Ronovan’s guest post here last week referred to anthem writers, which made me think of the song ‘Anthem’ from the musical ‘Chess’. Indulge me here – the video of the song is at the end of this post, as sung by Anthony Warlow, whom I absolutely adore. His voice is amazing. And moving along…
‘Chess’ is a story of the Cold War portrayed through the long-standing U.S.-Soviet chess rivalry involving a politically-driven, chess tournament between two men – an American grandmaster and a Soviet grandmaster – as they compete for a woman who manages one and falls in love with the other.
The lyrics to ‘Anthem’:
Though their sad power may prevail
Can possess, conquer, my country’s heart
They rise to fail
She is eternal
Long before nations’ lines were drawn
When no flags flew, when no armies stood
My land was born
And you ask me why I love her
Through wars, death and despair
She is the constant, we who don’t care
And you wonder will I leave her
I cross over borders but I’m still there now
How can I leave her?
Where would I start?
Let man’s petty nations tear themselves apart
My land’s only borders lie around my heart
So what has changed?
This song was written to symbolize the Cold War between nations, and representing the love of one man for his homeland that is beyond the borders drawn by nations. This love is definitely not about sovereignty.
It is loving the land upon which one is born and bred. The connection and belonging to the land – the land which through warring nations is devastated – that inspire.
Art imitating life, I wonder what songs, what musical will be written about this age in which we live? Sometimes I despair over the politics of man, and I fear for the tyranny of power and the seduction of fame.
As John Lennon said, “imagine there’s no countries” (or nations)… then to what ideals do we cleave?
The music to ‘Chess’ was written by the 2 male members of Abba, and lyricist Tim Rice (long time collaborator to Andrew Lloyd Webber). It premiered in West End, London in 1984.
It was for this musical that songs such as ‘One Night in Bangkok’, ‘I Know Him So Well’, ‘Heaven Help My Heart’, ‘You and I’ and of course, ‘Anthem’ were created. I have always found this musical intriguing, entertaining and musically enchanting. It helps that the female love interest is named ‘Florence’. 🙂
Anyway, have you seen ‘Chess’? Do you like it?
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