La Marseillaise is a song written and composed by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle on April 24, 1792. Its original name is Chant de marche de l’ArmÃ©e du Rhin (Marching song of the Rhine Army). It became the rallying call of the French Revolution and was so-called because it was first sung on the streets by troops from Marseille upon their arrival in Paris.
La Marseillaise was rearranged by Hector Berlioz around 1830.
In 1917, after the collapse of the tsarist regim La Marseillaise became the national anthem of Russia, the Russian lyrics being very different from the French lyrics. It was soon replaced with The International by the Bolsheviks.
The song was banned in Vichy France and German occupied areas during World War II and singing it was an act of resistance
In France itself, the anthem (and particularly the lyrics) has become a controversial issue since the 1970s. Some consider it militaristic and racist, and many propositions have been made to change the anthem or the lyrics. However, La Marseillaise has been associated throughout history with the French Republic and its values. Thus, no change is likely to occur.
Recently, and despite the lyrics, it was largely sung by anti-racist protesters after the accession of Jean-Marie Le Pen to the second turn of presidential election in 2002.
The song was part of a famous scene in Casablanca in which French resistance sympathizers tried to sing the song louder than the Nazi soldiers who were singing “Die Wacht am Rhein”.
There is various versions of the music, excerpt avaiblable at French National Defence website.
The official one from the French President website in RealAudio File (116 Ko) or Wave File (660 Ko).