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Wedding Music - Mayhew Volumes

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My priest asked me yesterday whether it would be a good idea for the church to buy one of those bumper volumes of wedding music with all the usual warhorses in it. In principle this struck me as an excellent idea since I only have a very limited selection myself and to have a stock of arrangements ready at hand would relieve the happy couple of the chore of sourcing the music themselves (and then most likely presenting me with something I have to arrange). He had been looking at the Mayhew website and wondered whether any of the volumes listed there would fit the bill.

 

Discounting the volume for manuals only, I see only two options:

 

The Essential Book of Wedding Music (Revised and Enlarged) (£31.99, but "out of stock - available to backorder" - does this mean print on demand?) and:

 

Essential Wedding Music for Organ (£29.99). This contains nearly all the 50 pieces in the other volume plus a great deal more besides - over 100 pieces in all. So on the face of it there is no contest, but...

 

1. What is the difference between the two volumes other than the number of pieces? What's the catch with the bigger volume being cheaper?

 

2. Assuming I go for the bigger volume, it's bound to be thick. Is it actually practical? How easy is it to keep open on the music desk? Does one need to break/crack the spine. I don't mind doing this, but can the binding take it?

 

3. How durable is the volume? (Perhaps not too big an issue since it probably won't get used much.)

 

4. How good are the arrangements?

 

5. Are there any other similar but better volumes from other publishers? I'm aware from another recent thread that Cramer publish a couple, but Googling suggests that they consist mainly of proper organ music, which is not what we need - I have plenty of that!

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2. Assuming I go for the bigger volume, it's bound to be thick. Is it actually practical? How easy is it to keep open on the music desk? Does one need to break/crack the spine. I don't mind doing this, but can the binding take it?

 

3. How durable is the volume? (Perhaps not too big an issue since it probably won't get used much.)

 

My experience of Mayhew books is that they're cheap for a reason; poor bindings, won't lie flat, and fall apart quickly. I've not used the wedding volumes you describe, but the 2 or 3 Mayhew organ volumes I have purchased, probably all around 3 years ago, are falling apart. As are the church's music copies of Hymns Old & New. The only Mayhew book I've got which has survived is a collection of Stanford/Parry/Brahms Preludes. It's not great to play from though; won't stay open.

 

I've got The Organist's Wedding Album Vol I and II (Cramer, maybe?), and they're good, and a collection edited by Noel Rawsthorne that I forget the name of. These have lasted well and contain good music and good arrangements.

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Are there any other similar but better volumes from other publishers?

The Oxford Book of Wedding Music?

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I've got The Organist's Wedding Album Vol I and II (Cramer, maybe?), and they're good, and a collection edited by Noel Rawsthorne that I forget the name of. These have lasted well and contain good music and good arrangements.

 

Would the Rawsthorne volume be 'Music for the Bride'? I was fortunate to pick up a retiring organist's redundant copy and it is a very useful volume, which does not suffer from being ridiculously thick and difficult to open (around 100 pages). It contains many of the transcriptions you'd probably want in decent arrangements (Wagner, Mendelssohn, Clarke, Charpentier, Purcell, several Handel, some JSB and a few odd other bits - doesn't have the Widor but I'd guess you'll already have access to that!), but I think its now out of print. It's the only place I've seen the Rawsthorne 'Prelude on the Londonderry Air' which is one of those very useful pieces which you can use for weddings, funerals or on a Sunday morning. I see Roger Molyneux has a copy (p43 of his current catalogue) although £20 seems quite expensive for a modestly sized volume.

 

Unfortunately, Mayhew's current policy seems to be on producing larger volumes and selling them for a higher price - but this of course neglects the problems with keeping the books open when they get above a certain size. If they would listen to suggestions (which they don't seem to) I'm sure many of us would rather pay £5 extra to have a spiral bound volume which will sit open on the stand and would stand the test of time rather better.

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Thank you, everyone, that's very helpful. As I feared it looks very much as if the Mayhew volumes would be a false ecomony. There seem to be a few secondhand copies of "Music for a Bride" around, but I see it's another Mayhew book and it sounds as if it has perfect binding with the usual problems that that entails.

 

The Oxford book looks as if it has most things, though I'm surprised it omits Handel's Largo and Bach's "Sheep may safely graze"; perhaps the younger generations no longer know these.

 

Also, considering what sparked this whole issue, it would be useful to have Schubert's "Ave Maria". The other day, a bride specifically asked the priest for "Ave Maria", but, when asked which one, could only say, "Oh, I don't know. The usual one!" The Gounod is easly arranged (fortunately I have a nice 2' pedal flute for the melody), but the Schubert is less adaptable and I have better ways to spend my time.

 

From that point of view, it looks as though the Cramer volumes might be the ones to go for - thanks, AJT. I can't find a list of contents online, but the synopsis of Volume I looks promising. Any chance you could give a few more details, please? Does Volume II contain any music that couples might request?

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Thank you, everyone, that's very helpful. As I feared it looks very much as if the Mayhew volumes would be a false ecomony. There seem to be a few secondhand copies of "Music for a Bride" around, but I see it's another Mayhew book and it sounds as if it has perfect binding with the usual problems that that entails.

 

The Oxford books looks as if it has most things, though I'm surprised it omits Handel's Largo and Bach's "Sheep may safely graze"; perhaps the younger generations no longer know these.

 

Also, considering what sparked this whole issue, it would be useful to have Schubert's "Ave Maria". The other day, a bride specifically asked the priest for "Ave Maria", but, when asked which one, could only say, "Oh, I don't know. The usual one!" The Gounod is easly arranged (fortunately I have a nice 2' pedal flute for the melody), but the Schubert is less adaptable and I have better ways to spend my time.

 

From that point of view, it looks as though the Cramer volumes might be the ones to go for - thanks, AJT. I can't find a list of contents online, but the synopsis of Volume I looks promising. Any chance you could give a few more details, please? Does Volume II contain any music that couples might request?

 

The Cramer is far better Ive been using mine since 1992 and apart from worn page turns the binding is still good.

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The Cramer is far better Ive been using mine since 1992 and apart from worn page turns the binding is still good.

If it's the book I'm thinking of there are a few misprints.

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The 'Celebrated French Toccatas' collection by Cramer also has quite a few misprints in it.

 

For my usual wedding fodder, I usually play from the aforementioned Oxford Book of Wedding Music, and also The Essential Organist (Mayhew) which has quite a lot of the usual wedding fayre. It also has the Rawsthorne Londonderry Air in it too.

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Thank you, everyone, that's very helpful. As I feared it looks very much as if the Mayhew volumes would be a false ecomony. There seem to be a few secondhand copies of "Music for a Bride" around, but I see it's another Mayhew book and it sounds as if it has perfect binding with the usual problems that that entails.

 

The Oxford book looks as if it has most things, though I'm surprised it omits Handel's Largo and Bach's "Sheep may safely graze"; perhaps the younger generations no longer know these.

 

Also, considering what sparked this whole issue, it would be useful to have Schubert's "Ave Maria". The other day, a bride specifically asked the priest for "Ave Maria", but, when asked which one, could only say, "Oh, I don't know. The usual one!" The Gounod is easly arranged (fortunately I have a nice 2' pedal flute for the melody), but the Schubert is less adaptable and I have better ways to spend my time.

 

From that point of view, it looks as though the Cramer volumes might be the ones to go for - thanks, AJT. I can't find a list of contents online, but the synopsis of Volume I looks promising. Any chance you could give a few more details, please? Does Volume II contain any music that couples might request?

 

Off the top of my head, I can't remember what's in which volume, but stuff I use or will use once I've learnt all the dots from them:

 

Pachelbel's Canon

Mendelssohn A major

Widor V

Widor Marche Pontificale

Lang Tuba Tune

Elgar Pomp Circumstance (no ?? in G)

Charpentier Te Deum

Clarke Trumpet

Purcell Trumpet

Purcell Rondeau

The usual Fireworks suite suspects

Vierne Finale from Symph 1

Grand March from Aida

Queen of Sheba

Jesu Joy

Both Ave Marias

Nun Danket

Stanley Trumpet Vols

Guilmant Grand Choeur in D

and obviously the brainless bride's choice, Wager and Mendelssohn wedding marches.

 

Ah hah - just found this on the web:

Organist's Wedding Album Vol 1 - Cramer Contents: Bach-Gounod Ave Maria, Bach Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring, Parry Chorale Prelude on 'Melcombe', Karg-Elerg Chorale Improvisation on 'Freu Dich Sehr, O Meine Seele', Pachelbel Canon, Schubert Ave Maria, Faure Apres un Reve, Bach Chorale Prelude on 'Nun Freut Euch, Christen G'Mein' BWV734, Stanley Trumpet Voluntaries 5 and 6 from Opus 6, Handel Minuet from 'Royal Fireworks', Clarke Prince of Denmark's March, Mendelssohn Organ Sonata 2 (3rd movement), Mendelssohn Organ Sonata 3 (1st movement), Wagner Bridal Chorus from ' Lohengrin', Elgar Sonata 2 Op 87a (extract), Charpentier Trumpet Tune (from Te Deum), Purcell Trumpet Tune in D, Verdi Grand March from 'Aida', Handel Hornpipe from 'Water Music', Guilmant Grand Choeur in D Op 18, Handel March from the Overture to the 'Occasional Oratorio', Karg-Elert Chorale Improvisation on 'Nun Danket Alle Gott', Lang Tuba Tune, Mendelssohn Wedding March from 'A Midsummer Night's Dream', Vierne Finale from 'Symphony No 1', Widor Marche Pontificale from 'Symphony No 1', Widor Toccata from 'Symphony No 5'

 

Organist's Wedding Album Vol 2 - Cramer Contents: Arne Ayre and Gavot, Bach Air (from Suite No 3 in D), Bach Fugue a la Gigue, Bach Sheep may safely graze, Dubois Cantilene Nuptiale, Dubois Grand Choeur in B flat, Elgar Pomp and Circumstance March No 4, Elgar Triumphal March (from Caractacus), Farrar A Wedding Piece, Felton A Little Tune, Handel Air (from Water Music), Handel Arrival of the Queen of Sheba (from Solomon), Handel March (from Scipio), Hollins Trumpet Minuet, Lemare Minuet Nuptiale, Lemmens Fanfare, Mendelssohn War March of the Priests (from Athalia), Nicholas Toccata Giubiloso, Parry Bridal March (from the Birds of Aristophanes), Purcell Rondeau (from Abdelazar), Saint-Saens Benediction Nuptiale, Salome Marche (from Douze Pieces Nouvelles), Smart Postlude in D, Wesley Air (from 12 Short Pieces), Wesley Gavotte (from 12 Short Pieces

 

And yes, the other volume I referred to was the Music for a Bride. Bit "large print", and reasonably straightforward arrangements.

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The Oxford book looks as if it has most things, though I'm surprised it omits Handel's Largo and Bach's "Sheep may safely graze"; perhaps the younger generations no longer know these.

My copy of the Oxford book has 'Sheep may safely graze', and a note at the front says that Handel's Largo is in the Wedding Music for Manuals edition. I've happily used the Oxford book for eight years, in conjunction with a couple of similar Novello volumes to fill any gaps (I acquired these second-hand and suspect they're out of print now).

 

Don't your wedding couples like the Dupré Op.7 G minor then? :rolleyes:

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Ah hah - just found this on the web:

Fantastic - that's really helpful. Thanks. The Cramer volumes it is, then.

 

My copy of the Oxford book has 'Sheep may safely graze', and a note at the front says that Handel's Largo is in the Wedding Music for Manuals edition. I've happily used the Oxford book for eight years, in conjunction with a couple of similar Novello volumes to fill any gaps (I acquired these second-hand and suspect they're out of print now).

 

Don't your wedding couples like the Dupré Op.7 G minor then? :rolleyes:

I used to dissuade couples from "Sheep may safely graze" by asking whether the groom was Welsh. Down here I suppose it'll have to be Cornish. (I'll get some complaints for that!) I do actually have a version of Handel's Largo in the old Oxford Book of Wedding Music (which also has very serviceable arrangements of the Mendelssohn and Wagner and Bach's Air from Suite #3, but not a lot else of use).

 

As for the Dupré, the cynic in me tells me that you could hardly get anything more suitably Bacchanalian for a wedding than that fugue. I think I've said before that it always has me imagining devils dancing inceasingly wildly round a midnight bonfire. But the rational side of me tells me it's inappropriate for precisely that reason.

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Guest Patrick Coleman
I used to dissuade couples from "Sheep may safely graze" by asking whether the groom was Welsh.

 

And this after I had asserted in another thread that this forum did not descend to the personally offensive... :(

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My priest asked me yesterday whether it would be a good idea for the church to buy one of those bumper volumes of wedding music with all the usual warhorses in it. In principle this struck me as an excellent idea since I only have a very limited selection myself and to have a stock of arrangements ready at hand would relieve the happy couple of the chore of sourcing the music themselves (and then most likely presenting me with something I have to arrange). He had been looking at the Mayhew website and wondered whether any of the volumes listed there would fit the bill.

 

Discounting the volume for manuals only, I see only two options:

 

The Essential Book of Wedding Music (Revised and Enlarged) (£31.99, but "out of stock - available to backorder" - does this mean print on demand?) and:

 

Essential Wedding Music for Organ (£29.99). This contains nearly all the 50 pieces in the other volume plus a great deal more besides - over 100 pieces in all. So on the face of it there is no contest, but...

 

1. What is the difference between the two volumes other than the number of pieces? What's the catch with the bigger volume being cheaper?

 

2. Assuming I go for the bigger volume, it's bound to be thick. Is it actually practical? How easy is it to keep open on the music desk? Does one need to break/crack the spine. I don't mind doing this, but can the binding take it?

 

3. How durable is the volume? (Perhaps not too big an issue since it probably won't get used much.)

 

4. How good are the arrangements?

 

5. Are there any other similar but better volumes from other publishers? I'm aware from another recent thread that Cramer publish a couple, but Googling suggests that they consist mainly of proper organ music, which is not what we need - I have plenty of that!

 

I've used the Mayhew Essential Book of Wedding Music for years. It's good. It's properly bound (the pages are sewn in, not just stuck in) and it's a practical size. It stays open (after suitable massaging) and has withstood a lot of use (including lots of travel) over the 9 or 10 years I've had it. It's still in very good condition - no rips or tears anywhere and the binding has shown no weaknesses.

 

There's good selection of pieces and they're generally good arrangements - especially the Noel Rawsthorne arrangements. There are not too many arrangements by Colin Hand, either. Having also seen the Oxford Book of Wedding Music, I would say that the Mayhew book is more practical - the Oxford book tends to assume you'll always have 3 manuals and a Tuba. Good examples of these are the Mendelssohn Wedding March and the Bridal March. The Mayhew arrangements are slightly simpler but scale up well to large instruments - the Oxford arrangements start to pose difficult issues when you try to scale them down to a smaller instrument and require more thought to realise. Frequently, I don't want to think too much when playing for a wedding - best to keep things simple!

 

Maybe the thing to do is get both and decide which one you prefer.

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And this after I had asserted in another thread that this forum did not descend to the personally offensive... :(

I'm sorry, Patrick. I'm sure the Welsh (and probably not only them) find that old quip as tedious and threadbare as we do all those eternally boring "organ" jokes, but at least it hopefully prompts people to think about the music they are choosing. Another organist I know had to play "Be still for the presence of the Lord" at a funeral recently. As he remarked, "There's not much option there, is there?"

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