Sunday, June 29, 2014

'Star-Spangled Banner' bicentennial

William Robin, writing for The New York Times, traces the history of “The Star-Spangled Banner” from its roots as John Stafford Smith’s signature tune for the Anacreontick Society, a men’s club in 18th-century London, and Francis Scott Key’s adaptation of the tune as an ode to the flag that survived the bombardment of Fort McHenry in Baltimore during the War of 1812, to lyric permutations supporting various causes in the 19th century and, finally, adoption of the song as the US national anthem in 1931, with comments from baritone Thomas Hampson and musicologist Mark Clague:

Hampson and Clague are among the participants in a 200th anniversary celebration of the anthem, July 3 at the Library of Congress in Washington: