The band played for an hour or more. I did not know all the tunes but when they played the Star-Spangled Banner, the American national anthem, every one stood up, including me (since I am a naturalized American citizen.) The lyrics came from a poem by Francis Scott Key, but the music was originally a popular drinking song in England. The music is attributed to English composer John Stafford Smith (1750-1830.) It was the drinking song of the Anacreontic Society - a London gentlemen club founded in the mid 18th century. I find it strange in a way that the American national anthem comes from an old British drinking song but it is a beautiful and stirring melody.
Rouget de Lisle composant La Marseillaise, Auguste de Pinelli, French 1823-1890
Soon this war song was adopted by a troop from Marseille who had volunteered to fight. They made it a popular patriotic and revolutionary melody when they marched into Paris on 30 July 1792 singing it in the streets. They gave it a new name "Hymne des Marseillais" and then "La Marseillaise." It was adopted as the nation's anthem by decree on July 14, 1795 and played until 1804.
During the Empire and the Restoration periods of France, the Marseillaise was forbidden but it was restored during the Revolution of 1830. At that time Hector Berlioz, the French romantic composer (1803-1869) wrote a first orchestration that he dedicated to Rouget de Lisle. In 1848 Berlioz wrote the final orchestration. In early 1879 it became officially recognized as the national anthem of France and became one of the symbols of the French Republic.
Miss Darthy interpreting La Marseillaise by Gustave Brisgand, French 1867-1944
The Marseillaise became very popular and used by many composers as well as in movies. In Russia it was used as a republican revolutionary anthem starting in the 18th century (almost as soon as it was written in France) and became the most popular song during the Revolution of 1905. They called it "The Worker's Marseillaise" (In Russian: Рабочая Марсельеза, Rabochaya Marselyeza.) In 1880 Russian composer Tchaikovski used the theme of La Marseillaise in his 1812 Ouverture. I heard Tchaikovski's piece played during the 4th July fireworks celebration here and found it a bit bizarre that this Russian theme would be played here during an American patriotic time, but it is a rousing piece of music indeed. Below is the French anthem played by the Millar Brass Ensemble.
" Allons enfants de la patrie, le jour de gloire est arrivé ..." Vive le 14 Juillet !