known in the world, good, bad and indifferent - have been arranged by British composer and cellist Phillip Sheppard, who did the British anthem arrangement for the Beijing Olympics closing ceremony. Judging from a selection below, he would be giving the LPO trumpets plenty to do.
Sebastian Coe, chair of the London 2012, and a former multiple gold-medallist as a runner, described the emotional impact of hearing his national anthem as he stood on the winner’s podium. “The playing of anthems is one of the most emotive parts of any Games, and it was an incredible moment for me at the Moscow and Los Angeles games.”
With the Paralympics following immediately after the Olympic Games, the winning anthems that will be heard most often include some of the dullest tunes - the British national anthem is widely rated one of the most musically disappointing, and it's hoped that more than 30 gold medals will go to Team GB.
10 Gold-Medal National Anthems
Russia - inspiring
Italy - jaunty
Japan - moving
Bangladesh - lilting
Jamaica - stately
Israel - tragic
France - rousing
Hungary - soulful
Cameroon - bouncy
Bulgaria - tear-jerking
5 Wooden Spoon Anthems
Subscribe to theartsdesk.com
Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £2.95 per month or £25 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.
To take an annual subscription now simply click here.
And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?
more Classical music
Riotous humanity in Maxwell Davies’s farewell community opera
Pianist-curator Víkingur Ólafsson goes wandering with friends
German ambient music and two discs of 20th century symphonies
Premiere of Jonathan Dove's 'A Brief History of Creation' enchants
Birds, Messiaen and a much-loved artistic director dazzle from dawn to midnight
Transcendent slow movements, but questions remain
Glasgow's frenetic pre-summer classical bash just gets bigger and better
Siberian piano music, Gershwin's greatest hits and a starrily cast light opera
Relics brought to life in the Museum of Childhood
A top Turkish orchestra and a legendary native pianist do their great city proud
Aldeburgh Festival opens with a ravishing night of music and physical theatre
A soundtrack for juggling, Gallic eccentricity and the return of Pittsburgh's finest