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Schweizerpsalm
Cantique suisse
Salmo svizzero
Psalm svizzer
English: Swiss Psalm
Schweizer Psalm.png
National anthem of  Switzerland
Also known as Cantique suisse
Salmo svizzero
Lyrics Leonhard Widmer
Music Alberich Zwyssig, 1841
Adopted 1961 (de facto)
1981 (de jure)
Music sample
Swiss Psalm (instrumental)

The Swiss Psalm is the national anthem of Switzerland. It was composed in 1841, by Alberich Zwyssig (1808-1854). Since then it has been frequently sung at patriotic events. The Federal Council declined however on numerous occasions to accept the psalm as the official anthem. This was because the council wanted the people to express their say on what they wanted as a national anthem.

From 1961 to 1981 it provisionally replaced Rufst Du, mein Vaterland ("When You call, my Country", French O Monts indépendants; Italian Ci chiami o patria, Romansh E clomas, tger paeis) the anthem by Johann Rudolf Wyss (1743-1818) which was set to the melody of God Save the Queen.

Finally on April 1, 1981 the Swiss Psalm was declared the official Swiss national anthem.

Contents

History

Bust of Zwyssig in Bauen

Until the end of the 19th Century, there was no Swiss national anthem.

The German-language patriotic song Rufst du, mein Vaterland (French O Monts indépendants, Italian Ci chiami o patria, Romansh E clomas, tger paeis), composed in 1811 by Johann Rudolf Wyss (1743-1818), was the first national anthem, used until 1961.

The Swiss Psalm was composed in 1841 by Alberich Zwyssig (1808-1854), with lyrics by Leonhard Widmer (1809-1867)[1]. Since then it has been frequently suggested it be adopted as the official anthem, but the Swiss Federal Government has refused several times, wishing to let the people decide what they want to sing on political and military occasions.

Fountain memorial for the composer Alberich Zwyssig and the Swiss Psalm's poet Leonhard Widmer in Zürich-Seefeld (Zürichhorn)

The setting of the hymn to the British tune of God Save the Queen led to embarrassing situations when both countries' anthems were played. Therefore it was replaced with another tune in 1961. After a trial period of three years the Swiss tune was adopted indefinitely in 1965. The statute could not be challenged until ten years later but did not totally exclude the possibility of an ultimate change.

A concourse was put in place in 1979 after searching for a successor to the anthem. After many submissions, none of the others seemed to express the Swiss sentiment.

The Swiss anthem finally got its definitive statutory status in April 1981, the Federal Council maintaining that it was purely a Swiss song suitably dignified and solemn.

The popularity of the song has not been established. At least, it has been shown with several vox pops taken that many people don't know it at all, and only a small percentage can recite it all.

There are two tentative replacements for the psalm:

  • In 1986 Roulez tambours (Roll the drums) by Romand Henri-Frédéric Amiel and proposed by the Swiss National Alliance.

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  • At the end of the 1990s, The Fondation Pro CH 98 equally tried to promote a new anthem composed by the Argovien Christian Daniel Jakob.

These alternatives have not been put to the test.

Lyrics

Because Switzerland has four official languages, the lyrics of the original German song were translated into the other three official languages: French, Italian and Romansh.

References

  1. ^
    This article incorporates information from the German Wikipedia.(English)(French)(Italian) How a church hymn tune became a national anthem article at Admin.ch retrieved on 21 June 2009.

External links

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