Don’t let the Egyptians play your national anthem

Don’t let the Egyptians play your national anthem


norman lebrecht

April 20, 2016

Here’s what happened when President Hollande visited Egypt this week.

Avert your ears.

It’s the new atonal.

egyptian army band

A massacre, say French media.


  • Bruce says:

    I find it quite wonderful, in a surreal way. They sounds like a group of schoolchildren with toy instruments, but they’re clearly doing their best.

    Here’s Putin suffering through a similar experience. Sort of reassuring to know that they do the same thing with everyone’s anthem.

  • David says:

    Is it the serial version?

  • Robert Holmén says:

    Perhaps a joint expedition by European musical powers to effect regime change in the Egyptian military band leadership is in order.

    Today Egypt, tomorrow… Venezuela!

  • Paul Kelly says:

    I feel quite sure Charles Ives would have loved it.

  • Cubs Fan says:

    Sounds like there were two versions played simultaneously in different keys. And yet, it sounds better than anything from the pen of many mid-20th century serialists.

  • June says:

    It really only sounds like someone wasn’t tuned properly. They may sound amateurish, but it’s not like the whole band/orchestra was off – just one guy, maybe two.

    • Bud Davis says:

      Upper woodwind were horribly sharp (common enough in hot weather) and lower brass was horrible flat. Almost a half step apart. Tuning is a wonderful thing and they should give it a try. “Tuned at the factory” is not the correct attitude. : )

  • Arthur Serating says:

    I thought the playing of the bass drum part was highly commendable.

  • Dave says:

    Proving that politicians are past masters at burying bodies, Hollande manages to hide the corpse.

  • Ingrid Bock says:

    How fortunate we are in the Western world, to have, in general, such good music education opportunities.

  • Ks. Christopher Robson says:

    Reminds me of the old Portsmouth Sinfonia from the 1970’s. Love it 🙂

  • MichaelJ says:

    I remember years ago that a regimental band played “Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves” during a guard of honour for the Egyptian president who was on a visit to Britain. Nobody seems to notice the irony of the situation.

  • John Borstlap says:

    Egypt is prone to musical mishaps. A young pianist, who – after a delayed flight – struggled through Kairo traffic to get at the square where he was expected to participate in an open air performance of Tchaikovky’s piano concerto, scrambled on the platform where the conductor, at the sight of his appearance, had already begun the introduction, only to find when finally seated and opening the lid, that the keyboard was missing.

  • Bill says:

    The intonation is terrible, balance is nonexistent, attacks and releases are quite poor. Other than that they aren’t too bad! 🙁

  • Milka says:

    The point being missed is that the playing is quite normal in reflecting the
    condition in which the country finds itself . Art imitating life .

  • William says:

    Maybe they are still holding a grudge from the Suez Situation of 1957?