As I’m sure you know, tonight is the final of the European real football (soccer) Champions League club competition. It’s between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, and is taking place for some UEFA reason in Wembley, London. I’m rooting for Borussia, partly on general underdog grounds – Dortmund is a gritty Ruhr rustbelt city, without Munich’s glamour or whiffy history -, partly because they knocked out my home team Malaga. It’s always a consolation to lose to the champ.
The anthem of the competition is a surprisingly successful 30-year-old piece of skilled hackwork by British composer Tony Britten (h/t Sam Borden of the NYT/IHT).
Here it is at the start of an earlier game between Borussia and Barcelona:
Since you can’t hear it very well against the generic crowd noise, here’s the anthem performed by a proper orchestra and choir:
If it sounds vaguely familiar, it’s because Britten reworked Handel’s magnificent anthem Zadok the Priest. It’s known in Britain as the Coronation Anthem, and here it is at Westminster Abbey on Maundy Thursday.
Great art lives because people want to steal and reuse it. Museum shops not monographs are where collections reenter the culture. If I were famous, I’d like my monument to rip off Francois Roubiliac’s sparkling tribute to Handel – fat dumpy German guy and immortal musician – in Westminster Abbey: