To be honest, if there is one thing that I miss about the fall of the Soviet Union, it was one of the most stirring national anthems of the 20th century. It was something I yearned to hear after hearing it the first time at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Fortunately, there is a site where one can download several different versions of it!
Of course, we all know that I’m not the only one who misses it—the Russian Parliament voted to adopt the melody in 1999 as the basis for a new national anthem.
But to be honest, I like the kind of stuff the Russians adopted for their national hymns. My favorite pre-communist national anthem from Russia is the hymn called “God Save the Czar,” which was famously quoted in the 1812 Overture. They also adapted “God Save the King/Queen” which was a 19th Century fad. Yes, I also like the kind of stuff the Brits adopted for national hymns. Here’s another one: “And did these feet in ancient time…”
Yes, I collect sound clips of national anthems too. There’s one particular favorite of mine, “O Canada,” for which a certain Philippine university owes Canada some, um, credit. (Just wondering, everyone: when it is published in programs for instance, does it mention “Adapted from ‘O Canada,’ music by Calixa Lavallee”?)