New recording of Singapore's National Anthem makes public debut

The new recording was played at a flag-raising ceremony on the steps of the former City Hall building, which is now the National Gallery, on Dec 3, 2019.
The new recording was played at a flag-raising ceremony on the steps of the former City Hall building, which is now the National Gallery, on Dec 3, 2019.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - The new recording of the National Anthem, Majulah Singapura, was played at a flag-raising ceremony and on radio stations on Tuesday (Dec 3) to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the national symbols.

The re-recording is the first update to the anthem since the previous official version was recorded in 2001.

The main difference is that the new recording is of higher quality, which will allow Singaporeans to hear the nuances of the musical arrangement, especially in larger venues with modern sound systems, said the National Heritage Board (NHB). The tempo has also been adjusted slightly.

The ceremony took place on the steps of the former City Hall building, which is now the National Gallery, at 11.20am on Tuesday morning.

At the same time on Dec 3, 1959, the anthem, along with the Singapore flag and state crest, were presented to the public for the first time.

This followed a ceremony inside the City Hall Chamber for the swearing-in of Mr Yusof Ishak as Yang di-Pertuan Negara, or head of state. He was sworn in six months after Singapore officially attained full internal self-governance on June 3, 1959.

Mr Yusof later became Singapore's first president after Singapore separated from Malaysia and became independent on Aug 9, 1965.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, President Halimah Yacob said the anthem, flag and crest have been "emblematic of the values all Singaporeans uphold".

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in a Facebook post that he looked forward to hearing the new recording of the National Anthem at many more National Day Parades and international sports competitions in future.

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat also said on Facebook that since independence, Singaporeans have charted their way forward as a successful nation that is open to the world while building a cohesive and multicultural society.

"That is why our symbols mean so much to us, representing both our self-determination and aspirations that guide us as we shape our future together," he said.

For the update to the National Anthem in 2001, local composers were invited to submit their arrangements and one by Cultural Medallion recipient Phoon Yew Tien was eventually chosen for its grand and inspirational qualities.

 
 
 
 

The new recording is based on the same musical arrangement by Mr Phoon and the lyrics have not been changed. It is a rendition by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, which also performed the 2001 version.

The recording took place on Aug 7 this year at the Esplanade Concert Hall.

The orchestra was led by Cultural Medallion recipient Lynette Seah, who also led the orchestra in the 2001 recording.

The conductor was Young Artist Award recipient Joshua Tan Kang Ming, who serves as associate conductor for the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and principal conductor for the Singapore National Youth Orchestra.

The new recording can be downloaded online at go.gov.sg/national-anthem for public use, including for schools and government agencies.