Words: Eugene Pottier, 1870
Music: Pierre Degeyter, 1887
Arranged: Alan Bush, 1948
A song of struggle that turned 100 in the same year that our choir was born. The International is a working people’s anthem whose words were written shortly after the Paris Commune of 1870 by one of its members, Eugene Pottier. Pottier’s poem was set to music some years later by Pierre Degeyter. The interesting counterpoint we use is Englishman Alan Bush’s rearrangement of Degeyter’s original piano accompaniment, and although we understand why some folks complain that it obscures the melody, if you sing along with the sopranos it’ll come out very nicely!
Arise ye workers from your slumbers!
Arise ye prisoners of want!
For reason in revolt now thunders
And at last ends the age of cant.
Now away with all superstitions.
Servile masses arise! Arise!
We’ll change henceforth the old conditions
And spurn the dust to win the prize!
Then comrades come rally and the last fight let us face!
The International unites the human race!
No saviour from on high deliver.
No trust have we in prince or peer!
Our own right hands the chains must shiver;
Chains of hatred, greed and fear.
Ere the thieves will out with their booty
And to all give a happier lot,
Each at the forge must do their duty
And strike the iron while it’s hot!