London Philharmonic Orchestra records 205 National Anthems for The Olympics in 52 Hours London Philharmonic completes Olympic feat The London Philharmonic Orchestra has finished recording 205 national anthems for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The epic challenge took 52 recording hours at Abbey Road Studios and finished with Zimbabwe on Sunday. The orchestra had only 10 to 12 minutes to sight read and record each piece. Each of the 205 recordings had to have a unique arrangement created for the Olympics, conductor and composer Philip Sheppard explained. "It's for two reasons, one is artistic - to create a faithful (version) but redesigned with a fresh spin. "The other reason is legal - you don't want to replicate a previous arrangement." Geography lesson Olympic rules dictate that each anthem must be between 60 and 90 seconds, so there is enough time to raise the flag on the winner's podium. Sheppard said the shortest anthem was Uganda's, at 18 seconds, which he had to extend, while the Uruguayan anthem was the longest at nearly seven minutes ("the equivalent to an overture") and needed a lot of editing. The orchestra had a world map laid out on the studio floor as there were some places they had not heard of. "My geography has definitely been sharpened," said Sheppard, who met 45 delegations from various countries in three days to discuss his treatment of the anthems. "All the delegations appreciated what the orchestra was doing," he said. Every country will hear its anthem at least twice during the 2012 Olympics and the Paralympics - they will all be played at the welcoming ceremonies for each competing country.