Friday, July 04, 2014

Music and a historical anniversary

As many history buffs know, a week ago was the centennial of the infamous assassination in Sarajevo that led to World War I. It also led to the downfall of four empires. Here are the stirring national anthems of the three great ones of central and eastern Europe:

The Imperial German Anthem, and stop acting shocked at the tune, you Brits:



It was the Prussian anthem pre-unification, too. That said, the words, coming from within a semi-autocratic government? They're laughable. As for the music, besides the snare drum we Americans would never associate with "America," but the British certainly would with "God Save the Queen," it's harmonized a lot different than the former, and a fair amount different from the latter. And, in a way I generally like. Lyrics and background at Wikipedia; lyrics were essentially stolen from Denmark.

And, the classic Austro-Hungarian anthem. Please don't act shocked at the tune. Franz Josef Haydn wrote "Gott Erhalte Franz den Kaiser" long before the Nazis stole the anthem, which, with reworked lyrics, is still the anthem of the Federal Republic today:



Classic. Sing along. The full lyrics are at the webpage. The lyrics are straightforward and not over the top.

Finally, the Czarist National Anthem.



If it sounds familiar, it should; it's adapted as the second theme of Tchaikovsky's Marche Slave. This particular recording doesn't have English words. In addition, I can't read Cyrillic well enough to sing along in Russia. History, and transliteration, at Wiki, with just two verses listed.

Other versions note this as the translation, by stanza: 1. God, save the Tsar! To the glorious one, long days Give on this earth! To the subduer of the proud, To the keeper of the weak To the comforter of everyone, Grant everything! 2. The land of the first throne, Orthodox Russia, God, do save! A harmonious reign for her, Calm in strength; And everything unworthy Drive away! 3. O, Providence! Blessing Grant to us! Aspiration to good, Humility in happiness, Patience in sorrow

As for history? In addition to American and European neo-Nazi groups having their own various YouTube channels, the dead WWI Empires do, too, in something reminiscent of the Lost Cause of the post-death Confederacy here in the U.S. That's especially true of the Romanovs and Hohenzollerns.

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