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
Glamorous visitors bring a crazy concerto, luminous Mahler, and a bit of chrome-plating
Superlative performance of Sibelius's early epic coincides with Tolkien publication
Beethoven proves immune to Ticciati magic
Perfection within limits from a great conductor, pianist and chamber orchestra
Contemporary repertoire from Iceland, Viennese symphonies and Spanish music from France
An emotional hail-and-farewell to the Proms from a superb German orchestra
Blocks of Bartók hit hard, but an orchestrated slab of earlyish Shostakovich falls flat
Immersive Bach experience on the Edinburgh Fringe
Compelling Shostakovich rounds out a great partnership's weekend at the Proms
The masterly Latvian and his American orchestra stun in toweringly great Mahler
A bracing recital of minimalism and modernism from a fine quartet of piano and percussion
Venerable chorus survives noisy epic