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German National Anthem for String Orchestra

Composer
Franz Joseph Haydn
Arranger
Difficulty
Moderate (Grades 4-6)
Duration
1 minute
Genre
Classical music
Instrumentation
String orchestra
Instrumental parts
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An arrangement for String Orchestra of the German National Anthem, composed by Haydn.

The "Deutschlandlied" ("Song of Germany", German pronunciation: [ˈdɔʏtʃlantˌliːt]; also known as "Das Lied der Deutschen" or "The Song of the Germans"), has been the national anthem of Germany since 1922, except in East Germany, whose anthem was "Auferstanden aus Ruinen" ("Risen from Ruins") from 1949 to 1990.

Since World War II and the fall of Nazi Germany, only the third stanza has been used as the national anthem. The stanza’s incipit, "Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit" ("Unity and Justice and Freedom") are considered the unofficial national motto of Germany, and are inscribed on Bundeswehr belt buckles and the rims of some German coins.

The music was written by Austrian composer Joseph Haydn in 1797 as an anthem for the birthday of Emperor Francis II of the Holy Roman Empire. In 1841, the German linguist and poet August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben wrote the lyrics of "Das Lied der Deutschen" to Haydn’s melody, lyrics that were considered revolutionary at the time.

The song is also well known by the incipit and refrain of the first stanza, "Deutschland, Deutschland über alles" (literally, "Germany, Germany above all"), but this has never been its title. The line "Germany, Germany above all" meant that the most important goal of the Vormärz revolutionaries should be a unified Germany overcoming the perceived anti-liberal Kleinstaaterei. Along with the Flag of Germany, it was one of the symbols of the March Revolution of 1848.

In order to endorse its republican and liberal tradition, the song was chosen as the national anthem of Germany in 1922, during the Weimar Republic. West Germany adopted the Deutschlandlied as its official national anthem in 1952 for similar reasons, with only the third stanza sung on official occasions. Upon German reunification in 1990, only the third stanza was confirmed as the national anthem.

The Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation was already weak when the French Revolution and the ensuing Napoleonic Wars altered the political map of Central Europe. Hopes for the Enlightenment, human rights, republican government, democracy, and freedom after Napoleon I's defeat in 1815 were dashed, however, when the Congress of Vienna reinstated many monarchies. In addition, with the Carlsbad Decrees of 1819, Chancellor Prince Metternich and his secret police enforced censorship, mainly in universities, to keep a watch on the activities of professors and students, whom he held responsible for the spread of radical liberal ideas. Particularly since hardliners among the monarchs were the main adversaries, demands for freedom of the press and other liberal rights were most often uttered in connection with the demand for a united Germany, even though many revolutionaries-to-be had different opinions whether a republic or a constitutional monarchy would be the best solution for Germany.

The German Confederation or German Union (Deutscher Bund) was a loose confederation of thirty-five monarchical states and four republican (but hardly democratic) free cities, with a Federal Assembly in Frankfurt. They began to remove internal customs barriers during the Industrial Revolution, though, and the German Customs Union Zollverein was formed among the majority of the states in 1834. In 1840 Hoffmann wrote a song about the Zollverein, also to Haydn's melody, in which he praised the free trade of German goods which brought Germans and Germany closer.

After the March Revolution of 1848, the German Confederation handed over its authority to the Frankfurt Parliament, and Eastern Prussia joined the Confederation. For a short period in the late 1840s, Germany was united with the borders described in the anthem, with a democratic constitution in the making, and with the black-red-gold flag to represent it. The two big monarchies put an end to this period of national unification, and waged the Austro-Prussian War against each other.

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