The First National Anthem
The first national anthem dates from 1819 when the distinguished composer, Manuel Robles, and the poet, Bernardo de Vera y Pintado, finished the music and lyrics of the anthem respectively. Their work was premiered on August 20, 1820 in the Domingo Arteaga Theatre.
Originally, it was custom to stand and sing the anthem at the beginning of theatre performances. This custom of singing every night gradually faded until the anthem was performed only on the anniversary of independence.
The music of second Chilean anthem was written by the Spanish composer, Ramon Carnicer, who was exiled in England because of his liberal ideas. Responding to criticism of the first anthem, the Chilean Ambassador in London, Mariano Egana, requested Carnicer to compose a new music whilst still keeping the text of de Vera y Pintado.
Thus the Spanish composer started work in 1827 and made his debut on December 23, 1828 at a Philharmonic Society concert in the Domingo Arteaga Theatre.
Years later, the Government of Chile asked the young poet, Eusebio Lillo to write a new text to replace the anti-Spanish poem by de Vera y Pintado, albeit maintaining the original chorus verse ”Dulce patria, recibe los voto” (Sweet Fatherland, accept the vows).
As with the composition by Carnicer, the text by Lillo had to overcome strong popular resistance before being able to fully replace its predecessor.