Saturday, July 17, 2010

The State Anthem of Soviet Armenia

Like other republics of the Soviet Union at the time, Armenia had its own anthem, which was in use until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. The composer of the melody, Aram Khatchaturian, is also famous for other classical works he has composed, his most famous is probably the "Sabre Dance". The words were written by Armenac Sarkisyan, who went under the pseudonym "Sarmen".

The words to "Mer Hayrenik" (Our Fatherland), the present anthem of Armenia, was taken from a poem by Mikael Nalbandian. It was set to music by Barsegh Kanachyan long before Armenia adopted it as her anthem upon regaining her independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. The anthem is a modified version of the original song, which consisted of five clauses. Some of the words have also been changed appropriately to reflect the freedom and independence of the country. The anthem melody was found to date from the 19th century in what is now Istanbul, Turkey as avocal exercise for singers.

In 2006, a search was sent out for a new national anthem, as the criticisms against "Mer Hayrenik" was that it was only meant as a temporary anthem, was not composed by an Armenian, and does not reflect modern Armenia. One of the proposed candidates is the melody (but not the lyrics) of the anthem of Soviet Armenia by Khachaturian.

The first day cover above featuring the composer of Armenian anthem (in use 1944-1991), Aram Khatchaturian issued in 2003 to commemorate his 100th birth anniversary.