Stephen Speicher

The Internationale

Rate this music   7 votes

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9 posts in this topic

I give it an 8. Ayn Rand's hero in We the Living, Kira said that this song was "The first beautiful thing I've noticed about the revolution." (pg. 65)

It certainly has a unique, memorable melody. Nice emotional progression, too (for me, at least), if you judge works that way. I've never known what the lyrics meant, so I don't have to bother with that aspect, which is possibly its major downfall. It doesn't seem quite as linear as the Star Spangled Banner, though. Does it ever have a major, dramatic climax? I can't remember-- I used to have an mp3 of it that I'd downloaded from someplace, but it cut off before the end.

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Ah, sorry for the double-post, but I just noticed Dismuke has a version of this song up at his webpage (yay, Dismuke :D ).

Upon listening to it, I must say that the climax is not as dramatic as the Star Spangled Banner, and, whatever the lyrics are, of course they couldn't have anything as dramatic as "the land of the free, and the home of the brave" to put as the lyrical climax. Still, The Internationale is a good anthem.

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I gave it a 7. The first time I heard this song, I was shocked I could like something from the Reds. Atleast I don't have to listen to the lyrics as I don't know Russian.

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I give it a 7 - and I actually have heard the lyrics in French (what I recall is reasonably inocuous, but it was a long time ago...)

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The lyrics in English:

Arise ye starvelings [or workers] from your slumbers

Arise ye criminals of want

For reason in revolt now thunders

and at last ends the age of cant.

Now away with all your superstitions

Servile masses arise, arise!

We'll change forthwith [or henceforth] the old conditions

And spurn the dust to win the prize.

CHORUS

Then come comrades rally

And the last fight let us face

The Internationale

Unites the human race. (repeat).

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From We The Living (Part I/V):

For the first time in Petrograd, Kira heard the "Internationale." She tried not to listen to its words. The words spoke of the damned, the hungry, the slaves, of those who had been nothing and shall be all; in the magnificent goblet of the music, the words were not intoxicating as wine; they were not terrifying as blood; they were gray as dish water.

But the music was like the marching of thousands of feet, measured and steady, like drums beaten by unvarying, unhurried hands. The music was like the feet of soldiers marching into the dawn that is to see their battle and their victory; as if the song rose from under the soldiers' feet, with the dust of the road, as if the soldiers' feet played it upon the earth.

The tune sang a promise, calmly, with the calm of an immeasurable strength, and then, tense with a restrained, but uncontrollable ecstasy, the notes rose, trembling, repeating themselves, too rapt to be held still, like arms raised and waving in the sweep of banners.

It was a hymn with the force of a march, a march with the majesty of a hymn. It was the song of soldiers bearing sacred banners and of priests carrying swords. It was an anthem to the sanctity of strength.

Everyone had to rise when the "Internationale" was played. Kira stood smiling at the music. "This is the first beautiful thing I've noticed about the revolution," she said to her neighbor.

"Be careful," the freckled girl whispered, glancing around nervously, "someone will hear you."

"When all this is over," said Kira, "when the traces of their republic are disinfected from history—what a glorious funeral march this will make!"

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I heard the Internationale frequently when I was a child; we even learned it in school. It is one of my favorite non-American marching songs (although I like the Marseillaise much better).

The lyrics are actually quite dramatic in the Hungarian version; here's a direct translation:

Up, up, ye prisoners of the earth,

Up, up, you hungry proletarian!

The days of victory are coming;

Your thraldom is over now!

To wipe away the past forever,

Host of slaves, come on with us;

The Earth will keel out of its corner,

We are nothing and shall be all!

This fight will be the last one,

Let's join our forces now,

And in--ter--national shall be

By to--MOR--row all the world!

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I gave it a 7. The first time I heard this song, I was shocked I could like something from the Reds. Atleast I don't have to listen to the lyrics as I don't know Russian.

I will never learn Russian, because the Red Army Choir has produced some beautiful sounding music. It's music sounds inspiring, but I know that if I ever understood the lyrics, I could never listen to them again. So, as a result, I don't plan on learning Russian (at least not in the foreseeable future).

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