Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Vive la France

For at least twenty years on July 14th I have taken out a C.D. and played Hector Berlioz’ arrangement of the French National Anthem: "La Marseillaise".

It is a stirring anthem, with an incredible tune. In my opinion it is one of the greatest National Anthem tunes in the world.

It makes the tune of “God save our gracious Queen” sound very pedantic.

It makes the tune of the American National Anthem ( a tune “stolen” from a British drinking song) seem quite boring.

Forgive me if I assert that the British “God save…” is the most sing-able.

(Like it or not, Beethoven so liked “God save our…etc” that he wrote a whole set of variations on the melody).

But it is the French tune which stirs me most! And the arrangement by Berlioz is superb.

On this 14th July 2009 I ask you to lift your glass and say with me: “Vive la France”.
Our world would be greatly impoverished without France and the French people.

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