Where Is My Home? The Czech National Anthem: its Problems, Controversies, and Strengths
Polski rocznik muzykologiczny
There are many countries in which the national anthem has its permanent place not open to discussions. With the Czech national anthem Where Is My Home?, however, the case is precisely the opposite. It first appeared under this title in a theatrical farce in 1834 and soon became popular across the nation. In the second half of the nineteenth century, it went through a phase of politicisation (various textual paraphrases, performances at demonstrations as an anti-Habsburg symbol, a resulting ban
... n singing the piece) as well as one of criticism (in which it was pointed out that the lyrics were outdated and archaic). It was at that time that proposals for the creation of a new "national anthem" were made, while the Catholic circles considered the mediaeval sacred song Saint Wenceslas, which had had a representative function in the state from time immemorial, as a potential candidate. Late in 1918, the entire song Where Is My Home? "automatically" became the first of the two parts of the Czechoslovak national anthem, but critical voices could still be heard and alternative proposals were made. The debate was revived after the fall of Communism, and even now there are efforts to "modernise" the official music version. The present paper is an attempt to discover the causes of the controversy around the anthem Where Is My Home?. This will be done by focusing on its genesis (inspirations), analysing its content and psychological dimension, considering the critics' reservations, competition, etc. An interpretation will also be attempted as to why Where Is My Home? has withstood all the attacks and remained the national and state anthem.