Olympic national anthem controversy

In the most most successful Games since the London Olympics of 1908, our national anthem is being heard more than usual, but the London Philharmonic Orchestra's recordings have prompted more than a little outrage.

Jessica Ennis With Her Gold Medal

The composer who arranged all 205 national anthems for the Olympics is the subject of international criticism after changing some of the tunes. Philip Sheppard's arrangements, recorded by the London Philharmonic Orchestra are unpopular because of their unusual harmonies.

Athletes and spectators are allegedly having trouble singing God Save the Queen because the music is missing some of the expected notes. There is usually a rising scale leading up to the words 'Send her victorious', but this is lacking in the new arrangements.

It's not just the Brits who are struggling with their anthem. Hungary’s gold-winning fencer, Aron Szilagyi, complained that the version of his national anthem, Himnusz , was 'weird', after listening to a higher pitched, quicker arrangement as he stood on the podium.

Sheppard was asked to give the 205 anthems a 'fresh twist’ for the Games, which could be to avoid a costly royalties bill. He and the London Philharmonic Orchestra have recorded two different versions of God Save the Queen so organisers can choose which they want to play when our athletes take to the podium.

Jess Ennis wins gold: God Save the Queen

LPO

London Philharmonic Orchestra Pic London Philharmonic Orchestra Week

1-5 December, 8pm. All this week, the Classic FM Full Works Concert celebrates the London Philharmonic Orchestra, founded in 1932 by Sir Thomas Beecham.