From BBC Radio 4:
The author and critic Erica Wagner, a New Yorker by birth, explores America’s relationship with its national anthem. The Star-Spangled Banner is embedded in American national identity and yet it only became the official national anthem in 1931. Erica returns to its origins, almost exactly two centuries ago at the Battle of Baltimore in 1814, a decisive moment in the Second War of American Independence, to find out how Francis Scott Key came to write these lyrics about the American flag. She speaks to the acclaimed American poet Mary Jo Salter about the merit of the lyrics, and to the musicologist at the Peabody Conservatory David Hildebrand about how the music changed over time to become the anthem we know today.