La Marseillaise


Allons enfants de la Patrie
Le jour de gloire est arrivé !
Contre nous de la tyrannie
L’étendard sanglant est levé
Entendez-vous dans nos campagnes
Mugir ces féroces soldats?
Ils viennent jusque dans vos bras.
Égorger vos fils, vos compagnes!

Aux armes citoyens
Formez vos bataillons
Marchons, marchons
Qu’un sang impur
Abreuve nos sillons

La Marseillaise is the national anthem of France. The song was written and composed in 1792 by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle during the French Revolutionary Wars, and was originally titled “Chant de guerre pour l’Armée du Rhin”. It acquired its nickname after being sung in Paris by volunteers from Marseille marching on the capital. The French National Convention adopted it as the Republic’s anthem in 1795. It later lost this status under Napoleon I, and the song was banned outright by Louis XVIII and Charles X. It returned briefly after the July Revolution of 1830, but was not restored as France’s national anthem until 1879.

See a list of other traditional song themes here.


Xaver Varnus – La Marseillaise – Mathias Church, Budapest
Pierre Cochereau (Jeremy Filsell plays) – La Marseillaise – Liverpool


Known in the United States by the lyrics “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” or in the United Kingdom as “God Save the Queen” (or “King” as appropriate), the origin of this melody are uncertain, but the earliest attribution is to John Bull in 1619. Traditionally, the first performance was thought to have been in 1745, when it was sung in support of King George II. The lyrics for the US were written by Samuel Francis Smith in 1831. The melody has appeared in the compositions of many classical composers including Beethoven, Clementi, Haydn, Liszt, Strauss, Debussy, Reger, and Ives.

Xaver Varnus – Improvisation on Submitted Themes – Canterbury Cathedral
includes “Good King Wenceslas,” the Hungarian National Anthem, and “God save the Queen”
Gabriela Montero – “God Save the Queen” – Aldeburgh (piano)