“Yesterday marked the anniversary of the first time ‘O Canada’ was sung, on June 24, 1880. One hundred years later, on July 1, 1980, it was adopted as Canada’s official national anthem,” writes Michael Vincent in a Wednesday (6/25) post at the blog Musical Toronto. “The music was composed by Calixa Lavallée, and its English lyrics have changed a few times over the years. But there has been some controversy over the origins of Lavallée’s ‘O Canada.’ Namely its striking resemblance to Mozart’s—March of the Priests from The Magic Flute.… After comparing the two, it seems we owe just as much to Herr Mozart as we do to Mr. Lavallée for our home sake anthem.… It is actually quite common for national anthems to be inspired by other music. For example, the melody of the American National Anthem originated from an old British drinking song called ‘To Anacreon In Heaven.’ Plagiarism or just creative borrowing? You be the judge.” The post links to audio of the Canadian national anthem and an excerpt of Mozart’s “March of the Priests,” as well as screenshots of sheet music for each.
Posted June 26, 2014