Watching You… put together last night’s little posting about Russia’s national anthem and the man who wrote it (or its music, anyhow: the current lyrics were apparently written by ‎one Sergey Mikhalkov‎ in 2000), my thoughts have turned again to the question of what is my favourite national anthem of all time — by which, of course, I mean the best of that tiny handful of such tunes that aren’t too musically pitiable for even patriotic words.

I’d like to make it clear that there are a couple of ‘runners up’ for the prize — and maybe we can explore those some other time — but as for the ultimate winner, my mind is pretty well made up; and I’m going to present the victorious tune here.

Now, I know what people will say when they find out what it is that I’ve chosen. They’ll say that it can’t possibly qualify as a national anthem because ‘it belongs to a country that doesn’t actually exist’…

But we all know that that isn’t true, don’t we…?

Here it is, with a bit of filmed context that leads up to the prizewinning item in its full and complete form, singing included. As often happens with the things I dig out of YouTube for these postings, I’ve had to put together this demonstration from short clips that have been extracted or assembled by unknown others; at one point, though, I’ve switched quite voluntarily to a curious version that combines a spoken Russian translation with visible English subtitles — so you can see and read the words that, drowned out as they largely are in the actual mix, will have gone more or less unperceived and unappreciated by many millions of viewers over three decades and more. Yes, not for the first time in our present era, something from Russia is doing you a big favour: the words, as you’ll see, are by no means unimportant — which is undoubtedly why someone decided you didn’t need to be able to hear them clearly

As for the concluding clip, I’ve chosen it not only because it includes the words that belong with Dominic Muldowney’s splendidly appropriate and knowing tune, but also because it manages to make a very necessary point that mere words could not present so clearly or resonantly.

Here we go. Just play the clips in order; you’ll see how they fit together…


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