Saturday, July 3, 2010

The National Anthem of Moldova

This neighbour of Romania, with which also shares a language (called "Romanian" in Romania and "Moldovan" in Moldova), and once proposed to reintegrate with that nation, also used the Romanian anthem for the first few years after its 1991 independence from the Soviet Union. Its new anthem, "Limba Noastra" (Our Tongue) was adopted in 1994. Originally a 12 verse poem, only stanzas 1, 2, 5, 9, and 12 make up the present-day anthem. The music was composed by Alexandru Cristi and the lyrics by Alexei Mateevici.

Alexe (or Alexei) Mateevici (March 27, 1888-August 24, 1917) was a Romanian poet. He was born in the town Căinari, in Eastern Bessarabia, which was part of the Russian Empire, now in the Republic of Moldova. He studied at the theological school of Chişinău, and published his first poems (Ţăranii (Peasants), Eu cânt (I sing), Ţara (The Country) in the newspaper Basarabia, where he also published two articles on Moldavian folklore. Mateevici later published several articles on religion in Moldavia.

Mateevici went on to study at the Theological Academy of Kiev, from which he graduated in 1914. In that year he married Teodora Borisovna Novitski. He returned to Chişinău, and became a Greek language teacher at the theological school. Mateevici was a strong supporter of the Romanian identity of the native population of Bessarabia.

In the summer of 1917 Mateevici wrote several poems including Văd prăbuşirea, Cântec de leagăn (Cradle Song), Basarabenilor, Frunza nucului, Unora. On July 17, he wrote the poem Limba noastră (Our Language), today the national anthem of the Republic of Moldova. Less than a month later he died of epidemic typhus.

The picture above is a First day cover of the anthem lyricist to commemorate his 120th birth anniversary. This was issued by Moldova in 2008.