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Swiss National Anthem: Die Schweizer Nationalhymne

Background: Die Schweizer Landeshymne
The Swiss national anthem has a unique history that reflects the unique nature of Switzerland itself. Switzerland (die Schweiz) may be an old country, but its current national anthem has only been official since 1981. Although the "Schweizer Nationalhymne" or "Landeshymne" was tentatively approved by the Swiss Nationalrat in 1961 and was in general use after 1965, the anthem did not actually become official for another 20 years (April 1, 1981).

The anthem itself, originally known as the "Schweizerpsalm," is much older. In 1841 the priest and composer Alberik Zwyssig of Urn was asked to compose music for a patriotic poem written by his friend, Zurich music publisher Leonhard Widmer. He used a hymn that he had already composed, and adapted it for Widmer's words. The result was the "Schweizerpsalm," which soon became popular in parts of Switzerland. But some Swiss cantons, such as French-speaking Neuchatel, had their own anthems. Efforts to select an official Swiss national anthem (to replace an old one that used the British "God Save the Queen/King" melody) ran up against the country's five languages and strong regional identities until 1981. The lyrics below are for the German version, but there are also French, Italian, and other versions.

Source: Die Bundesbehörden der Schweizerischen Eidgenossenschaft (admin.ch)

Hear the music (link below).

Also see: Austrian National Anthem and German National Anthem


Schweizer Nationalhymne

Schweizer Nationalhymne Swiss National Anthem
German Lyrics
 
Official English Lyrics
 
Trittst im Morgenrot daher,
Seh' ich dich im Strahlenmeer,
Dich, du Hocherhabener, Herrlicher!
Wenn der Alpenfirn sich rötet,
Betet, freie Schweizer, betet.
Eure fromme Seele ahnt
Eure fromme Seele ahnt
Gott im hehren Vaterland!
Gott, den Herrn, im hehren Vaterland!

Kommst im Abendglühn daher,
Find' ich dich im Sternenheer,
Dich, du Menschenfreundlicher,
  Liebender!
In des Himmels lichten Räumen
Kann ich froh und selig träumen;
Denn die fromme Seele ahnt
Denn die fromme Seele ahnt
Gott im hehren Vaterland!
Gott, den Herrn, im hehren Vaterland!

Ziehst im Nebelflor daher,
Such' ich dich im Wolkenmeer,
Dich, du Unergründlicher, Ewiger!
Aus dem grauen Luftgebilde
Bricht die Sonne klar und milde,
Und die fromme Seele ahnt
Und die fromme Seele ahnt
Gott im hehren Vaterland!
Gott, den Herrn, im hehren Vaterland!

Fährst im wilden Sturm daher,
Bist du selbst uns Hort und Wehr,
Du, allmächtig Waltender, Rettender!
In Gewitternacht und Grauen
Laßt uns kindlich ihm vertrauen!
Ja, die fromme Seele ahnt
Ja, die fromme Seele ahnt
Gott im hehren Vaterland!
Gott, den Herrn, im hehren Vaterland!
When the morning skies grow red,
and over us their radiance shed
Thou, O Lord, appeareth in their light
when the alps glow bright with splendor,
pray to God, to Him surrender
for you feel and understand
that He dwelleth in this land.
 
Hear Verse 1 (Deutsch, mp3)

In the sunset Thou art night
and beyond the starry sky
Thou, O loving father, ever near,

when to Heaven we are departing
joy and bliss Thou'lt be imparting
for we feel and understand
that Thou dwellest in this land.
 
 

When dark clouds enshroud the hills
and gray mist the valley fills
yet Thou art not hidden from thy sons
pierce the gloom in which we cower
with Thy sunshine's cleansing power
then we'll feel and understand
that God dwelleth in this land.
 
 

[The official English translation only
includes the first three verses.
]

  Text (German): Leonhard Widmer (1809-1867)
  Musik: Alberik Zwyssig (1808-1854)

AUDIO 1 > Schweizer Nationalhymne (midi version)
AUDIO 2 > Schweizer Landeshymne (mp3, verse 1, choral version)*

Also see: Austrian National Anthem and German National Anthem

*Interpretiert von den Basler Madrigalisten/Fritz Näf (1. Strophe) © Präsenz Schweiz (admin.ch)


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