The "Himno Nacional de Uruguay" (English: "National Anthem of Uruguay"), also known by its incipit "Orientales, la Patria o la Tumba" (English: "Easterners, the Country or the Tomb"), is the longest national anthem in terms of duration with 105 bars of music. When performed in its entirety, the anthem lasts about four-and-a-half to six minutes, although nowadays only the first verse and chorus are sung on most occasions, such as before sporting events.
Its martial lyrics are by the Uruguayan poet Francisco Acuña de Figueroa, who also wrote the lyrics for Paraguay's national anthem, "Paraguayos, República o Muerte". The lyrics were officially declared the national anthem in July 1833. Several proposed musical settings failed to gain public support. The Rossini-inspired music that eventually became universally associated with the anthem was composed by the Hungarian-born composer Francisco José Debali, with the assistance of Fernando Quijano, a Uruguayan actor and musician. A few days after the first performance in July 1845, Debali's score was officially recognized as the music for the anthem. As with other South American national anthems, the music was inspired by the local popularity of Italian opera. It includes several references to La Cenerentola and other operas by Rossini, as well as a direct musical quotation from Lucrezia Borgia by Gaetano Donizetti.The French composer Camille Saint-Saëns is sometimes erroneously credited with having composed the music: although he was requested to write a hymn to celebrate the national independence day, his composition never became the national anthem.
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