Jump to content
Mander Organ Builders Forum

Wedding Music


Peter Clark
 Share

Recommended Posts

Well folks it's that time of year again when the blushing brides and grooms line up to explain to the already overworked organist what music they want for their wedding. I've had two interviews so far.

 

I suppose most of us have had a request for Morning has Broken to be played at three in the aternoon, but curiously these first two of the year both requested Dear Lord and Father which with its second line in verse 1 and first line in the last verse renders it an interesting choice to say the least.

 

Quite often they ask for "the Ave Maria". Not wishing to play through the roughly 500 versions which must be in existence I plump for the Bach-Gounod, with Schubert coming in a good second followed by, alas, As I Kneel Before You.

 

Pleasently surprised therefore was I to get to play/accompany the Caccini last year.

 

Sometimes I get asked for I Watch the Sunrise and then I point out that it is really a funeral hymn. (On the rare occassions I get consulted about funeral music, if it is requested I point out that it is a wedding hymn.)

 

I have introduced in my church as an alternative recessional wedding march, a piece caled Tubas on Parade by John Marsh, published by Mayhew in Soloing the Stops. Easy to learn, it is effective and I think it works rather well.

 

I was once asked for the Titanic theme but I said that the association of your wedding day with a ship that sinks causing great loss of life was probably questionable.

 

Best wishes

 

 

Peter

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I suppose most of us have had a request for Morning has Broken to be played at three in the aternoon, but curiously these first two of the year both requested Dear Lord and Father which with its second line in verse 1 and first line in the last verse renders it an interesting choice to say the least.

 

Best wishes

Peter

 

One of the problems for blushing brides (and their grooms) is choosing hymns that non-church going people know. “Morning has broken” and Jerusalem are two that are generally well known to the hatching, matching and despatching brigade.

 

:)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One of the problems for blushing brides (and their grooms) is choosing hymns that non-church going people know. "Morning has broken" and Jerusalem are two that are generally well known to the hatching, matching and despatching brigade.

 

:)

Jerusalem is becoming as popular as "Sing Hosanna" round my way. I really don't think this hymn is appropriate for weddings - lines like "I shall not cease from mental strife, nor shall my sword sleep in my hand" - probably true in both cases in some marriages but it's much more about nationlism than marriage.

 

At the last wedding I played at, we had Jerusalem followed immediately by "I was Glad" by Parry. Yes, I finished flat out on Jerusalem in D major, pushed in a mixture or two and started straight off in Bb. It gave me musical indigestion for a fortnight afterwards. Probably fine at a coronation but it didn't quite hit the spot for me as wedding music.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well folks it's that time of year again when the blushing brides and grooms line up to explain to the already overworked organist what music they want for their wedding. I've had two interviews so far.

 

===================

 

 

I had a wedding a couple of weeks back.....a nightmare.

 

The bride wanted all sorts of "not so happy but almost clappy" numbers, with which I was bored before playing the first note.

 

B - (wedding minus 21 days) "Would it be all right to have the children singing?"

 

Organist - "Yes"

 

B - "They may need a rehearsal"

 

Organist - "Fine"

 

B - "Do you think you could possibly record a tape for them, so that we can go through it."

 

Organist (tetchily) - "What a good idea"

 

(Wedding minus 18 days) Organist then spends 2 hours dragging recording equipment, mixer unit, studio mics, phantom power supplies, mic stands and a thousand miles of cable to church; setting it all up, playing through the ghastly hymns, packing it all up, delivering the tape and going home.

 

B (Wedding minus 12 days) - "Do you think you could possibly come to a rehearsal in church with the children?"

 

Organist - "It is what I live for."

 

B (wedding minus 10 days) "Are you all right for tomorrow for a rehearsal?"

 

Organist - "Of course....I think I will have returned home after driving to London and back"

 

B (wedding minus 9 days) "Right children, are we all bright and cheerful and in good voice this morning?"

 

Organist (at console) - Zzzzzzzzz

 

B (wedding minus 4 days) "Hello, could you possibly call me back about the music before and after the wedding"

 

Organist on hand-free, somewhere on the A74 in Scotland, "Hello......."

 

Organist blinks at cost of mobile phone-call and hurls phone into travel case angrily.

 

5am (wedding day) Organist inconveniently located at Surrey Quays, London, thinking "Five and a quarter hours to Leeds through the Dartford Tunnel and the M11/A1. Can it be done?"

 

Bride make preparations while organist terrorises South East London, much of the M25, the whole of the M11 and the rabbits chewing leaves on the side of the A1; roundabouts just possible at 56mph using every inch of road.

 

Organist just makes it back on 4 hours 28 minutes of driving time, rushes to car and drives home.

 

Organist arrives home at 11am, takes shower, presses clothes, eats bacon buttie and rushes to church to make sure that the children can get in early and we can have a last run through.

 

Wedding goes well and everyone smiles.

 

(Wedding day + 1) I receive the usual modest fee and a small card which says, "Thank you so much for the music.....YOU MADE IT LOOK SO EASY"

 

:)

 

MM

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jerusalem is becoming as popular as "Sing Hosanna" round my way. I really don't think this hymn is appropriate for weddings - lines like "I shall not cease from mental strife, nor shall my sword sleep in my hand" - probably true in both cases in some marriages but it's much more about nationlism than marriage.

 

=====================

 

Jerusalem is not nationalistic....it is quite sardonic.

 

Apparently, it's a type of poetry derived from a particular Greek style, which requires a sort of sardonic response. (there is a name for it, but I would struggle to find out what it is).

 

"And did those feet, in ancient times, walk upon England's pastures green?" No!

 

"And was Jerusalem builded here? No!

 

So it goes on, until the bit about, "I shall not cease from mental strife etc..... 'til we have built Jerusalem."

 

So it is actually quite religious rather than nationalistic; Blake himself (apart from being as mad as the March Hare) someone who had faith in traditional religion, and who opposed the "logic" of Newtonianism.

 

There is also the possibility that the reference to "dark satanic mills" was directed against the universities and learned-institutions.

 

MM

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jerusalem is not nationalistic....it is quite sardonic.

I've never been able to understand why so many people believe this is a hymn all about how perfect and beautiful our country is, its always seemed to mean quite the opposite to me. It is frequently requested for weddings and I too fail to see how it can be regarded as appropriate.

 

We get a fair few 'Dear Lord and Father's, which never fails to amuse me. The last verse is so unfortunate for a wedding ("let sense be dumb, let flesh retire, speak through the earthquake....". Also get a fair number of requests for 'Lord of the dance', these must be the S&M brigade I guess.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I heard recently of a scheme where all couples hoping to get married in the forthcoming year where invited to a kind of 'wedding show' - the church in question presented (With the help of a choir) hymns that were rarely used at Weddings but would strike the right tone, and readings of a similiar nature. It worked quite well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I heard recently of a scheme where all couples hoping to get married in the forthcoming year where invited to a kind of 'wedding show' - the church in question presented (With the help of a choir) hymns that were rarely used at Weddings but would strike the right tone, and readings of a similiar nature. It worked quite well.

 

That’s a good idea, but are these hymns known to the hatching, matching and despatching brigade? I went to my cousins wedding, beautiful church etc, but no choir. Had my dad and I not sung, then it would have been an organ solo for two of the three hymns. When this happens you kind of think, what’s the point of having hymns at all? As for organ music, only the local organist knows what pieces work on their particular organ, and should advise the couple accordingly.

 

:unsure:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jerusalem is becoming as popular as "Sing Hosanna" round my way. I really don't think this hymn is appropriate for weddings - lines like "I shall not cease from mental strife, nor shall my sword sleep in my hand" - probably true in both cases in some marriages but it's much more about nationlism than marriage.

 

A most inappropriate choice, I agree, but why do the clergy allow it? Or, at least, why don't they explain what is and what is not suitable? Too lazy, easy way out, fear of giving offence or just too unimaginative to see their way out of awful touchy-feely acquiescence? Or maybe fear of the bride's mother?

 

Funerals, if anything, are even worse. I've had sensitively chosen, liturgically appropriate Bach chorale preludes and the like ousted in favour of Rod Stewart CDs, not to mention hymns with words so crassly unsuitable as to be downright offensive.

 

Quite the worst - though it didn't happen on my watch - was a CD of Hello Dolly - You're looking great, Dolly, you're looking swell, Dolly and It's great to have you back where you belong

 

It might sound a tad morbid, bit it's worth setting out one's own wishes for when the day comes - for me it's JSB Sei gegrüßet - last 2 variations, with the final one played flat out complete with Bombardon 32!

 

JS

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It might sound a tad morbid, bit it's worth setting out one's own wishes for when the day comes - for me it's JSB Sei gegrüßet - last 2 variations, with the final one played flat out complete with Bombardon 32!

 

JS

 

I’ve always fancied either “Lord, let me know mine end” (Maurice Green) or “I was glad” (Parry) as an anthem and Vierne 6th symphony Final. Strange choices maybe, but I like them.

 

:unsure:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It might sound a tad morbid, bit it's worth setting out one's own wishes for when the day comes...

 

I have already told my wife that I'm going out to 'Transports de joie'. I wanted it played at our wedding, but she vetoed it on the grounds that it might frighten the maiden aunts.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have already told my wife that I'm going out to 'Transports de joie'. I wanted it played at our wedding, but she vetoed it on the grounds that it might frighten the maiden aunts.

As we're in the realm of the personal I too would have had Transports or the Duruflé Toccata if there'd been an organ where we got married, as it was we had Purcell My Beloved Spake, Gershwin Our Love Is Here To Stay, Bloch’s Nigun and we exited to Walton’s Popular Song. I've played Transports after a wedding - tremendously appropriate, I think.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...