Impressive, but not perfect
tmcrpar | Bel Air, Maryland | 01/03/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"When the acclaimed Austrian wind band Swarovski Musik Wattens attempted a national anthem set, I knew I wouldn't be disappointed. What I got was an impressive collection of national anthems performed with reverence and style, with some magnificent arrangements, though a little short on patriotic zeal. Some arrangements were stirring - UAE, Armenia, Egypt (magnificent), Brazil (this one's always terrific, but SMW deserves credit), Bulgaria, Ecuador (a pleasant surprise), Britain (the universal standard), Iraq, Italy (despite a fundamental melodic error), Cameroon, Malta, Mongolia (the best track), Austria (understandably), Peru (highly musically impressive), Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia (powerful), Spain, South Africa (glorious in the repeat), Thailand (majestic), Venezuela, and Zimbabwe. However, some, sadly, came up short - I was not impressed by a stagnant Norway, a plastic Philippines, a plodding Poland, an almost funerary Portugal, and badly arranged renditions of Slovenia, Oman, Syria, and Turkey. Algeria had its moments, but the beginning was painfully dissonant. Greece was torn apart by a strange rhythmic background, while Ireland and Iran were simply too slow and Germany was thoroughly mediocre. However, in the often-inconsistent anthem world, this two-disc set is a beacon among flickering candles for its masterful combination of patriotism, emotion, and musical genius. If you buy one national anthem set this year, make it this one.-LKI"
Omits China and India
tmcrpar | 10/09/2001
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I haven't purchased this set, but I did notice two surprising omissions in the lists above: China and India. I have no idea why a 2-CD set covering 73 countries would choose to omit the two most populous countries of the world (which together comprise one-third of the world's population), but it was one reason I decided to go with another anthem compilation."