Tuesday, October 25, 2011

China Anthem Composer, Ni Er, on Postcard

Nie Er (February 14, 1912 — July 17, 1935), was a Chinese composer. He is known for composing the national anthem of the People's Republic of China, the March of the Volunteers. In numerous Shanghai magazines he went by the English name "George Njal".

Nie Er's ancestors were from Yuxi, Yunnan, in southwest China. He was born in Kunming, Yunnan. From an early age Nie Er displayed an interest in music. From 1918 he studied at the Kunming Normal School's Associated Primary School. In his spare time, he learnt to play traditional instruments such as the dizi, erhu, sanxian, and yueqin, and became the conductor of the school's Children's Orchestra. In 1922 he entered the Private Qiushi Primary School (Senior Section), and in 1925 entered Yunnan Provincial Number One Combined Middle School.

In 1927 Nie Er graduated from Yunnan Provincial Number One Combined Middle School, and entered Yunnan Provincial Number One Normal School. At school, he participated in the Book Club, and organised the "Nine-Nine Music Society", which performed within the school and outside. During this time, he learnt to play the violin and the piano.

In June 1931, Nie Er entered the "Mingyue Musical Drama Society" as a violinist. In July 1932 he published A Short Treatise on Chinese Song and Dance, in which he criticised the Drama Society's president, Li Jinhui, as a result of which he was forced to leave the society. Prior to joining the Lianhua Film Studio on November 1932, he took part in shaping the Bright Moonlight Song and Dance Troupe. He later joined the musical group of the "Friends of the Soviet Union Society". He also organised the "Chinese Contemporary Music Research Group", which participated in the Leftist Dramatist's Union. In 1933, Nie Er joined the Communist Party of China.

In April 1934, Nie Er joined the Baak Doi record company and managed the musical section. In the same year he founded the Pathé National Orchestra. This was a prolific year for Nie Er in terms of musical output. In early 1935, he composed the March of the Volunteers. In January 1935 Nie Er became the director of the musical department of Lianhua Number Two Studio.

On July 17, 1935, he drowned while swimming in Japan, at the age of 23. He might have been en route to the Soviet Union, passing through Japan to receive training, sent by the Chinese Communist Party. Some suspect that he was killed by Japanese right-wing radicals. Others suspect that he was killed by Chinese Nationalists, as he was in Japan to flee from them. However, as he disappeared while swimming with his friends, killing him was difficult, and swimming in mid-July is a bit early there, so he most likely drowned. He was found by the local rescue team the following day. According to them and the police, the condition from his body was not different from that of ordinary drowned bodies.

Nie Er wrote a total of 37 pieces in his life, all in the two years before his death. A significant proportion of these songs reflected working class life and struggles. He often collaborated with lyricist Tian Han.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Galician Anthem Composer and Lyricist on a Special FDC Cancel

Pascual Veiga Iglesias ( April 9 of 1842 - Madrid , July 12 of 1906 ) was a musician, musical director, organist and composer of the National Anthem of Galicia.

Veiga started his musical studies as a child in the choir of the Cathedral Mindoniense. At thirteen he began to teach music theory and harmony in the chapel of the cathedral. In 1964 he moved to La Coruña and served as organist of the Church of Our Lady of the Field. In 1865 he was appointed vice president of Section Music Society Youth Fraternity. His dedication to music led him to win a prize in 1877 with the Glee Club Bragantino. He left year later, and founded the Glee Club Corunna. In 1880 he was invited by the Society of Floral Games of Pontevedra , and premiered his most emblematic work, the Alborada Gallega. Two years later he founded El Nuevo Orfeon, which soon became known as el Orfeon Echo, and that continues today. In 1889 he founded the Choral Society called Corunna Number 4, a group that won the gold medal and the Academic Palms during the Universal Exhibition of Paris of 1889. In 1896 he was living in Madrid, where he works as director of the Centro Galego Matritense Choir and at the same time developing the teaching at the National Conservatory of Music. He was also organist at the Church of St. Dominic of Betanzos and Collegiate A Coruña.

He died in 1906 in Madrid, and in 1912 his remains were transferred to Mondoñedo to be buried in a mausoleum dedicated by his admirers and friends. Six months after his death, the Galician Center Gran Teatro of Havana premiered ' The Pin , poem by Eduardo Pondal put in music by Veiga, who later was considered the anthem of Galicia.

Above is a FDC with a special cancel featuring the Galician anthem composer Pascual Veiga and lyricist Eduardo Pondal

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Anthem of Taiwan on Metered FDC

This is the First Day Cover of 2011 ROCUPEX Taipei Stamps Exhibition Meter Stamp from Formosa (Taiwan), Republic of China. The 2011 ROCUPEX Taipei Stamps Exhibition commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Republic (Oct 07-12,2011). This FDC, issued on October 7, 2011 features the image of National Anthem of the Republic of China. This cover is a design error with 2 wrong Chinese characters in the National Anthem of the meter stamp. The special meter shows the score of the National anthem. The anthem lyrics in traditional Chinese script is seen on the cachet. This FDC has a face value of 25 new Taiwan dollar.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Liberian Anthem Lyrics on an Unissued Souvenir Sheet

Liberia, officially the Republic of Liberia, is a country on the west coast of Africa, bordered by Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Côte d'Ivoire. Liberia, which means "Land of the Free", was founded as an independent nation by free-born and formerly enslaved African Americans. Recently it has witnessed two civil wars, the Liberian Civil War (1989–1996), and the Second Liberian Civil War (1999–2003), that have displaced hundreds of thousands and destroyed its economy.

The national anthem of Liberia, "All Hail, Liberia Hail" was composed by Olmstead Luca in 1869. The words to the anthem of this second oldest independent African nation were written by the nation's third president, Daniel Bashiel Warner, and adopted upon independence in 1847. Presumably, the anthem first had a different melody, as the current music was written in 1860.

Above is an unissued souvenir sheet featuring the Liberian anthem lyrics.