Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Korean Anthem Composer in Meter Cover

The National anthem of South Korea is called 'Aegukga' which literally means "The Song of Love for the Country". Even though Aegukga is sung as the national anthem, the song has not yet achieved official status. The music of the National anthem of South Korea was composed by Ahn Eaktay but there is no surety about who actually wrote the lyrics of the anthem. Some believe that the lyrics were written either by Yun Chiho, a politician or by An Chang-Ho, pro-independence leader and educator.

The original lyrics of the national anthem was probably written around 1907 in order to boost a spirit of loyalty and independence, as the nation encountered threats of foreign assault. Over the years, the lyrics have been revised by various leaders and evolved into what is sung today. Initially the anthem was sung to the tune of the Scottish folk song, Auld Lang Syne, taught by the American missionaries. However, a Korean composer named Ahn Eak-Tai considered it inappropriate to use the tune of another country's folk song and therefore composed a new tune. The new tune was adopted by the government in exile and since the founding of the Republic of Korea in 1948; Koreans have sung the Aegukga to the new music at all official events.

Three years following the liberation from Japanese rule, the new 'Aegukga' was adopted under the Presidential Decree of 1948, by the then President Syngman Rhee. The National anthem of South Korea consists of four verses with chorus, although only the first verse and chorus are generally sung. The anthem is a national symbol of South Korea which has been sung by Koreans for almost a century, to commemorate the patriotism of the nation's ancestors.

Above is the Korean anthem composer Ahn Eak-tai in meter cover in 2006.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

"Jerusalem of Gold"

Naomi Shemer (1930-2004) - the most readily identified artist in the world of Israeli music following the establishment of the State. She wrote and composed hundreds of songs that became Israeli classics thanks to her wonderful integration of words and melodies. Her most famous song - "Jerusalem of Gold" - has become, in fact, a second "National Anthem" in Israel.

Jerusalem of Gold" (Yerushalayim Shel Zahav) was written by Naomi Shemer in 1967. The original song described the Jewish people's 2000-year longing to return to Jerusalem; Shemer added a final verse after the Six-Day War to celebrate Jerusalem's unification under Israeli control.

Naomi Shemer wrote the original song for the Israeli Music Festival on 15 May 1967, the night after Israel's nineteenth Independence Day. She chose the then-unknown Shuli Nathan to sing the song. At that time, the Old City was under Jordanian rule; Jews had been barred from entering, and many holy sites had been desecrated. Only three weeks after the song was published, the Six-Day War broke out. The song was the battle cry and morale booster of the Israeli troops. Shemer even sang it for them before the war and festival, making them among the first in the world to hear it.

On 7 June, the Israel Defense Forces captured the eastern part of Jerusalem and the Old City from the Jordanians. When Shemer heard the paratroopers singing "Jerusalem of Gold" at the Western Wall, she wrote a final verse, reversing the phrases of lamentation found in the second verse. The line about shofars sounding from the Temple Mount is a reference to an event that actually took place on 7 June.

The song has been translated loosely into many languages. It was also chosen as the "Song of the Year" in Israel in 1967. The song is the corps song of the Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps. The corps sings it before every competition.

The stamp above (block) features Naomi Shemer singing issued in 2004. Below is Shemer,part of a sheet of musician, composers, poets and singers.

"God Bless America", America's Unofficial Anthem

With this 2010 stamp, the U.S. Postal Service honors Kate Smith, the celebrated singer and entertainer whose signature song, “God Bless America” (composed by Irving Berlin), has been called America´s unofficial national anthem. The stamp art duplicates artwork created for the cover of a CD titled “Kate Smith: The Songbird of the South.” The artwork was based on a photograph of Smith taken in the 1960s.

Berlin originally wrote the song in 1918 while serving in the U.S. Army at Camp Upton in Yaphank, New York, but decided that it did not fit in a revue called Yip Yip Yaphank, so he set it aside. The lyrics at that time included the line, "Make her victorious on land and foam, God bless America..." as well as "Stand beside her and guide her, to the right with the light from above."

Music critic Jody Rosen comments that a 1906 Jewish dialect novelty song, "When Mose with His Nose Leads the Band", contains a six-note fragment that is "instantly recognizable as the opening strains of "God Bless America"". He interprets this as an example of Berlin's "habit of interpolating bits of half-remembered songs into his own numbers." Berlin, born Israel Baline, had himself written several Jewish-themed novelty tunes.

In 1938, with the rise of Hitler, Berlin, who was Jewish, and a first-generation European immigrant, felt it was time to revive it as a "peace song", and it was introduced on an Armistice Day broadcast in 1938 sung by Kate Smith, on her radio show. Berlin had made some minor changes; by this time, "to the right" might have been considered a call to the political right, so he substituted "through the night" instead. He also provided an introduction that is now rarely heard but which Smith always used: "While the storm clouds gather far across the sea / Let us swear allegiance to a land that's free / Let us all be grateful for a land so fair, / As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer."

More than just the dramatic words and melody, the arrangement for Kate Smith's performance was accompanied by full band, progressing into a grand march tempo, with trumpets triple reinforcing the harmonies between stanzas: the dramatic build-up ends on the final exposed high note, which Kate Smith sang in the solo as a sustained a cappella note, with the band then joining for the finale.

The song was a hit; there was even a movement to make "God Bless America" the national anthem of the United States. However, there was strong opposition by conservative southerners as well as conservatives who lived in rural areas where there were no Jews living in it, stating that because Irving Berlin was a foreigner and a Jew, that they would not accept their national anthem to be composed by a member of the minority class. Congress would have had to repeal the "Star Spangled Banner" in both houses of congress by two-thirds of the votes, which they lacked to this very day.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Jenneval- Belgian Anthem Lyricist

Louis Alexandre Dechet (Lyon, 20 January 1801 - Lier, 18 October 1830) was a French actor and is known as author of the text of the Brabançonne, the Belgian national anthem. His pseudonym was Jenneval, possibly named after the drama Jenneval, ou le Barnevelt français (1769) of Louis Sébastien Mercier.

Dechet worked in Ajaccio, Marseille and in 1826 at the Paris Odéon. Via Rijsel he finally came to Brussels, where he played at La Monnaie. In 1828 he returned to Paris in order to work at the Comédie Française, but returned to Brussels immediately after the July Revolution in 1830. He there served with the city guard which was responsible for maintaining law and order.

Dechet is said to have written the text of the Brabançonne during the first revolutionary gatherings at the café "L'Aigle d'Or" in the Brussels Greepstraat in August of 1830, shortly after the performance of the opera La Muette de Portici, which triggered the Belgian revolution.

During the Belgian Revolution Dechet became a volunteer in the revolutionary army and joined the corps of Frenchman Charles Niellon. He died during a combat against the Dutch near Lier. On the Martelarenplein in Brussels a column honouring Dechet is to be found, which was created by Alfred Crick and inaugurated in 1897.

The postal card above shows Louis Alexandre Dechet aka Jenneval, the Belgian anthem lyricist (French Version).

Monday, August 16, 2010

Hymn to Liberty- The Longest National Anthem in the World

The Hymn to Liberty (Ýmnos is tīn Eleftherian) is a poem written by Dionýsios Solomós in 1823 that consists of 158 stanzas and is the longest national anthem in the world, set to music by Nikolaos Mantzaros. In 1865, the first two stanzas officially became the national anthem of Greece and later also that of the Republic of Cyprus. According to the Constitution of Cyprus, the Greek national anthem is used in the presence of the Greek Cypriot president (or other Greek Cypriot), and the Turkish national anthem is used in the presence of the Turkish Cypriot vice-president. Cyprus stopped using the Turkish national anthem, however, when Turkish Cypriots broke away from the Government in 1963. Hymn to Liberty was also the Greek Royal Anthem (since 1864).

The hymn was set to music in 1865 by the Corfiot operatic composer Nikolaos Mantzaros, who composed two choral versions, a long one for the whole poem and a short one for the first two stanzas; the latter is the one adopted as the National Anthem of Greece. This anthem has been performed at every closing ceremony of an Olympics, to pay tribute to Greece as the birthplace of the modern Games.

Above is a postal card of the Greek national anthem in French.

The National Anthem of Australia

A prolific composer, Scottish-born Peter Dodds McCormick was moved to compose a national anthem for Australia when, having attended a concert of the world's anthems, there was no anthem for Australia. His original lyrics heavily emphasized Australia's ties to Britain (as Australia was a British colony at the time). Upon Australia's inauguration as a separate Commonwealth on January 1, 1901, the song was performed, but the British "God Save the Queen" was still the official anthem of Australia. At this time, the third verse of McCormick's original work was changed.

While "Advance Australia Fair" remained popular with the people in the decades following, no official national anthem other than "God Save the Queen" was declared. In 1974 the Australian Bureau of Statistics conducted a national opinion poll of 60,000 and in 1977 a plebiscite for a national song was conducted. On each occasion, Advance Australia Fair was the preferred option (the other choices were the existing anthem "God Save the Queen" and the popular national songs "Song of Australia" and "Waltzing Mathilda"), and it was in consideration of such support that Advance Australia Fair was proclaimed as the national anthem by the Governor-General on 19 April 1984. From the original five-verse song, only the first and third verses are the official national anthem, with slight changes to make the song more gender-inclusive.

Peter Dodds McCormick (1834? – 30 October 1916), a Scottish-born schoolteacher, was the composer of the Australian national anthem Advance Australia Fair.

Born the son of a seaman at Port Glasgow, Scotland, he arrived in Sydney (at that time the principal city of the British colony of New South Wales) in 1855. Details of his earlier years, prior to his arrival in Australia, are shadowy. He spent most of his life employed by the NSW Education Department. In 1863 he was appointed teacher-in charge of at St Mary's National School and went on to teach at the Presbyterian denominational school in the Sydney suburb of Woolloomooloo in 1867. He then moved to Dowling Plunkett Street Public School in 1878 where he remained until 1885.

McCormick was heavily involved in the Scottish Presbyterian Church and was active in a number of community and benevolent organisations. He began his involvement with Sydney's St Stephen's Church as a stonemason, working on the now demolished Phillip Street Church (where Martin Place now stands). The Rev Hugh Darling was so impressed with his singing on the job he asked him to join the choir. McCormick's musical ability led him to becoming the precentor of the Presbyterian Church of NSW, which gave him the opportunity to conduct very large massed choirs. He was also convenor of the Presbyterian Church Assembly's Committee on Psalmody. Also a talented composer, he published around 30 patriotic and Scottish songs, some of which became very popular. Included in his collected works was Advance Australia Fair, which was first performed in public by Andrew Fairfax at the St Andrew's Day concert of the Highland Society on 30 November 1878.

McCormick died in 1916 at his home in the Sydney suburb of Waverley and he was buried at Rookwood Cemetery. He had no children; he was survived by his second wife Emma. His obituary in the Sydney Morning Herald stated: "Mr. McCormick established a reputation with the patriotic song, Advance Australia Fair, which ... has come to be recognised as something in the nature of an Australian National Anthem".

The postal card above features the lyrics of the Australian anthem "Advance Australia Fair"

Sunday, August 15, 2010

National Anthem of Manchukuo Empire

The Manchu State (Manchukuo, Manshūkoku) was a puppet state in Manchuria and eastern Inner Mongolia. The region was the historical homeland of the Manchus, who founded the Qing Dynasty of China. In 1931, the region was seized by Japan following the Mukden Incident and in 1932, a puppet government was created, with Puyi, the last Qing emperor, installed as the nominal regent and emperor.

In 1934, Manchukuo became an empire ("The Great Manchu Empire") and the new emporer, Henry Puyi (it was under his reign in China that the "Gong Jin'ou" anthem was written) comissioned a new anthem, "Mǎnzhōu dìguó guógē" (National Anthem of Manchukuo Empire) to be written by Zheng Xiao-xun, the same person who wrote the previous Manchurian anthem. The Japanese wished for the anthem to be translated into Japanese, so that both Chinese and Japanese could sing the anthem, but Zheng died in 1938. The new anthem was eventually adopted in 1942 and was in use until 1945. The composer of the anthem was Kosaku Yamada.

Kosaku Yamada (9 June 1886 - 29 December 1965) was a Japanese composer and conductor.

In many Western reference books his name is given as Kósçak Yamada. During his music study in the Imperial German capital of Berlin from 1910-13 he hated the moment when people laughed at him because his "normal" transliteration of his first name "Kosaku" sounded like the Italian "cosa" meaning "what" or "thing" + the German "Kuh" meaning "cow"; which resulted in his choosing a somewhat fanciful transliteration of Kósçak Yamada ever since. Yamada was born and died in Tokyo.

After studying at the Tokyo Music School, he left Japan for Germany where he enrolled in the Berlin Hochschule and learnt composition, before going to the USA for two years. Yamada left about 1600 pieces of music. Especially, songs (Lieder) amount to 700 pieces of music excluding songs for schools, municipalities and companies. They were performed and recorded by many singers which include Kathleen Battle, Ernst Haefliger and Yoshikazu Mera. His opera Kurofune (The Black Ships) is regarded as one of the famous Japanese operas.

As a conductor, Yamada made an effort to introduce many orchestral works to Japan. He was the first performer in Japan of Debussy's Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune, Dvořák's Symphony No. 9, Gershwin's An American in Paris, Mosolov's Iron Foundry, Sibelius' Finlandia, Shostakovich's Symphony No. 1, Johann Strauss II's An der schönen blauen Donau, and Wagner's Siegfried Idyll.

The postal card above features a special postmark to commemorate the 100th birth anniversary of Manchukuo empire anthem composer Kosaku Yamada (1886-1986).

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The National Anthem of the United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federation of seven emirates situated in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula in Southwest Asia on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman and Saudi Arabia. The UAE consists of seven states, termed emirates, which are Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al-Quwain, Ras al-Khaimah and Fujairah. The capital and second largest city of the United Arab Emirates is Abu Dhabi. It is also the country's center of political, industrial and cultural activities.

Before 1971, the UAE were known as the Trucial States or Trucial Oman, in reference to a nineteenth-century truce between Britain and several Arab Sheikhs. The name Pirate Coast was also used in reference to the area's emirates in the 18th to early 20th century. The political system of the United Arab Emirates, based on the 1971 Constitution, comprises several intricately connected governing bodies. Islam is the official religion and Arabic is the official language.

The United Arab Emirates has the world's sixth largest oil reserves and possesses one of the most developed economies in the Middle East. It is currently the thirty-sixth largest economy by nominal GDP, and is one of the richest countries in the world by per capita gross domestic product, with a nominal per capita GDP of $54,607 as per the IMF. The country is fourteenth largest in purchasing power per capita and has a relatively high Human Development Index for the Asian continent, ranking 31st globally. The United Arab Emirates is classified as a high income developing economy by the IMF.

The United Arab Emirates is a founding member of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, and a member state of the Arab League. It is also a member of the United Nations, Organisation of the Islamic Conference, the OPEC, and the World Trade Organization.

The national anthem of the UAE, "Ishy Bilady" (Long Live My Nation) was without words (and a classic example of the style of anthem known as "Arab fanfare") until 1996, when words were written for it by Aref Al Sheikh Abdullah Al Hassan. The author of the music, Mohamad Abdel Wahab, also composed the music for the national anthem of Tunisia and the royal anthem of Libya (in use 1951-1969).

The souvenir sheet above featured the score of the national anthem issued in 1996 during the Silver Jubilee National Day of the UAE

Friday, August 13, 2010

"Hymne an Deutschland " (Hymn to Germany)

The first official anthem adopted by West Germany after founding in 1949 was the "Hymn an Deutschland" (Hymn to Germany). The "Lied der Deutschen" that was often used in Germany was avoided at this time due to the recent misuse of the anthem by the Nazi party (and the subsequent ban on the anthem by the Allied powers for the years following). The anthem proved to be unpopular with the people, however, possibly due to the similarity of a church hymn. The lyrics were written by Rudolf Alexander Schröder and the music composed by Hermann Reutter. The anthem was briefly in use from 1950 to 1952.

Hermann Reutter was born in Stuttgart on 17 June 1900. In 1920 he moved to Munich. After three years of singing lessons with Emma Rückbeil-Hiller (Stuttgart) and Karl Erler (München) he studied at the Munich Academy of Musical Arts composition with Walter Courvoisier and piano with Franz Dorfmüller, and organ with Ludwig Mayer.

Since 1923 he participated in the music festival of Donaueschingen and intensified his contact with the Donaueschingen circle, in particular with Paul Hindemith. Starting with 1926 he was a frequent composer in association with the annual music festival of the Allgemeine Deutsche Musikverein where many of his works were world premiered. He began intensive concert activities as pianist and accompanist in lieder in 1929, working together with major conductors and soloists of his period.

In 1932 he succeeded Ewald Straesser as principal teacher of composition at the Musikhochschule Stuttgart. He was appointed director of the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt on the Main four years later. In 1945 was the end of this work. He returned to Stuttgart and resumed concert activities in 1950. Two years later he was appointed professor of composition and lied interpretation at the Stuttgart Hochschule fuer Musik. In 1955 he became full member of the Berlin Akademie der Kuenste and of the Bayerische Akademie der Schoenen Kuenste, Munich. Since 1956 he was juror, later chairman, of the jury in the category Singing at the ARD competition.

He succeeded Hermann Erpf as director of the Stuttgart Hochschule fuer Musik. Since 1960 he often stayed in the USA for interpretation courses at various universities. From 1966-1974 he led the master class of lied interpretation at the Munich Musikhochschule. In 1968 he founded the Hugo Wolf Society Stuttgart, being its president until his death.

For his achievement as a composer and a teacher he was awarded (among others) the Ludwig-Spohr-Award of the City of Brunswig (1953), the Grand Cross for Distinguished Service of the Federal Republic of Germany (1959 and with Star in 1975), a Honorary doctorate of the Music and Arts Institute San Francisco and the Hugo Wolf Medal of the International Hugo Wolf Society, Vienna (both in 1976).

Hermann Reutter died in Heidenheim on 1 January 1985.

West Germany Anthem (1953-1990), East Germany Anthem (1949-1990), National Anthem of Germany (1922, abolished 1945, restored 1990-up to present)

The postal card above shows the score and lyrics of Hymn to Germany

Union of Soviet Socialist Republic's "The Internationale"

When the Soviet Union was created in 1922 from a merger between Russia and other neighbouring soviet communist republics, the new national anthem that was in use was the "Internationale", a socialist anthem written in the late nineteenth century by two Frenchmen, Arkady Yakovlevich Kots (lyrics) and Pierre Degeyter (music) This song was already in use as Russia's de facto anthem due to it being the party song of the Bolsheviks who seized power in the 1917 October revolution and, with Russia being the leading republic in the union, it was their anthem that would be used. "The Internationale" was never formally adopted by the Soviet Union as a national anthem (though it was formally adopted as the party anthem of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union), yet was used on a de facto basis.

"The Internationale" has since been used by a variety of communist, socialist, and other left-wing groups as their anthem, making it the unofficial anthem of socialism. (It was also used, ironically, by Chinese demonstrating against their Communist government during the protests of 1989, leading to it being banned within Communist China.) It is traditionally sung with the right hand raised in a clenched-fist salute. It was in use until 1944 when a new anthem, "Hymn of the Soviet Union" was adopted.

Hymn of Imperial Russia click here and click here (composer)
Patriotic Song of Russia click here
Hymn of the Russian Federation click here

Above is a postcard with a score of USSR's "Internationale".

A Missing Color Error in the Uruguay National Anthem Stamp

Stamps that have major, consistent, and unintentional deviation from the normal stamps are considered errors. Postage stamp errors are sometimes caused during stamp printing process. Error stamps do not show the intended appearance of the desired stamp design.

There are factors that cause postage stamp errors like wrong denominations, wrong or missing colors, misplaced or an inverted design element, missing parts of the stamp design, wrong stamp paper, wrong watermark, double impressions, and others.

Color error postal stamp occurs when stamp is printed with wrong color(s) or one or more color is missing. These color error postal stamps usually occur when one stage of a multi-run printing process is skipped. One example of this type of error is the stamp above featuring the national anthem of Uruguay. A gold color on the edge of the score of missing. Click this to compare with the error-free stamp. The error increased the value of the stamp 100x.

Czech Republic's Coat of Arms on Stamps with the National Anthem Score

The Coat of Arms of the Czech Republic displays the three historical regions which make up the nation.

The arms of Bohemia show a silver double-tailed lion on a red background. It is repeated in the lower-left-hand side of the coat of arms (from the perspective of the person holding the shield). The Moravian red-and-silver chequered eagle is shown on a blue background. The arms of Silesia are a black eagle with the so-called "clover stalk" in her breast on a golden background, although only a small south-eastern part of the historical region of Silesia now belongs to the Czech Republic.

The history of Czech coat of arms is dated to the 13th. century and this crest was a meed from the king of Holy Roman Empire to czech king Vladislav II. The shield is also used as the badge for the Czech national football team and Czech national ice hockey team.

The stamp above showing the coat of arms of Czech Republic with the score of the national anthem was issued on October 14, 2009.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Francisco da Silva- Brazilian Anthem Composer

Brazil's anthem was originally composed in 1822 (the year of independence) and first performed in 1831. During the imperial period (1822-1889) and for the first few years of the republican period thereafter, the anthem was performed without words. After becoming a republic in 1889, it was often suggested among the republican groups in the country that a new anthem should be adopted, as the current anthem was composed during the imperial era, yet the anthem that had been in use ws declared official on January 20, 1890.

The anthem was still without official words, and each state started adopting their own words to the anthem. In 1906, it was brought forward that lyrics for the anthem should be written, and in 1909 a poem by Joaquim Osório Duque Estrada was composed. However it wasn't until 1922, for the 100th anniversary of independence, that Osório Duque Estrada's poem was adopted, with several changes to the text. Brazil, like many other "federalist" nations, have regions that have their own anthem.

Francisco Manuel da Silva, the anthem composer was born on February 21, 1795. He was a songwriter and music professor. He was born and died in Rio de Janeiro and was prominent in the musical life of Rio De Janeiro in the period between the death of Priest Jose Mauricio and Carlos Gomes. He was a singer of Capela Real since 1809, and later a cello player. He was one of the founders of Imperial Academia de Música e Ópera Nacional (National Imperial Music and Opera Academy), of Sociedade Beneficência Musical e Conservatório Imperial de Música, which become Instituto Nacional de Música (Nacional Music Institute) and is called Escola de Música da Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (Rio de Janeiro University Music School).

He was taught by Priest José Maurício Nunes Garcia and, most probably, by Sigismund Neukomm. He was directly responsible for Capela Imperial's reinstatement, the later being turned to its old beauty. He left a handful of works, spread around Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais and Sao Paolo's archives, covering Gospel Music, Mohindas and Lundus.

He wrote Brazil National Anthem (Hino Nacional Brazileiro) first as a patriotic march, since Dom Pedro I resignation, later being officialized as anthem by Brazilian Republic Revolution (1889). He also composed one opera Prestigio da Lei. He died on December 18, 1865 in Rio de Janeiro.

Above is a stamp of Brazil anthem composer Francisco Manuel da Silva issued in 1945.

Alexei Lvov and The Hymn of Imperial Russia

Prince Alexei Fyodorovich Lvov (June 5, 1799 in Tallinn–December 28, 1870 in Romainiai (now Kaunas) was a Russian composer. He composed the Imperial Russian national anthem Bozhe, tsarya khrani (also known as God Save the Tsar). He wrote the opera Undine in 1846. He was entombed in the Pažaislis Monastery, Kaunas (Lithuania).

Lvov was born into a family which was keenly interested in music. He was the son of Feodor Petrovich Lvov, who was Maestro of the Imperial Chapel in St Petersburg from 1826 to 1836 (having succeeded Bortnianskij).

Alexei Fyodorovich began violin lessons at a very young age and performed regularly in concerts given at his home: for instance, at 9 he was the soloist in a performance of a violin concerto by Viotti. Although he had a number of teachers in his youth, from the age of 19 onwards he began to study independently, seeking to develop his own personal style through careful attention to the works of such celebrated violinists as Corelli, Tartini, Viotti, Kreutzer and Rode. He nevertheless continued to study composition formally under the supervision of I. G. Miller (who was also one of the teachers of Glinka).

Outside the world of music, his general education had a technical emphasis. In 1818 he completed his studies at the Institute of Communications, and embarked on a career as a civil engineer in the Imperial Army, eventually attaining the rank of general. In 1828 he was appointed Aide-de-camp to Tsar Nicholas I.

Lvov formed a string quartet in St Petersburg, and organised weekly concerts at his private residence, which were attended by members of high society. At these concerts it was quite usual for there to be guest performances by distinguished musicians who were visiting the Russian capital; among these were Liszt, Robert and Clara Schumann, and Berlioz. His quartet undertook a number of tours in Europe, where Lvov was able to perform to public audiences (in his home country he was able to play only to private audiences owing to his elevated social rank). He also counted Mendelssohn, Meyerbeer and Spontini amongst his personal friends.

In 1837 Lvov succeeded his father as Maestro of the Imperial Chapel, remaining in the position until 1861. In 1850 he founded the Russian Concert Society, which was among the pioneers of symphonic concerts in Russia. In 1867, with the onset of deafness, he was obliged to withdraw from musical activity.

As a composer, Lvov’s style was eclectic. He combined the traditions of Russian musical culture with strong Italian and (especially) German influences. Lvov was married, and had a son and two daughters.

Above is a postcard of the Hymn of Imperial Russia composed by Lvov.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Bible Verse on Stamps

Did you know that some anthem lyrics were taken from the actual words of Jesus Christ? An example of this is the local anthem now in use on Norfolk Island (under Australian administration), Come Ye Blessed, also referred to as the "Pitcairn Anthem". This hymn was brought to the island by the Pitcairn settlers, suggesting that this anthem was in use on Pitcairn Island at that time. It's lyrics are directly quoted from the New Testament of the Bible (Matthew 25:34-36, 40).

My favorite bible verse is taken from Galations 2:20- I am crucified with Christ: neverthless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

The stamp featured here, issued by Bophuthatswana, is taken from John 6:35- And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

The Bread of Life is the spiritual food needed by man. Without the bread of life man cannot live spiritually. Just as physically man needs to eat in order to live, the bread of life gives nourishment for the soul. Unless one eats from the bread of live he faces eternal death.

In the Old Testament God provided the Israelites with manna from heaven. They were told only to take what was required for a one day supply and they had to trust that God would send more the next day. The manna served as salvation for the Israelites physical needs on a daily basis. God, however knew of a greater need for the salvation of man's soul and he also had a plan to meet that need -- His Son, the Bread of Life. The Israelites needed to eat daily, but once one has tasted the bread of life he does not need to ask for it again, because his soul has been saved.

Monday, August 9, 2010

National Anthem on Stamp Issued by Another Country

Check out these three anthem stamps- something's not right in the picture. Stamps from Nicaragua containing the score of France's La Marseillaise? Italian stamps with the score of Poland's national anthem and a stamp from Mexico featuring the national anthem of the Dominican Republic? Stamps of national anthems are usually issued by the country who owns the anthem, but not in this case. These are real anthem stamps containing the score of the national anthem.

To my knowledge, Nicaragua has not even issued a stamp of its national anthem. Italy has issued a stamp of its anthem lyricist, Goffredo Mameli, but not an anthem score. The Dominican Republic is one of the few countries that has issued several anthem stamps (at least 3, I think). I really don't know the reason why these countries featured the national anthem of other countries. Please email me if you know why or if your have other anthem stamps not featured here.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The National Anthem of Togo

In 1979, the national anthem of Togo was replaced with one written collectively by members of the ruling party Rassemblement du Peuple Togolais. (The anthem might also have been the anthem of the party as well.) The anthem was changed back to the original one in the early 1990s, around the same time that democratic reforms were put in place under Western pressure and a new constitution permitted opposition parties. The anthem was in use until 1979.

Originally adopted on independence in 1960, the "Salut à toi, pays de nos aïeux" (Hail to thee, land of our forefathers), the present national anthem was replaced in 1979 and readopted in 1992, when Western-mandated reforms were brought in and one-party rule dropped. The music and lyrics were written and composed by Alex Casimir-Dosseh.

Alex Casimir Dosseh is a prominent musician from Togo. He was born on August 16, 1923 in Vogan. He had his music education in Europe and his composition, "Hail to thee, Land of our forefathers" had been selected following a national competition on the eve of the independence of Togo. He was awarded Knight of the Order of Mono on April 27, 2006 at the 46th anniversary of the independence of Togo. He died Monday, March 12th 2007 at the age of 84.

The postcard above shows the score and lyrics of the national anthem of Togo.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Palma, De Leon and Osias- Philippine Anthem Lyricists

The Philippine National Anthem lyrics has three versions- "Filipinas", the Spanish (original) version, written by Jose Palma, "Lupang Hinirang" the Tagalog version, written by Felipe Padilla de Leon and "Philippine Hymn", the English version, written by Camilo Osias. Presently, only the Tagalog or Filipino version is used.

José Palma (3 June 1876 - 12 February 1903) was a Philippine poet and soldier. He was on the staff of La Independencia at the time he wrote his "Filipinas," a patriotic poem in Spanish. It was published for the first time in the issue of the first anniversary of La Independencia on 3 September 1899. The poem fit the tune of the music of the Marcha Nacional Filipina, and since then became the national anthem of the country.

Palma was born in Tondo, Manila, on 3 June 1876, the youngest child of Don Hermogenes Palma, a clerk at the Intendencia Office, and Hilaria Velasquez. His older brother was Rafael Palma. After finishing his primera enseñanza in Tondo, Palma continued his studies at the Ateneo Municipal. While he was there, he gradually honed his skills by composing verses. One of his earliest works was “La cruz de Sampaguitas” in 1893. In the same year he had a brief romantic relationship with a woman named Florentina Arellano whose parents did not approve of him.

As underground revolutionary activities grew intense, Palma devoted his time to composing more poems. In 1894, he joined the Katipunan but did not join his comrades on the battlefield when the revolution broke out. He eventually joined the revolutionary forces of Colonel Rosendo Simon in 1899 when the Philippine-American War erupted and fought under the command of Colonel Servillano Aquino in the encounters in Angeles and Bambang. Since he could not physically cope with the difficulties of war, he often stayed in camps and entertained the soldiers with kundiman. He eventually joined the staff of the Tagalog section of the revolutionary newspaper, La Independencia, to fight against the Americans as he could not on the battlefield.

Palma and his colleagues in the newspaper often amused themselves with songs and poems while resting in camps or other places during their marches away from the pursuing American forces. It was during one of their breaks in Bautista, Pangasinan when Palma’s poetic spirit produced the poem “Filipinas” that fitted the music of the “Marcha Nacional Filipina” of Julian Felipe. “Filipinas” was published in Spanish in the first anniversary issue of La Independencia on 3 September 1899 as follows:

Felipe Padilla De Leon, Sr. was a major Philippine composer, conductor, and scholar. He was known best for translating the lyrics of the Philippine National Anthem from the original Spanish to Tagalog. A recepient of numerous awards and honors, he was posthumously named National Artist of the Philippines for music in 1997. He was the father of equally gifted and musical children: Bayani, Luningning, Marilag, Tagumpay, and De Leon Jr..

Felipe Padilla de Leon was born in Peñaranda, Nueva Ecija on May 1, 1912. He was educated in Manila and the United States. He taught in various schools in the capital city. He became conductor of Banda Malaya No. 1 of Taytay, Rizal.

He was known for Filipinizing western music forms. He was a prodigious composer: for orchestra, Mariang Makiling Overture (1939), Roca Encantada (1950), Maynila Overture (1976), Orchesterstuk (1981); for choral music, Ako'y Pilipino, Lupang Tinubuan, and Ama Namin. De Leon wrote his famous piece "Payapang Daigdig" the morning after he woke up to the destruction of the city of Manila during World War II. He also wrote the classic songs Bulaklak, Alitaptap, Mutya ng Lahi and the kundiman Sarong Banggi. He also composed the first full-length Filipino opera, Noli Me Tangere Opera. Many Martial Law babies recall singing his patriotic song "Bagong Lipunan" immediately after the national anthem.

De Leon not only took Filipino music seriously. He made every effort to keep music traditions alive, even in small towns. Hagonoy.com reported: "Sometime in the 1950's, a stranger named Prof. Felipe Padilla de Leon walked in this barrio and formed the Hagonoy Banda Malaya brass band. 'I am walking the history or re-enacting it,' Padilla claimed. 'Next time around, my eyes are on the brass band.'" Thus began his fruitful and happy relationship with the historic town.

De Leon also wrote and lectured extensively on Philippine music and culture. He wrote as a columnist of the Manila Times, Taliba, and others. He toured Himig ng Lahi, which he founded as a performing group with a lecture-concert format throughout the US and the Philippines. He established the Filipino society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (FILSCAP) and united all the bands of the Philippines with Pambansang Samahan ng mga Bandas sa Pilipinas (PASAMBAP).

Camilo Osias (March 23, 1889 – May 20, 1976) was born in Balaoanan, La Union. He was noted as one of the senate presidents of the Philippines, a nationalist leader who worked for Philippine independence and sovereignty, and is remembered as an educator, politician and writer who produced works such as The Filipino Way of Life, the Philippine Readers, and Jose Rizal, His Life and Times – a biographical work on Rizal. He also wrote a wide variety of articles with themes ranging from the nation to personal life and day to day living in the Philippines.

Osias had Maestro Gabriel Lopez as his mentor for primary education. Eventually, his mother influenced him to take up priesthood in Vigan, Ilocos Sur. His study for priesthood was hindered with the outbreak of the Philippine revolution which served as a period for reflection and introspection for Osias. He later resumed his studies by being one of the government funded students to study in the United States of America. In the United States, he studied teaching and was awarded a diploma by the Illinois State Teacher’s College. He also studied administration in Columbia.

A widely read and scholarly man, Osias eventually pursued further studies in Ohio where he received the degree of doctor of laws. Upon his return to the Philippines, he began his career as a politician. He was voted as a senator for the second district. After acting as a senator, he took part in the 1934 Constitutional Convention as the La Union representative. He also served as a panel for the Independence Mission in the U.S., and held a position as resident commissioner for the US congress from 1921 to 1935 where he worked for the passage of the Philippine Independence law. After his work in the United States, he was elected in the National Assembly and became a senator in congress after the war. The height of his career was his term as the senate president.

The stamps above features Julian Felipe, the anthem composer, with Jose Palma. Below is a stamp of Camilo Osias. No stamp, so far, has honored Julian Padilla de Leon.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The National Anthem of Yugoslavia

"Hej Slaveni" was composed in the mid nineteenth century by a Slovak in response to the loss of cultural identity in his homeland. Taking inspiration from the Polish anthem (which the melody is almost identical to), he composed an anthem that soon became popular with the whole Slavic community, in fact becoming the anthem of Slovakia during World War II (with Slovak words). Being a confederation of mainly Slavonic states, the song seemed to be a natural fit for post-royalist Yugoslavia. It was sung at the first meetings of the resistance movement (later, the government), and became the temporary national anthem upon the re-establishment of Yugoslavia after the Axis defeat. A search was undertaken for a permanent anthem, but "Hej Slaveni" remained the most popular choice with the citizens; it was declared the temporary anthem in 1977, and was finally made official in 1988.

After most of the members of the Yugoslav federation had declared independence in the 1990s, the nations that were left in the federation changed the name of the country to Serbia and Montenegro, and retained the old Yugoslav anthem.Since that time, there were proposals to change the national anthem, one of which by Slobodan Markovic recieved government attention, which consists of all but the last line of the Serbian "Bože pravde" followed by one verse of the Montenegrin "Oj svijetla majska Zoro", and was being considered to replace "Hej, Sloveni" in time for the 2004 Olympic Games. "Hej Slaveni" remained the anthem during this time, despite the local anthems of the two republics in the federation being more popular. With the independence of Montenegro, and then Serbia in 2006, the union was dissolved and the anthem had no more legal standing. The words and music were written by Samuel Tomášik (based on a traditional song) and was in use from 1945 to 2006.

The postcard above shows the lyrics of the former Yugoslavian anthem.

The Anthem of Prussia

Prussia was a historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries this state had substantial influence on German and European history. The last capital of the state of Prussia was Berlin.

The name Prussia derives from the Old Prussians, a Baltic people related to the Lithuanians and Latvians. In the 13th century, "Old Prussia" was conquered by the Teutonic Knights. In 1308 Teutonic Knights conquered the formerly Polish region of Pomerelia with Gdańsk (Danzig). Their monastic state was mostly Germanized through immigration from central and western Germany and in the south it was Polonized by settlers from Masovia. After the Second Peace of Thorn (1466) Prussia was split into the western Royal Prussia, a province of Poland, and the eastern part, since 1525 called Duchy of Prussia, a fief of the Crown of Poland up to 1657. The union of Brandenburg and the Duchy of Prussia in 1618 led to the proclamation of the Kingdom of Prussia in 1701.

Prussia attained its greatest importance in the 18th and 19th centuries. During the 18th century, it became a great European power under the reign of Frederick the Great (1740–1786). During the 19th century, Chancellor Otto von Bismarck pursued a policy of uniting the German principalities into a "Lesser Germany" which would exclude the Austrian Empire.

The Kingdom of Prussia dominated northern Germany politically, economically, in population, and was the core of the unified North German Confederation formed in 1867, which became part of the German Empire or Deutsches Reich in 1871.

With the end of the Hohenzollern monarchy in Germany following World War I, Prussia became part of the Weimar Republic as a free state in 1919. It effectively lost this status in 1932 following the Preußenschlag decree of Reich Chancellor Franz von Papen; Prussia as a state was abolished de facto by the Nazis in 1934 and de jure by the Allies of World War II in 1947. Since then, the term's relevance has been limited to historical, geographical, or cultural usages.

The postcard above features the score of the anthem of Prussia.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Royal Anthem of Denmark

Denmark is one of a handful of nations which have a separate "royal" anthem from the people's "national" anthem. The royal anthem is one of the oldest in the world; adopted in 1780. Special events for the royal house are marked with the royal anthem.

The lyrics first appear in Johannes Ewald's historical drama "The Fishermen" and specifically names heroes in the wars against Sweden in the 17th and 18th centuries. The composer of the anthem is unknown.

Denmark is also unique in that it and New Zealand are the only two nations in the world with two official national anthems. Officially, "Kong Christian" is both the national and royal anthem and has equal status with "Der er et yndigt land", the national anthem.

Johannes Ewald (18 November 1743 – 17 March 1781) was a Danish national dramatist and poet. Ewald, normally regarded as the most important Danish poet of the 2nd half of the 18th Century, led a short and troubled life, marked by alcoholism and poor health. The son of a Copenhagen pietist vicar and fatherless from an early age, he was educated as a theologian, but his real interest was in literature.

An unhappy love for a girl, Arendse, inspired his later poetry deeply (his description of this love is the first “modern” Danish poetic treatment of the subject). After a time as a soldier and war hero in the Prussian Seven Years’ War he was 1760 brought back seriously weakened. The following years were spent living as a bohemian and writing poetry in Copenhagen; they were also a time of alcoholism and conflicts with his mother and stepfather (for most of his life he was under their tutelage and he never took up a profession).

From 1773-75 he had a rather happy convalescence at Rungstedlund (later the home of Karen Blixen). Ewald wrote some of his best verses during this time, but a conflict with his family led to his removal to the small North Zealand town of Humlebæk (1775-77), which depressed him and worsened his alcoholism. Finally, friends brought him to Søbækshus, near Helsingør, and where he lived for some years under growing public interest and literary fame, until his early death, caused by drinking and rheumatism.

Quite until the days of romanticism Ewald was considered the unsurpassed Danish poet. Today he is probably more lauded than read; though considered classics, only few of his works have become popular.

The postcard above features King Christian and the score of the Royal anthem of Denmark.

Most Expensive National Anthem Sheet

The most expensive national anthem sheet currently auctioned on the net is the sheet from Argentina which is an uncut x 4 anthem and flag essay with current value of US$2,500. Its is extremely rare and is a must for serious collector's. It surpassed the 1934 Czechoslovakia national anthem sheet which now cost around US$100-400.

The Argentine National Anthem (Himno Nacional Argentino) is the national anthem of Argentina. Its lyrics were written by Vicente López y Planes, and the music was composed by Blas Parera. This song was adopted as the national anthem on May 11, 1813, three years after the "May Revolution" (Revolución de Mayo); May 11 is therefore Anthem Day in Argentina.

Composers on Stamps- Ludwig Van Beethoven Stamp from China

Ludwig van Beethoven (baptised 17 December 1770 – 26 March 1827) was a German composer and pianist. He was the most crucial figure in the transitional period between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western classical music, and remains one of the most famous and influential composers of all time. Some regard him as the "Greatest Composer of All Time".

Born in Bonn, then the capital of the Electorate of Cologne and a part of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation in present-day Germany, he moved to Vienna in his early twenties and settled there, studying with Joseph Haydn and quickly gaining a reputation as a virtuoso pianist. His hearing began to deteriorate in the late 1790s, yet he continued to compose, conduct, and perform, even after becoming completely deaf.

The stamp above (part of a set of four featuring Beethoven, Bach, Haydn and Mozart) was issued by China on August 2010.

"God Bless Africa", former National Anthem of Zimbabwe, Namibia, Ciskei and Transkei

"Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika" ("God Bless Africa" in Xhosa), is part of the joint national anthem of South Africa since 1994, which was originally composed as a hymn by a Methodist mission school in Johannesburg teacher, Enoch Sontonga in 1897.

For decades during the apartheid regime it was considered by many to be the unofficial national anthem of South Africa, representing the suffering of the oppressed. In 1994 after the fall of apartheid, the new President of South Africa Nelson Mandela declared that both "Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika" and the previous national anthem, "Die Stem van Suid-Afrika" ("The Voice of South Africa") would be national anthems. While the inclusion of "Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika" rejoiced in the newfound freedom of many South Africans, the fact that "Die Stem" was also kept as an anthem even after the fall of apartheid, signified to all that the new government under Mr Mandela respected all races and cultures and that an all-inclusive new era was dawning upon South Africa. In 1996, a shortened, combined version of the two anthems was released as the new South African National Anthem under the constitution of South Africa.

With different lyrics, the hymn is also the national anthem of both Tanzania and Zambia, and was formerly the anthem of Zimbabwe, Namibia. The "independent black homeland", Ciskei and Transkei also adopt it as their national anthem during the apartheid era. Outside of Africa, the hymn is perhaps best known as the long-time (since 1925) anthem of the African National Congress (ANC), as a result of the global anti-Apartheid movement of the 1970s and 1980s, when it was regularly sung at meetings and other events. It became part of South Africa's national anthem in 1994, following the ANC's victory in the country's first multi-racial elections.

The first part of the hymn has appeared in the hymnbook of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland since 1985 with lyrics by Jaakko Löytty.

Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika, was originally composed as a hymn in 1897 by Enoch Sontonga, a teacher at a Methodist mission school in Johannesburg. The words of the first stanza were originally written in Xhosa as a hymn. In 1927 seven additional Xhosa stanzas were added by the poet Samuel Mqhayi.

Solomon Plaatje, one of South Africa's greatest writers and a founding member of the ANC, was the first to have the song recorded in London, 1923. A Sotho version was published in 1942 by Moses Mphahlele. Rev. John L. Dube's Ohlange Zulu Choir popularised the hymn at concerts in Johannesburg, and it became a popular church hymn that was also adopted as the anthem at political meetings.

It has also been recorded by Paul Simon and Miriam Makeba, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Boom Shaka, Osibisa, Oliver Mtukudzi (the Shona version that was once the anthem of Zimbabwe) and the Mahotella Queens. Boom Shaka, a prominent South African kwaito group, performed the anthem in kwaito style, a popular South African genre influenced by hip-hop. The interpretation was controversial, and viewed by some as a commercial subversion of the anthem; Boom Shaka counter that their version represents liberation and introduces the song to younger listeners.

The postcard above features the lyrics of "God Bless Africa"

Spain's "Himno de Riego" (Riego's Anthem)

Used by the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War of 1931-1939, "Himno de Riego", written during the 19th century, had been a popular patriotic song since it was written, including at the outbreak of the war. The anthem was named after Rafael de Riego, a general during the first Spanish Civil War (1820-1823). The anthem was also used briefly at the conclusion of that war (from April 7, 1822 to 1823 on the restoration of the monarchy.) The words were written by Evaristo de San Miguel, a Spanish noble, military man and historian. The music was composed by Francisco Guerta.

The anthem was subsequently banned by Franco, who led the campaign against the republican forces in the civil war and who led the country following their defeat.

The postal card above features the score of Riego's Anthem

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Composers on Stamps- Wage Rudolf Soepratman

Wage Rudolf Supratman (Wage Roedolf Soepratman or commonly known as W.R. Supratman) was born on March 9, 1903 in Jakarta and died on August 17, 1938 due to sickness in Surabaya, East Java.

He was an Indonesian songwriter. He wrote and composed the national anthem of Indonesia, "Indonesia Raya" in 1927 and officially adopted in 1949. The song 'Indonesia Raya' was performed for the first time on October 28, 1928, at the closing ceremony of Youth Congress II held in Indonesia.

His father named Senen, was a sergeant in the 8th Battalion. Under the tutelage of his brother in-laws, WM Van Eldik (Sastromihardjo), he had learnt to pluck the guitar and fiddle the violin. In 1914 he went to Makassar to study Dutch at the Normaalschool, a night school. His education was financed by Willem Van Eldik. and he stayed there for three years. After finishing his education, he bacame a teacher in Angka and got his Klein Ambtenaar certificate two years later.

He formed a jazz group called Black and White and played with the band until 1924., after which he went to Surabaya and Bandung to become a newspaper correspondent of "Kaoem Moeda". On October 28, 1928, he performed as violinist, during the Second Youngster Congress with his composition "Indonesia Raya", a song that confessed one fatherland, one nation, one Indonesia.

Aside from Indonesia Raya, some of his other songs include: Bendera kita merah putih, Matahari Terbit Ibu Kita Kartini and Mars Kepandoen Bangsa Indonesia.

His death on August 17, 1938, was exactly seven years before the proclamation of the Indonesian independence.

The stamp above is a set of three stamps featuring Performing Arts (Soepratman, Music) issued in 1997.

The United States "Hail Columbia!"

Until 1931, there was no officially proclaimed anthem of the United States, however, the song "Hail Columbia!" was used quite often in the capacity of a national anthem. Other songs which were prominently used during the 19th century for a national anthem was "The Star Spangled Banner", and, to a slightly lesser extent, "Yankee Doodle" and "My Country, 'Tis of Thee", which has the same tune as the British national anthem.

Written by Joseph Hopkinson for the inauguration of the United States' first president, George Washington, it was most popular in the first half of the 19th century, culminating with Lincoln's presidency. The music was composed by Philip Phile. By the start of the 20th century, it had fallen out of favour, and in 1931 "The Star Spangled Banner" became the first officially proclaimed national anthem of the United States. "Hail Columbia!" is used today in the United States as an entrance song for the Vice President (much like "Hail to the Chief" is for the President.)

The postal card above shows the score and lyrics of United States first anthem, "Hail Columbia"

The National Anthem of New Zealand

New Zealand holds a unique position in the world in that it has two national anthems of equal standing - "God Defend New Zealand" (Maori-Aotearoa) and "God Save The Queen". The other country with this distinction is Denmark, where the royal and national anthems have equal status. "God Defend New Zealand" was adopted as national hymn in 1940 and as co-national anthem in 1977. "God Save the Queen" was adopted when New Zealand became an British colony in 1840.

"God Defend New Zealand" was written by Irish-born poet and New Zealand citizen Thomas Bracken in 1870, and the music composed by John Joseph Woods as a result of a newspaper contest in 1876. (Woods actually composed the music in one sitting, starting as soon as he read about the contest and not resting until he was finished.) Gaining popularity in the first half of the twentieth century, it was adopted as New Zealand's national song in 1940 (New Zealand's centennial year), but "God Save the Queen" remained the sole national anthem. A petition in 1976 prompted the government to seek royal assent to make "God Defend New Zealand" as a national anthem on equal status with "God Save the Queen". This was signed into law by the Queen on November 21, 1977.

The Māori words, translated numerous times, were officially translated by Thomas Henry Smith. They were made to fit the melody, as such, they don't translate exactly to the English lyrics.

God Save the Queen was adopted as New Zealand's official anthem since 1840, when she became a British colony. The second verse, which is in a more militaristic vein, and the third verse, have been replaced in New Zealand with a "Commonwealth verse", usually used when more than one stanza is needed. Despite being declared an "official anthem" by the New Zealand government, along with "God Defend New Zealand", "God Save the Queen" is rarely sung in the country, "God Defend New Zealand" is more common.

The postal card above features the score of the New Zealand anthem

Gastroenterology on Stamps

Gastroenterology is the medical sub-specialty concerned with the function and disorders of the stomach,intestines, liver and related organs of the gastrointestinal tract.

Very few stamps related to Gastroenterology events had been issued. The majority are presented here. The World Congress of Gastroenterology (WCOG) is held every four years event under the auspices of the World Organisation of Gastroenterology (OMGE). Since its inaugural conference in 1958 in Washington, D.C.,
WCOG has become the leading quadrennial gathering of the world's digestive disease physicians. The previous World Congresses where special stamps were issued for the event include- 1974 in Mexico City, Mexico; 1986, Sao Palo, Brazil; and Bangkok,Thailand in 2002, which is the first World Congress of Gastroenterology ever hosted in Asia.

During the International Congress of Gastroenterology held in Rome in 1988, special stamps were also issued. Two years before the event, Dr. Aldo Torsoli, then President of the Congress, proposed that working team committees be assigned to address medical issues not easily resolved by usual scientific inquiry or review. Continued support led to a series of functional gastrointestinal working teams between 1991 and 1994 that first developed guidelines for the diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome- The Rome Criteria.

Other Gastroenterological events which issued stamps include: The First Bolivian-Japanese Gastroenterology Conference in La Paz, 1992, The 4th Asian Pacific Congress in Manila, Philippines, 1972 and the First Uruguayan Proctology Congress in Montevideo, 1965- one of the first GI event to issue a stamp.

This Philippine stamp had two colors- ultramarine and multicolored in 20 cents denomination, 12.5 x 13 perforation. The heliographer was Setelepaino, Finland.

Click here to go to series 2 on Gastroenterology on stamps.

The National Anthem of Upper Silesia (Oberschlesien)

Upper Silesia is the southeastern part of the historical and geographical region of Silesia; Lower Silesia is to the northwest. Since the 9th century, Upper Silesia has been part of (chronologically) Greater Moravia, Bohemia, Poland, Holy Roman Empire, Austria, Prussia, and later of unified German Reich. It is currently split between Poland (Opole and Silesian Voivodeships) and the Czech Republic (Czech Silesia, or the Silesian-Moravian Region).

Upper Silesia is situated in the Silesian highlands, between the upper Oder and upper Vistula rivers. The total population of the Upper Silesian Industry Area is 3,487,000. Opole Silesia, Cieszyn Silesia, and Austrian Silesia are historical parts of Upper Silesia. The territory of Opole Silesia composes much of Opole Voivodeship.

At the time of Svatopluk I and King Arnulf of Carinthia in the ninth century, Silesia was a part of Greater Moravia; after its destruction in the early tenth century, it was conquered by Bohemia. A number of earlier inhabitants of Silesia, the Silingi, remained in the region and they concentrated around the Zobten mountain and in a settlement named Niempsch (derived from a Slavic name for Germans).

Upper Silesia was soon conquered by the newly installed dukes of the Polans and for several hundred years was part of Poland. This arrangement fell apart and, during the re-establishment of Poland under Casimir the Great, all of Silesia was specifically excluded as non-Polish land. In 1335 it came back under the rule of the Kingdom of Bohemia. Many towns were destroyed by the Mongols at the Battle of Legnica but were later rebuilt. By the 1300s, the influx of settlers into Upper Silesia stopped because of the plague. Latin, Czech and German language were used in the towns and cities and only in the 1550s (during the Protestant Reformation) did records with Polish names start to appear. The Roman Catholic Holy Roman Emperors of the Habsburg dynasty forcibly reintroduced Catholicism, led by the Jesuits.

Lower Silesia and most of Upper Silesia became part of the Kingdom of Prussia in 1742 during the First Silesian War. A small part remained within the Habsburg-ruled Bohemian Crown as the Duchy of Upper and Lower Silesia, colloquially called Austrian Silesia. In the 19th century, Upper Silesia became an industrial area taking advantage of its plentiful coal and iron ore.

In 1919, after World War I, the eastern part (with a majority of ethnic Poles) came under Polish rule as the Autonomous Silesian Voivodeship, while the mostly German-speaking western part remained part of the German Reich as the Province of Upper Silesia. From 1919-1921 three Silesian Uprisings occurred among the Polish-speaking populace of Upper Silesia; the Battle of Annaberg was fought in the region in 1921. In the Upper Silesia plebiscite, a majority of 60% voted against merging with Poland, with clear lines dividing Polish and German communities. The exact border, the maintenance of cross-border railway traffic and other necessary co-operations, as well as equal rights for all inhabitants in both parts of Upper Silesia, were all fixed by the German-Polish Accord on East Silesia, signed in Geneva on May 15, 1922. On June 20, Germany ceded, de facto, the eastern parts of Upper Silesia, becoming part of the Autonomous Silesian Voivodeship of Poland.

After 1945, almost all of Upper Silesia that was not ceded to Poland in 1922 was transferred to this state. A majority of the German-speaking population was expelled in accordance with the decision of the victorious Allied powers at their 1945 meeting at Potsdam. This expulsion program also included German speaking inhabitants of Lower Silesia, eastern Pomerania, Gdańsk (Danzig), and East Prussia. These German expellees were transported to the present day Germany (including the former East Germany), and they were replaced with Poles, many from former Polish provinces taken over by the USSR in the east. A good many German-speaking Upper Silesians were relocated in Bavaria. A small part of Upper Silesia stayed as part of Czechoslovakia as Czech Silesia.

The expulsions of German-speakers did not totally eliminate the presence of a population that considered itself German. Upper Silesia, in 1945, had a considerable number of Roman Catholic mixed bilingual inhabitants that spoke both German and Polish dialects, and their Polish linguistic skills were solid enough for them to be allowed to remain in the area. With the fall of communism and Poland joining the European Union, there were enough of these remaining in Upper Silesia to allow for the recognition of a German minority by the Polish government.

The postcard above features the cartooned score of the anthem of Upper Silesia. Below is the back of the postal card with stamps.