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"La Marseillaise" (IPA: [la maʁ.sɛ.ˡjɛz]; in English The Song of Marseille) is the national anthem of France.

History

"La Marseillaise" is a song written and composed by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle in Strasbourg on April 25, 1792. Its original name was "Chant de guerre pour l'Armée du Rhin" ("War Song for the Army of the Rhine") and it was dedicated to Marshal Nicolas Luckner, a Bavarian-born French officer from Cham. It became the rallying call of the French Revolution and received its name because it was first sung on the streets by volunteers (fédérés) from Marseille upon their arrival in Paris after a young volunteer from Montpellier called François Mireur had sung it at a patriotic gathering in Marseille. A newly graduated medical doctor, Mireur later became a general under Napoleon Bonaparte and died in Egypt at 28.

The song's lyrics reflect the invasion of France by foreign armies (from Prussia and Austria) which was ongoing when it was written; Strasbourg itself was attacked just a few days later. The invading forces were repulsed from France following their defeat in the Battle of Valmy.

"La Marseillaise" was screamed during the levée en masse and met with huge success[citation needed]. Général Mireur, 1770-1798, anonymous, terra cotta, Faculty of Medicine, Montpellier, France.

The Convention accepted it as the French national anthem in a decree passed on July 14, 1795, but it was then banned successively by Napoleon I, Louis XVIII, and Napoleon III, only being reinstated briefly after the July Revolution of 1830. During Napoleon I's reign Veillons au Salut de l'Empire was the unofficial anthem of the regime and during Napoleon III's reign Partant pour la Syrie. In 1879, "La Marseillaise" was restored as the country's national anthem, and has remained so ever since.

Re-arrangements

During the French Revolution, Giuseppe Cambini published Patriotic Airs for Two Violins, in which the song is quoted literally and as a variation theme, with other patriotic songs.

Mozart's Piano Concerto n° 25 (KV 503), composed a few years before, in 1786, was probably an inspiration for Rouget de Lisle, as the first 12 notes of the anthem are played at the end of the first movement allegro maestoso (16th-17th minutes).

"La Marseillaise" was re-arranged by Hector Berlioz about 1830.

Robert Schumann, while setting some Heinrich Heine poems to music, used part of the Marseillaise for Heine's "The Two Grenadiers" poem at the end of the piece when the old French soldier dies (Opus 49, No.1). Wagner also quotes from the Marseillaise in his setting of a French translation of the poem. Schumann also incorporated the Marseillaise as a major motif in his overture, 'Hermann und Dorothea' inspired by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

Liszt also wrote a piano transcription of the anthem.

In 1882, Pyotr Tchaikovsky used extensive notes from the Marseillaise to represent the invading French army in his 1812 Overture.

During World War I, bandleader James Reese Europe played a jazz version of the Marseillaise, which can be heard on Part 2 of the Ken Burns TV documentary Jazz.

Edward Elgar quoted the opening of La Marseillaise in his choral work The Music Makers, based on Arthur O'Shaughnessy's Ode, at the line "We fashion an empire's glory", where he also quotes the opening phrase of Rule, Britannia!.

Serge Gainsbourg recorded a reggae version in 1978.

Henrik Wergeland wrote a Norwegian version of the song in 1831, called The Norwegian Marseillaise.

In Peru the Partido Aprista Peruano wrote their own version of the Marseillaise to be their anthem

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