Norway strikes false note as Swiss president visits

14th October 2010, Comments 0 comments

The opening ceremony for a state visit from Swiss President Doris Leuthard fell flat in Oslo Thursday, when a Norwegian military band tasked with playing the Swiss national anthem performed the wrong piece.

Leuthard stood next to her host, Norway's King Harald, in front of the royal palace to listen to the band play the national anthems of their two countries.

But while Norway's "Ja vi elsker" ("Yes, we love") went off without a hitch, a rather unfamiliar tune filled the air instead of Switzerland's "Swiss Psalm." "There must have been a mistake in our routines. We will investigate," Major Rune Wiik, the acting band leader, told AFP.

It remained unclear which melody was played for the Swiss president, but according to one person present at the ceremony it appeared to be a piece composed in the early 1960s that at one point had been suggested -- in vain -- as Switzerland's national anthem.

"Another interpretation of the anthem has been scheduled for this afternoon (Thursday). We are working hard to find the right piece," Wiik said, adding that he was "very sorry" for the confusion.

King Harald has also apologised to Leuthard for the blunder, the NTB news agency reported.

© 2010 AFP

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