Argentine National Anthem

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Himno Nacional Argentino
English: Argentine National Anthem
Himno Nacional Argentino.jpg
The Argentine National Anthem being played for the first time in Mariquita Sánchez's house. Painting by Pedro Subercaseaux.

National anthem of  Argentina
Lyrics Vicente López y Planes, 1812
Music Blas Parera, 1813
Adopted 1813
Music sample

The original Argentine National Anthem (Spanish: Himno Nacional Argentino) was named Marcha Patriótica (Patriotic March), later renamed Canción Patriótica Nacional (National Patriotic Song), and then Canción Patriótica (Patriotic Song). It has been called Himno Nacional Argentino since it was published with that name in 1847. Its lyrics were written by the Buenos Aires-born politician Vicente López y Planes and the music was composed by the Spanish musician Blas Parera.[1] The work was adopted as the sole official song on May 11, 1813, three years after the May Revolution; May 11 is therefore Anthem Day in Argentina.

Some first, quite different, anthems were composed from 1810; a version was then introduced in 1813 which was used throughout the nineteenth century. The present, much shorter, anthem comprises only the first and last verses and the chorus of the 1813 Patriotic March, omitting much emotional text about the struggle for independence from Spain (with strong arms they tear to pieces the arrogant Iberian lion).

History[edit]

Music sheet found in Santa Ana de Velasco, Bolivia. This is the oldest sheet found of the anthem outside Argentina.

The first anthem was the Patriotic March, published on November 15, 1810 in the Gazeta de Buenos Ayres. It had lyrics by Esteban de Luca and music by Blas Parera. This original anthem made no reference to the name of Argentina (the country was not formally named "República Argentina" until 1826, although it was referred to as such) or an independentist will, and talked instead about Spain being conquered by France in the Peninsular War, the absolutist restoration begun by the Council of Regency, and the need to keep the republican freedoms achieved so far in the Americas: "Spain was victim / of the plotting Gaul / because to the tyrants / she bent her neck / If there treachery / has doomed a thousands cities / let sacred freedom and union reign here / Let the father to the sons / be able to say / enjoy rights / that I did not enjoy".[2]

In mid-1812, the ruling triumvirate ordered the Buenos Aires Cabildo to commission a national anthem. Cayetano Rodríguez, a Franciscan friar, wrote a text that was approved on 4 August. The Catalan musician Blas Parera, music director of the local theater, set it to music and performed it for the first time with the orchestra he conducted on 1 November.[3]

Less than a year later the Assembly of Year XIII estimated that the song was not effective enough to serve as a national anthem. On 6 March 1813 several poets were asked to submit lyrics. The poem by the lawyer Vicente López y Planes was unanimously considered the best. It was approved as the "sole national march" (única marcha nacional) on May 11, 1813. Parera was asked to compose a new musical setting around the same date. He must have finished the piece in a few days. Oral tradition has it that the premiere took place on May 14, 1813 at the home of the aristocrat Mariquita Sánchez de Thompson, but there is no documentary evidence of that.[4] If this episode is true, then Parera, contrary to certain misconceptions, wrote quickly and under no visible coercion. The published song sheet is dated 14 May 1813. He again conducted the official premiere in the theater on May 28, and was paid 200 pesos.[5]

The song includes a line that has given rise to controversy: Buenos--Ayres se [o]pone á la frente De los pueblos de la ínclita union. In the manuscript and an early printed song-sheet the word opone is used; a slightly later version of the song-sheet correcting obvious errors such as spelling mistakes was issued with the same date of 14 May 1813, but with opone changed to pone. The meaning reverses: "Buenos Aires opposes the front of the people of the union" to "Buenos Aires positions itself at the front ...". The original opone has been interpreted as advancing part of the centralist views in Buenos Aires, but has also been considered a "tragical misprint".[6] In many other lines the anthem goes beyond the Argentine theater of the Spanish American wars of independence and references events in Mexico, Central America, Northern South America, and Upper Peru.[7] The growing ideas of independence are reflected in lines such as "On the surface of the earth rises a glorious new nation, her head is crowned with laurels, and a Lion lies defeated at her feet". This portrays not just Spanish absolutism, but Spain itself, as the enemy.[8]

The composition was then known as Canción Patriótica Nacional (National Patriotic Song), and later simply as Canción Patriótica (Patriotic Song), but in Juan Pedro Esnaola's early arrangement, dated around 1848, it appeared under the title Himno Nacional Argentino, and the name has been retained until today.[9] In the complete version of the Anthem of May (as was christened by López) it is noted that the political vision portrayed is not only Argentine, but Latin American. The lyrics are ardently pro-independence and anti-Spanish, as the country was at that time fighting for its independence from Spain.[10]

The song became popular immediately. Within ten years documented performances took place throughout Argentina, and also in Chile, Peru, and Colombia until they had their own anthems.[11] Different versions emerged, making mass singing difficult; several reforms were then proposed. In 1860 Esnaola was commissioned to create an official version. He took the task to heart, making many changes to the music, including a slower tempo, a fuller texture, alterations to the melody, and enrichment of the harmony. In 1927 a committee produced a historicist version that undid several of Esnaola's changes, but introduced new problems in the sung line. After a heated public debate fueled by the newspaper La Prensa, this version was rejected and, following the recommendations of a second committee, Esnaola's arrangement was officially reinstated.[12] In 1944 it was confirmed as the official anthem.

Throughout the 19th century the anthem was sung in its entirety. However, once harsh feelings against Spain had dissipated, and the country had become home to many Spanish immigrants, a modification was introduced by a decree of President Julio Argentino Roca on March 30, 1900:

"Without producing alterations in the lyrics of the National Anthem, there are in it verses that perfectly describe the concept that nations universally have regarding their anthems in peaceful times, and that harmonize with the serenity and dignity of thousands of Spanish that share our living, those that can and must be preferred to be sung in official parties, for they respect the traditions and the law in no offense to anyone, the President of the Republic decrees that:

In official or public parties, as well as in public schools, shall be sung only the first and last verses and the chorus of the National Song sanctioned by the General Assembly on May 11, 1813."

The words strongly attacking Spain were no longer sung.[13]

Usage[edit]

Performance of the anthem is mandatory during all official events, and Argentines in attendance are expected to stand up and sing it. Radio broadcasters voluntarily perform the anthem at midnight, while TV channels do so before closing down their daily broadcast. On national holidays, it is mandatory to perform the anthem at midnight and noon.

The anthem is ruled in Argentine law by Decree 10302/1944.[14]

The rock musician Charly García broke legal regulations dealing with the reproduction of the song when he included an idiosyncratic cover version in his 1990 album Filosofía barata y zapatos de goma, stirring much controversy.[15] In 1998 various Argentine artists reedited the anthem and other patriotic songs in the joint album El Grito Sagrado. Other singers followed on their footsteps recreating the piece in their own ways.

A line from the original anthem was used as the Argentine title of the 1928 film known in English as The Charge of the Gauchos.

The anthem appears at the beginning of the 1985 movie The Official Story, Academy Award winner.

Lyrics[edit]

Original version[edit]

Several slightly different renderings of the original version, Marcha Patriótica, have been published, some with older spellings modernised and so on.[16] The very first version published[17] had some errors. In addition to spelling mistakes ("imbasor" for "invasor" in the printed version, but not the manuscript[18]), an error that was particularly unfortunate in light of later conflicts was "Buenos--Ayres se opone a la frente de los pueblos ..." in the manuscript instead of "... se pone ..."; "Buenos Aires opposes the front of the peoples" instead of "Buenos Aires puts itself at the front of the peoples".[6] A "corrected" original version bearing the same date of 14 May 1813 (still with some clear errors, such as sonóro, cien for temples of the head, and inconsistencies such as both alas and álas) is transcribed below, as printed.[19]

Marcha Patriótica (1813) English translation

  Oíd, mortales el grito sagrado
Libertad, libertad, libertad:
Oíd el ruido de rotas cadenas,
ved en trono a la noble igualdad.
Se levanta en la faz de la tierra
Una nueva gloriosa nación,
Coronada su cien de laureles,
Y a sus plantas rendido un Leon.
            CORO
      Sean eternos los laureles,
    Que supimos conseguir:
    Coronados de gloria vivamos,
    O juremos con gloria morir.

  De los nuevos campeones los rostros
Marte mismo parece animar;
La grandeza se anida en sus pechos:
A su marcha todo hacen temblar.
Se conmueven del Inca las tumbas,
Y en sus huesos revive el ardor,
Lo que vé renovando a sus hijos
De la Patria el antiguo esplendor.
Sean eternos los laureles &c.
  Pero sierras y muros se sienten
Retumbar con horrible fragor:
Todo el país se conturba por gritos
De venganza, de guerra, y furor.
En los fieros tiranos la envidia
Escupió su pestífera hiel,
Su estandarte sangriento levantan
provocando a la lid más cruel.
Sean eternos los laureles &c.
  ¿No los veis sobre México, y Quito
Arrojarse con saña tenaz?
¿Y quál lloran, bañados en sangre
Potosí, Cochabamba, y La Paz?
¿No los veis sobre el triste Caracas
Luto, y llanto, y muerte esparcir?
¿No los veis devorando qual fieras
Todo pueblo que logran rendir?
Sean eternos los laureles &c.
  A vosotros se atreve Argentinos,
El orgullo del vil invasor.
Vuestros campos yá pisa contando
Tantas glorias hollar vencedor.
Mas los bravos, que unidos juraron
Su feliz libertad sostener,
A estos tigres sedientos de sangre
Fuertes pechos sabrán oponer.
Sean eternos los laureles &c.
  El valiente Argentino á las armas
Corre ardiendo con brío y valor:
El clarín de la guerra, qual trueno
En los campos del Sud resonó.
Buenos--Ayres se pone á la frente
De los pueblos de la ínclita union,
Y con brazos robustos desgarran
Al ibérico altivo Leon.
Sean eternos los laureles &c.
  San José, San Lorenzo, Suipacha,
Ambas Piedras, Salta, y Tucumán,
La Colonia y las mismas murallas
Del tirano en la banda Oriental.
Son letreros eternos que dicen:
Aquí el brazo argentino triunfó:
Aquí el fiero opresor de la Patria
su cerviz orgullosa dobló.
Sean eternos los laureles &c.
  La victoria al guerrero argentino
con sus álas brillantes cubrió,
Y azorado á su vista el tirano
Con infamia á la fuga se dió.
Sus banderas, sus armas se rinden
por trofeos a la libertad,
Y sobre alas de gloria alza el pueblo
Trono digno a su gran majestad.
Sean eternos los laureles &c.
  Desde un polo hasta el otro resuena
De la fama el sonóro clarín,
Y de América el nombre enseñando
Les repite, mortales, oíd:
Yá su trono dignísimo abrieron
Las provincias unidas del Sud.
Y los libres del mundo responden
Al gran pueblo argentino salud.
Sean eternos los laureles &c.

  Es copia Dr Bernardo Velez Secretario del Gobierno de Intendencia.
    Buenos Ayres mayo 14 de 1813. Imprenta de Niños Expósitos.

Hear, mortals, the sacred cry:
"Freedom, freedom, freedom"
Hear the sound of broken chains,
see noble equality enthroned.
On the face of the earth rises
A glorious new nation.
Her head is crowned with laurels,
And a Lion lies defeated at her feet.
            CHORUS
May the laurels be eternal,
that we knew how to win.
Let us live crowned with glory,
or swear to die gloriously.

The faces of the new champions
seem animated by Mars himself
Greatness nestles in their breasts:
as they march everything trembles.
The tombs of the dead Inca are shaken up,
and in their bones the ardour revives
which renews their children
of the Fatherland the ancient splendour.
May the laurels be eternal etc.
But hills and walls are heard
to echo with awful clamour:
the whole country is shaken by cries
of revenge, of war, and fury.
On fierce tyrants envy
spat its pestilential bile;
their bloody standard they raise
provoking the most cruel fighting.
May the laurels be eternal etc.
Do you not see them on Mexico and Quito
throwing themselves with tenacious cruelty?
And how weep, soaked in blood,
Potosí, Cochabamba and La Paz?
Do you not see them over sad Caracas
spread mourning, and tears, and death?
Do you not see them devouring as wild beasts
all peoples who they defeat?
May the laurels be eternal etc.
It dares face you, Argentines,
the pride of the vile invader.
Your lands it tramples, boasting
of many glories as victor.
But the brave, who united swore
their happy freedom to sustain,
these blood-thirsty tigers
they will confront with strong chests.
May the laurels be eternal etc.
The valiant Argentine to arms
runs burning with zest and valour,
the bugle of war, as thunder,
in the fields of the South resounded.
Buenos Aires puts itself in the lead of
the people of the illustrious Union,
and with strong arms they tear to pieces
the arrogant Iberian lion.
May the laurels be eternal etc.
San José, San Lorenzo, Suipacha,
both Piedras, Salta and Tucumán,
La Colonia and even the walls
of the tyrant on the Eastern bank†.
They are eternal signboards that say:
"Here Argentine hands triumphed,
here the fierce oppressor of the Fatherland
his proud neck bent".
May the laurels be eternal etc.
Victory enveloped the Argentine warrior
with its shining wings,
and stunned at this sight the tyrant
with infamy took to flight.
His flags, his arms surrendered
as trophies to freedom,
and on wings of glory the people raise
a throne worthy of its great majesty.
May the laurels be eternal etc.
From pole to pole resounds
the sonorous bugle of fame,
and showing the name of America
it repeats "Mortals, hear!:
Their noble throne have now opened
the united provinces of the South."
And the free people of the world reply:
"To the great Argentine people, hail!"
May the laurels be eternal etc.

"Eastern bank" of the Uruguay River.

Modern version[edit]

The following is the modern version, adopted in 1924, omitting the long anti-Spanish middle section.

Abbreviated modern version (1924) English translation

Oíd, mortales, el grito sagrado:
"¡Libertad! ¡Libertad! ¡Libertad!"
Oíd el ruido de rotas cadenas
ved en trono a la noble igualdad

Ya su trono dignísimo abrieron
las Provincias Unidas del Sud
y los libres del mundo responden:
"¡Al gran pueblo argentino, salud!"
"¡Al gran pueblo argentino, salud!"
Y los libres del mundo responden:
"¡Al gran pueblo argentino, salud!"
Y los libres del mundo responden:
"¡Al gran pueblo argentino, salud!"

Sean eternos los laureles,
que supimos conseguir,
que supimos conseguir.
Coronados de gloria vivamos
o juremos con gloria morir!
O juremos con gloria morir!
O juremos con gloria morir!

Hear, mortals, the sacred cry:
"Freedom! Freedom! Freedom!"
Hear the sound of broken chains
See noble equality enthroned.

Their most worthy throne have now opened
The United Provinces of the South.
And the free people of the world reply:
"To the great Argentine people, hail!"
"To the great Argentine people, hail!"
And the free ones of the world reply:
"To the great Argentine people, hail!"
And the free ones of the world reply:
"To the great Argentine people, hail!"

May the laurels be eternal
that we were able to achieve
that we were able to achieve
Let us live crowned in glory
or let us swear in glory to die
Or let us swear in glory to die
Or let us swear in glory to die.

Short instrumental versions[edit]

Due to the excessive length of the official version, in international events such as the Olympic Games, association football games, and the Rugby World Cup, only the instrumental introduction (which lasts 1 minute 6 seconds) is played. Another variation is to play the musical break that leads into the chorus, the chorus itself, and the coda. Although traditional, these arrangements are not recognized by Argentine law.

Recordings[edit]

Recording by the United States Navy Band

Recording by the United States Navy Band

Problems playing these files? See media help.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Símbolos Nacionales" [National Symbols] (in Spanish). Presidency of the Argentine Nation. Retrieved 21 November 2011. "La necesidad de tener una canción patriótica, que surgió con la Revolución de Mayo y que el Triunvirato supo comprender, se ve plasmada hoy en el Himno Nacional Argentino, con música de Blas Parera, letra de Vicente López y Planes, y arreglo de Juan P. Esnaola." 
  2. ^ Galasso, Norberto (2000). Seamos libres y lo demás no importa nada [Let us be free and nothing else matters] (in Spanish). Buenos Aires: Colihue. p. 103. ISBN 978-950-581-779-5. "España fue presa / del Galo sutil / porque a los tiranos / rindió la cerbiz. / Si allá la perfidia / perdió a pueblos mil / libertad sagrada / y unión reine aquí / El padre a sus hijos / pueda ya decir / Gozad de derechos / que no conocí." 
  3. ^ Vega, Carlos (1962). El Himno Nacional Argentino [The Argentine National Anthem] (in Spanish). Buenos Aires: Eudeba. pp. 15–18. 
  4. ^ Galasso, p. 102.
  5. ^ Vega, El Himno Nacional Argentino, pp. 22–27.
  6. ^ a b The Patriotic March written by Vicente López: Depiction of a historical scene of tension. Analysis of the original Marcha Patriótica, in Spanish, with abstract in English.
  7. ^ Galasso, pp. 102–103.
  8. ^ Galasso, p. 103.
  9. ^ Vega, El Himno Nacional Argentino, pp. 88–89.
  10. ^ "Argentina". NationalAnthems.me. Retrieved 21 November 2011. "The original lyrics of the anthem included harsh attacks on Spain, the former colonial power." 
  11. ^ Vega, El Himno Nacional Argentino, pp. 30–41.
  12. ^ Buch, Esteban (January 1994). O juremos con gloria morir: historia de una épica de estado [Or swear to die gloriously: history of a state epic] (in Spanish). Buenos Aires: Editorial Sudamericana. pp. 103–114. ISBN 978-950-07-0964-4. 
  13. ^ Buch, O juremos con gloria morir, pp. 87–92.
  14. ^ "Decreto 10302/1944" [Decree 10302/1944] (in Spanish). Ministry of Economy and Production. Retrieved 21 November 2011. 
  15. ^ Buch, O juremos con gloria morir, pp. 147–156.
  16. ^ Pereyra, Fernando. "¡Oíd Mortales!..." [Hear mortals!...]. Dr. Jorge Horacio Gentile (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 2013-12-02. Retrieved 5 November 2014.  A modern rendering of the original version, with some changes to wording and punctuation
  17. ^ Early published version of the Marcha Patriótica, with errors, including "se opone a la frente" instead of "se pone a la frente".
  18. ^ Image of manuscript page 1 page 2
  19. ^ Image of the 14 May 1813 sheet with the words of the Marcha Patriótica

External links[edit]