LPO complete Olympic anthems project. Any hymn for Palestine? (update, with an answer)

LPO complete Olympic anthems project. Any hymn for Palestine? (update, with an answer)


norman lebrecht

September 26, 2011

The London Philharmonic Orchestra, besieged for suspending four players who signed an anti-Israel letter, yesterday finished recording its 205th anthem – Zimbabwe – for next summer’s London Olympic Games.

The marathon project includes the Israeli anthem, Hatikvah. But what if Palestine gets recognised by the UN between now and then. Will the orchestra have to go back to the drawing board?

UPDATE: Philip Sheppard, who arranged the anthems has tweeted an answer to my first question:  ‘Yes! Since 1996 the Palestinian territories have fielded an Olympic team. They have an anthem which we recorded.’ (Thanks, Philip)

Next question: is being paid to record the anthems of Iran and Zimbabwe a non-political act? Did none of the players decline?




  • Metin Yildirim says:

    Mr. Lebrecht,
    The map shows that Palestinian lands are under occupation. Anti somethings is always bad, just like antisemitism, as an “Intellectual” and a person of culture How come you are so anti”pal”? AntiPal and antisemitism is the same thing if you just reverse the races.

  • AVI says:

    I’d say recording the anthems of all participating countries for the Olympic games is, yes, a non-political act.
    It isn’t being done with any motivation other than to provide the appropriate music for a festival of sport and human achievement; one to be enjoyed of countries competing fairly and honourably with one another.
    Recording all the anthems doesn’t make, nor try to make, any sort of political statement as to the validity (or even musical quality!) of any, it is simply to record music.

  • Geoff Pahoff says:

    BDS is both antisemitic and anti-Palestinian.

    Without being glib,but on what grounds can musicians who publicly urged the boycott and sanction of other musicians for political reasons complain, when they find themselves the subject of sanctions, as an unexpected part of the political blastback they sought?

    • Janet Green says:

      BDS has been called for by Palestinian civil society in support of Palestinian human rights – it is neither anti-Palestinian or anti-Semitic.

      If the LPO has a policy forbidding members from signing public letters and including their affiliation to LPO then that should have been made clear to all its musicians. The fact that the sanctions imposed on the musicians were unexpected (as you say) suggests that such a policy was not clearly and unambiguously stated. That is reason enough for the affected musicians to complain about their suspension.

      • Julian Rowlands says:

        Janet, can you explain what “Palestinian civil society” means in this context please?
        Also what actions have been taken apart from disrupting concerts and picketing the soap shop in Covent Garden?

      • Geoff Pahoff says:

        I honestly have difficulty following this.

        We know for certain that these musicians have no difficulty at all with the concept of boycotting and sanctioning other musicians, for any reason, let alone political reasons, because they have said so publicly. Tell me again why they object to the sanction of their colleagues who have objected to their professional name being used to press a noxious political campaign?

        It came as a surprise? They should read a book. As I understand it they will have plenty time.

  • Geoff Pahoff says:

    The Israel/Arab dispute, and in particular the horrible struggle with the Palestinians, is not a plaything.

    It is not some kind of global interactive reality TV show put on for the amusement of the smug and comfortable in London, Sydney, New York and everywhere else. It is a real live never ending horror story that should shame everybody that it has gone on for so long; but in particular should shame Europeans.

    For the people living in that average sized cattle station between the river and the sea these are matters of life and death. The very future of their children is at stake. It is most certainly a matter of the most fundamental of all human rights. These are not to be used as the toys of oversized brats in universities and elsewhere displaying symptons of poor parenting and even poorer education. No matter how old they are.