Notes & Reviews:
From time to time, the general idea gains currency that national anthems are nowadays an anachronism. According to the critics' arguments, these anthems were the product of a period of awakening nationalism. Today, however, there is wide endeavor to overcome narrow, national ways of thinking and acting, with the great aim of promoting the peaceful community and union of nations, to realise which should be the first principle for politicians all over the world. Criticism of this kind may surely be justified, considered from the standpoint of those seeking a United Europe. On the other hand we must not underestimate the sanctity accorded national anthems, carefully guarded symbols which enjoy the same respect and protection as national flags. They express love of the fatherland, pride in the native country, and trust in the nation. This is the reason for the sincerity with which people regard and sing their own national anthem, and the respect accorded to the anthems of other peoples. The solemn, dignified start and close of each official meeting between peoples divided by national borders is provided by national anthems. Yet when before have meetings between representatives of different nations been as frequent as today? Peoples meet at sporting events, at international youth gatherings, or at political conferences, heads of the states and delegations are received, cultural weeks and festivals are celebrated, and on such occasions the national anthems surely contribute to the understanding of other peoples, as well as offering the occasion for personal contact among individuals. Nothing, then, is more important in our time than mutual understanding, since misunderstandings and prejudices have in the past brought so much disaster to the nations of the world. Since publication of the CD-set Complete National Anthems of the World, Vols. 1-6 (Marco Polo 8.206001) in 1998, the following independent states have introduced new national anthems, restored from former anthems of the earlier history of their respective countries: Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cape Verde, Congo-Kinshasa (formerly Zaïre), Georgia, Iraq, Mozambique, Qatar, Russia, Rwanda, Somalia and Turkmenistan. It has therefore been necessary to produce a complete new set to replace the previous series. In addition to the national anthem of the newly independent state of East Timor, the Grand Ducal Hymn of Luxembourg and the Swedish Royal Song, the previous set furthermore included many state hymns of autonomous dependencies, overseas territories, other regional administrative bodies and ethnic groups, as well as the hymns of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, the United Nations Organization, the European Union and the International Olympic Committee. The anthems are performed by the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, Bratislava under the conductor Peter Breiner (born 1957), who has arranged and orchestrated all the anthems with great sensitivity. It is a highly successful undertaking which will arouse the enthusiasm of music collectors, ethnologists, heads of protocol and sports promoters.
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