Artist News

London Philharmonic record every national anthem (more or less)

By | Published on Thursday 29 September 2011

London 2012

The London Philharmonic Orchestra has recorded no less than 200 national anthems ready for next year’s London Olympics. The recordings, recorded in just 52 hours at the Abbey Road Studios, will be used during medal presentation ceremonies at next year’s games. Though every anthem will also be played at the opening events of both the Olympics and Paralympics, so if any countries fail to win any medals, at least the Phil’s efforts won’t be wasted.

According to the BBC, Olympic rules dictate that each anthem is between 60 and 90 seconds. As the shortest, Uganda, is eighteen seconds long normally, and the longest, Uruguay, runs for nearly seven minutes, that involved some reworking. Though original arrangements were being used anyway, partly to give the performances a fresh spin, and partly to avoid any copyright issues around existing arrangements.

Conductor Philip Sheppard had 45 meetings with reps from all over the world to discuss his adaptations of each anthem. Meanwhile, the orchestra had a map on the floor of the studio so they could mark off each anthem as it was recorded. Sheppard told the Beeb: “My geography has definitely been sharpened!”