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
theartsdesk is changing
Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. In September we reached our fourth birthday and feel that the time is now right, in line with other media outlets, to start asking our regular readers for a contribution to help us develop the site further. Theartsdesk has therefore moved to a partial subscription model. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 7,000 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.
Take an annual subscription now simply click here.
more Classical music
Festive celebrations as the great Cambridge choir brings seasonal Britten to London
Thoughtful concert context for a scheme to fill in the gaps of a crucial Bach manuscript
Dazzling early Britten paired with incandescent, urgent Elgar
Manchester team relishes Hispano-Latin sounds alongside a percussion tour de force
A seasonal cantata and an enchanting musical fairytale, along with British and Irish carols performed by an Austrian group
Classical violinist's seasonal crossover disc isn't without its pleasures
Cultured strings kicked into fuller life by mercurial Russian pianist
Modernism triumphant at Britain's foremost new-music festival
Two Hungarian octogenarians bring the house down
Dynamic piano variations, late romantic vocal music and a delightful meeting between two Parisiens
Distinguished broadcaster and documentary-maker celebrates the big birthday at home
The Swedish mezzo brings a taste of France to London's newest concert venue