The video above is a recording of the song, Marš Na Drinu or “March on the Drina” by Serbian composer Stanislav Binički from Friday night’s concert of the Belgrade Philharmonic. The concert was part of their New Year’s Cycle which celebrates different New Year celebrations throughout the year. Friday evening was the New Year in the Julian Calendar, which several Orthodox Christian churches in Eastern Europe still follow.
I think the song should be the Serbian national anthem. Binički was inspired by the Serbian army’s Battle of Cer against the Austro-Hungarian army in World War I. The lyrics celebrate the bravery of the Serbian soldiers and the flowing rivers of Drina. The Drina River is a tributary of the Sava River and forms the border between Bosnia & Herzegovina and Serbia. I love the melody when I first heard it played at the stadium during Serbia’s run to the World Cup a couple of years ago. I especially like the haunting rhythms which begin about halfway through the four-minute composition.
The song was overwhelmingly voted by the Serbian public as the national anthem, but due to its use by the Bosnian Serb armies in the wars of the 1990’s and the song was associated with the war. Too bad, because the current Serbian national anthem, is a weak, rip-off of the Monarchist God Save the Queen.
It is somewhat similar to Australia, where Waltzing Matilda is a much more loved song than the Scottish written, Advance Australia Fair, the official national anthem.
The song was the encore to Friday’s concert which featured Russian and Serbian works of classical music. As time goes on and the wars of Yugoslavian Secession move out of people’s living memory, the song will eventually be adopted as the national anthem.
Nadia and I really enjoyed the concert! The Belgrade Philharmonic this year has spiced up their concerts with bringing in opera singers and as you can see in the video, a “stereo” choir on both sides of the auditorium.