The Philippine revolution was accompanied by music: hymns and marches that express love for the motherland.
“Alerta, Katipunan!” was one of the songs of the revolution. It was the march used by the Kataas-taasang Kagalang-galangang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan (KKK). The piece was originally a Spanish march, then was adopted by the Katipunan.
Our very first National Anthem was known as the “Marangal na Dalit ng Katagalugan.” It was commissioned by Andres Bonifacio in 1896. The musician who composed the anthem was Julio Nakpil, who would later become the second husband of Bonifacio’s widow, Gregoria de Jesus.
This is the orchestral version of our first National Anthem. It was arranged by Nakpil himself, who reconstructed it from memory after the original score was destroyed in 1945 during the Battle of Manila. It would later be reworked and incorporated in the orchestral piece, “Salve, Filipinas.”
To mark the anniversary of Philippine Independence, we have dissected the Philippine National Anthem to reveal its various influences. In this clip you will hear excerpts of the Marcha Real (Spanish National Anthem), Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida (Triumphal March), and La Marseillaise (French National Anthem). These are stitched together with the portions of the Philippine National Anthem believed to have been inspired by these musical pieces. (Audio clips courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)
Mga Awit ng Himagsikan: Songs of the Philippine Revolution, 1896-1898
The following songs, arranged by Raul M. Sunico and performed by the Philippine Madrigal Singers, were originally featured on the album Mga Awit ng Himagsikan: Songs of the Philippine Revolution, 1896-1898. The album presents compositions based on authentic songs of the Revolutionary period of 1896-1898. (Audio clips courtesy of the Cultural Center of the Philippines and Mr. Raul M. Sunico.)
The song “Halina,” composed in 1898 at Cabiao, Nueva Ecija, is a march that was played during the final days of the revolution. It encourages visitors to come to the Philippines, the land of love and freedom.
The song “Kundiman ni Rizal” was written and composed by the Philippine National Hero, Dr. Jose Rizal. According to Rizal’s grandniece, Asuncion Bantug, “His [Rizal’s] first love among the arts was actually music.” This song, in Rizal’s words and music, expresses inspiring patriotic fervor.
The song “Jocelynang Baliwag,” officially known as “Musica de Legitimo Kundiman Proceddente del Campo Insurecto” (Music of the Legitimate Kundiman that Proceeds from the Insurgents’ Camp) was composed in 1898 at Baliwag, Bulacan. A patriotic song in the guise of a hymn of courtship, its lyrics are dedicated to one Josefa “Pepita” Tiongson y Lara, a beautiful lady from Baliwag. It earned the title, “Kundiman of the Revolution,” as it was the most popular among the revolutionaries during the late 1890s.
The song “Sa Magandang Silangan,” or “Sa Dakong Sikatan,” was written by Dr. Jose Rizal and was arranged into music by Pedro Gatmaitan Santos in 1898 in Bulacan. Said to be a favorite of Gen. Gregorio del Pilar, the song became part of the celebration following the triumph of the “boy general” after freeing the town of Bulacan in the province of Bulacan.
On August 30, 1901, Marciana “Nyora Chanay,” Marcelo del Pilar’s widow sang this song in memory of her husband’s birthday.
The song “Mula nang Mauso ang Damit na Kundiman,” composed in 1872, and originating from General Trias, Cavite, describes the red clothes worn by the revolutionaries. Sung around the time of the 1872 Cavite Mutiny, the song also relates the fear felt by the common people because of the sound of gunfire.
Alab 1896-1996 (Alay sa Laya ng Bayan)
The following songs were originally featured in the album, Alab 1896-1996 (Alay sa Laya ng Bayan) by HASIK (Harnessing Self-Reliant Initiatives and Knowledge, Inc.) with Inang Laya, Rebecca Demetillo-Abraham, and Karina Constantino-David.
Composed by Julio Nakpil in 1896, “Marangal na Dalit ng Katagalugan” was the first National Anthem of the Philippines. Julio Nakpil was a revolutionary, composer, and musician. It was eventually replaced by the Marcha Nacional Filipina.
Written by Dr. Jose Rizal, the song “Canto Patriotico De Maria Clara,” originated from the song of one of the characters in his novel “Noli Me Tangere.” Rizal instructed Ladislao Bonus, his favorite composer, to create an arrangement based on Maria Clara’s hymn from the novel.
In 1893, Julio Nakpil composed another version to the song of Maria Clara, giving it the title “Amor Patria.”