John Ivatt in his January Presentation, showed how popular music could weave into forms of national anthems and how nationally important some music could be.
John said who needs a national anthem when you have composers like the Italian Verdi as in his Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves. Poland’s nationalism was shown in both Chopin’s Mazurka in C sharp minor and his Heroic Polonaise.
Then came military marches such as Glory of Prussia and Coburg March. Across the Atlantic national marches were found in Liberty Bell and Stars & Stripes Forever, whilst Haydn’s String Quartet in C Major reflected German nationalism.
Nationalistic music could be changed to something else with a new regime, or the music itself adopted by other composers. The National Anthem of the USSR as performed by The Red Army Choir illustrated the last in a tortuous history of Russian nationalism. In Berlioz’s choral arrangement Hymne des Marseillais, the Marseillaise started off as a form of heroic resistance before becoming the French National Anthem.
Rule Britannia became the theme for 5 Variations by Beethoven whilst Liszt, who came to this country as a student, wrote variations on God Save the Queen in 1841.
Patriotism had its effects in folk songs such as the UK’s My Love is Like a Red Red Rose. White Cliffs of Dover with Vera Lynn illustrated our patriotism in WWII and some of Ireland’s best loved songs such as Last Rose of Summer and Galway Bay illustrate Irishness.