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#2040922 - 02/28/13 05:21 PM Invited to play at a wedding?
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4779
Loc: USA
I was invited to play at a wedding. I have no idea what this means. I've never even been to a wedding. Who wants to hear classical at a wedding?? How much music would I need to have under my fingers? I'm definitely leaning towards 'no way' but if there's a possibility that I could have some fun with this I would do it. Tips, advice?

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#2040926 - 02/28/13 05:28 PM Re: Invited to play at a wedding? [Re: JoelW]
Vid Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/01
Posts: 839
Loc: Vancouver, B.C.
"Invited" that seems to imply its not a paid gig? Unless you are good friends with the bride and/or groom don't sell yourself short. Musicians get paid for playing at weddings!

If you do take it on the best thing to do would be to find easy arrangements of classics like Pachelbel's Canon in D, Bach's air on a G string (tee hee!) and other popular classical works. You can also throw in some more popular romantic type music as well.

Do you know in what context you will be performing? Do they want you to play for the ceremony or just the reception or both? For the ceremony you should expect them to dictate what pieces they want performed. For a reception you might have more choice but maybe figure out if there are some favorites the married couple would like to hear.
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#2040929 - 02/28/13 05:33 PM Re: Invited to play at a wedding? [Re: JoelW]
fnork Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/04
Posts: 1755
Loc: Helsinki, finland
well, the real question is - are you hired for playing background music, or are you supposed to be a more 'active' role in the wedding? I remember being asked to play at a wedding where nobody really cared much for what I was doing - no specific requests for songs etc, and I ended up just bringing a large pile of easy rep that I could sightread more or less. That was pretty fun, actually. You can do whatever, since nobody cares for what you do. If you're actually asked to perform and people will sit and listen, it's another story of course. Anyway, I see no reason for saying no until you get more details.
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#2040937 - 02/28/13 05:48 PM Re: Invited to play at a wedding? [Re: JoelW]
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4779
Loc: USA
It's for family. I wouldn't accept pay even if they offered. It would just be fun to play, however they have told me absolutely nothing yet about anything other than ''play at our wedding''.

Is classical repertoire even fitting for a wedding? It's in two months and I'm busy with large pieces of music and I don't have time to learn a bunch of 'wedding music'.

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#2040942 - 02/28/13 05:52 PM Re: Invited to play at a wedding? [Re: JoelW]
Pogorelich. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4528
Loc: in the past
Of course people have classical music at weddings.... I've played tons of weddings.

It really depends if you're in the actual ceremony or just background music at the reception. And the pieces are usually sight readable - wedding march, something beautiful for the signing of the registrar, etc.
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#2040956 - 02/28/13 06:24 PM Re: Invited to play at a wedding? [Re: JoelW]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5318
Loc: Philadelphia
I've only done a couple, and all of them were favors for family/very close friends. (No one could pay me enough to want to do it for money. Absolutely nothing wrong with it; it's just not my cup of tea.) I'm in a similar situation for this-coming fall. A family member asked me if I would play a piece at their reception, and I said sure. That quickly snowballed into playing through cocktail hour.

You'll have to find out from the bride and groom how long you're playing for, and which part of the wedding. In my case, I'm figuring about an hour, so I'm preparing one set, and if it goes a little over, I'll just repeat stuff from the beginning of the set. Most people won't know the difference, if they're even paying attention.

I am usually given free reign in choosing the repertoire (since it's family/friends). What I usually do is ask the bride/groom what they don't want, and then avoid it, since that category tends to be smaller than what they "don't mind hearing". Then ask if there's anything they really want to hear, and make sure to work it in. (My first teacher had one odd request for a Chopin polonaise and the Fantasie-Impromptu. Since I had already learned the rep, he brought me to the wedding. That was my first wedding experience as a performer.)

If you need to play "other than classical," you can pick up a wedding standards book at most stores. (If you can do lead sheets, even better.) Pick 10-20 selections to sight-read, get them playable, and enjoy the wedding. I wouldn't fuss over playing it perfectly. It is more than likely that nobody will be listening so intently.
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#2041000 - 02/28/13 07:48 PM Re: Invited to play at a wedding? [Re: JoelW]
daviel Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/07
Posts: 933
Loc: Waxahachie, Texas
Play the wedding! It'll be fun and good experience. Being it is kind of like a recital, I'd stay away from unfamiliar music - if you have a good classical rep, play that. Don't go learning new stuff. Play what you know. Estimate timing and prepare a "set list" so you do not have to think about what is next. Classical and weddings go together. Cool thing is that the bride and groom will never forget you.
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David Loving, Waxahachie, Texas

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#2041056 - 02/28/13 09:48 PM Re: Invited to play at a wedding? [Re: JoelW]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19777
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: JoelW
It's for family. I wouldn't accept pay even if they offered.

I'm with you on that. I've viewed it similarly also when it was for friends. I've seen that many people on this site seem to cringe over that, but I think there's another way to see it when it's for family or friends.

Quote:
....they have told me absolutely nothing yet about anything other than ''play at our wedding''.

Is classical repertoire even fitting for a wedding? It's in two months and I'm busy with large pieces of music and I don't have time to learn a bunch of 'wedding music'.

It would be good to speak with them and find out what they have in mind. It's possible that they're expecting you to play "Here Comes the Bride" and Mendelssohn's Wedding March, without having said anything. Maybe they're figuring "of course he knows we'll want that" and "of course he can play them." I've done a couple of weddings where it was like that, and it's a good thing I checked it out in advance, because before that, I didn't know how to play them. ha

If that is part of what they're expecting, and if you can't already just play them, I think it would be good to learn them, maybe even do your own little arrangements of them. That's what I did, and I made them a little more interesting than the standard thing, mostly for myself because otherwise I wouldn't have been that interested to spend time on them at all.

About playing classical stuff (not that those things aren't classical -- they are! -- but y'know what I mean) smile .....maybe that's part of what they're expecting too. If not, and if you feel like doing some of your regular stuff too, maybe you could suggest it, and they might like the idea. It would then just be a thing of finding where a good spot for it would be during the wedding or reception or whatever -- and sometimes there isn't.

Originally Posted By: Derulux
....(My first teacher had one odd request for a Chopin polonaise and the Fantasie-Impromptu....

Those happen to be part of what I played at 'my' first wedding. They didn't particularly want the standard stuff, but just whatever I wanted. I played the theme of the A-flat Polonaise for when the bride came in, I don't remember what I played instead of the usual Wedding March, and the Fantaisie-Impromptu and some other things were later on. They loved it. So did I. smile

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#2041096 - 02/28/13 11:52 PM Re: Invited to play at a wedding? [Re: Mark_C]
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18024
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
[...]Those happen to be part of what I played at 'my' first wedding. [...]


So ... how many times have you been married? smile
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#2041098 - 02/28/13 11:55 PM Re: Invited to play at a wedding? [Re: JoelW]
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18024
Loc: Victoria, BC
JW :

As others are suggesting, do consult with the bride and groom. They may, as has been suggested, think you know what they'll want/need. They may think that you know that they mean the ceremony or that they mean the reception or that they mean both. You'd better find out. While you're at it, find out exactly what kind of music they want.

Don't assume anything! Don't even assume - without checking first - that there will be a playable piano at the venue at which they want you to play. "Piano? Oh, we thought that this little Casio keyboard would be fine for you. You can play anything, right?" The more you find out "for sure," the better the experience will be.

Regards,
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BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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#2041100 - 03/01/13 12:01 AM Re: Invited to play at a wedding? [Re: JoelW]
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4779
Loc: USA
Thanks everyone.

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#2041101 - 03/01/13 12:01 AM Re: Invited to play at a wedding? [Re: JoelW]
Nikolas Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5262
Loc: Europe
And be prepared to play 'Gangam Style' on the piano! wink laugh
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#2041114 - 03/01/13 12:54 AM Re: Invited to play at a wedding? [Re: JoelW]
Auntie Lynn Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/04
Posts: 1105
Loc: San Francisco, CA
Amazon has a terrific wedding fake book. I have it. It's good as far as it goes. I've played a ton of weddings and always got paid. I use a lot of baroque...

And I play for the marriages that LAST!!

Mwah!

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#2041381 - 03/01/13 02:25 PM Re: Invited to play at a wedding? [Re: JoelW]
AndyJ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/12
Posts: 219
Loc: Near Dayton, Ohio USA
I played the Wedding March at my brother's and sister's weddings. My sister was married in Los Angeles, where I lived in my adolescence and my piano teacher still lives. My piano teacher is an extremely gifted musician, director of the music program at a prestigious private school, and a family friend whose daughter was the maid of honor IIRR. She planned the music and decided the Wedding March would work best played as a one piano, four hands piece with trumpets to play the flourishes. She supplied the trumpet players (from her high school) and two of the four hands; I just played the bass lines. It was terrific.

My brother's wedding was more modest, and I played the Wedding March all by myself there. That was also fun.

Have a great time!

Andy

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#2041410 - 03/01/13 02:59 PM Re: Invited to play at a wedding? [Re: AndyJ]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5318
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: AndyJ
I played the Wedding March at my brother's and sister's weddings. My sister was married in Los Angeles, where I lived in my adolescence and my piano teacher still lives. My piano teacher is an extremely gifted musician, director of the music program at a prestigious private school, and a family friend whose daughter was the maid of honor IIRR. She planned the music and decided the Wedding March would work best played as a one piano, four hands piece with trumpets to play the flourishes. She supplied the trumpet players (from her high school) and two of the four hands; I just played the bass lines. It was terrific.

My brother's wedding was more modest, and I played the Wedding March all by myself there. That was also fun.

Have a great time!

Andy

Did you happen to play the full piece? Surprisingly, and though it is overplayed, it is one of my favorites. Maybe because it's Mendelssohn..?
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#2041426 - 03/01/13 03:14 PM Re: Invited to play at a wedding? [Re: Derulux]
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18024
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: Derulux
Originally Posted By: AndyJ
I played the Wedding March at my brother's and sister's weddings. My sister was married in Los Angeles, where I lived in my adolescence and my piano teacher still lives. My piano teacher is an extremely gifted musician, director of the music program at a prestigious private school, and a family friend whose daughter was the maid of honor IIRR. She planned the music and decided the Wedding March would work best played as a one piano, four hands piece with trumpets to play the flourishes. She supplied the trumpet players (from her high school) and two of the four hands; I just played the bass lines. It was terrific.

My brother's wedding was more modest, and I played the Wedding March all by myself there. That was also fun.

Have a great time!

Andy

Did you happen to play the full piece? Surprisingly, and though it is overplayed, it is one of my favorites. Maybe because it's Mendelssohn..?


Originally Posted By: Derulux
[...]
Did you happen to play the full piece? Surprisingly, and though it is overplayed, it is one of my favorites. Maybe because it's Mendelssohn..?


In many traditional weddings, the "Wedding March" from Wagner's Lohengrin is played as a processional (more sedate and serious) and the Mendelssohn is played as the recessional (more joyful and celebratory). Which one are we talking about here?
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BruceD
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Estonia 190

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#2041436 - 03/01/13 03:24 PM Re: Invited to play at a wedding? [Re: BruceD]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19777
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: BruceD
In many traditional weddings, the "Wedding March" from Wagner's Lohengrin is played as a processional (more sedate and serious) and the Mendelssohn is played as the recessional (more joyful and celebratory). Which one are we talking about here?

I wondered too.

I had a feeling Andy might have meant the Wagner but Derulux assumed it was the Mendelssohn because that's the one whose name is more so "Wedding March" -- but popularly the Wagner is probably more thought of as being it.

BTW, in looking up some stuff to try to do a silly joke post (don't ask) ha I came upon a little-known pianist who's worth knowing about -- will do separate thread.

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#2041449 - 03/01/13 03:41 PM Re: Invited to play at a wedding? [Re: Mark_C]
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4779
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Mark_C

BTW, in looking up some stuff to try to do a silly joke post (don't ask) ha


.......................................................................... TELL US, MARK. grin

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#2041471 - 03/01/13 04:24 PM Re: Invited to play at a wedding? [Re: BruceD]
bennevis Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5121
Originally Posted By: BruceD


In many traditional weddings, the "Wedding March" from Wagner's Lohengrin is played as a processional (more sedate and serious) and the Mendelssohn is played as the recessional (more joyful and celebratory). Which one are we talking about here?


Don't people usually have the Widor Toccata (from Organ Symphony No.5) as the recessional? The composer has transcribed it for solo piano, but I've never heard that version.
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"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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#2041478 - 03/01/13 04:31 PM Re: Invited to play at a wedding? [Re: bennevis]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19777
Loc: New York
Are you serious? grin
Perhaps not.

I'm sure most people haven't heard of it, nor heard it.
Including me (I just checked it out).

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#2041485 - 03/01/13 04:40 PM Re: Invited to play at a wedding? [Re: Mark_C]
bennevis Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5121
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Are you serious? grin
Perhaps not.

I'm sure most people haven't heard of it, nor heard it.
Including me (I just checked it out).


Apparently there is: www.crescendomusicpubs.com.au/subpages/widortoccata.html
_________________________
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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#2041501 - 03/01/13 05:07 PM Re: Invited to play at a wedding? [Re: bennevis]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19777
Loc: New York
Nobody said there wasn't! smile

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#2041555 - 03/01/13 06:37 PM Re: Invited to play at a wedding? [Re: BruceD]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5318
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: BruceD
Originally Posted By: Derulux
Originally Posted By: AndyJ
I played the Wedding March at my brother's and sister's weddings. My sister was married in Los Angeles, where I lived in my adolescence and my piano teacher still lives. My piano teacher is an extremely gifted musician, director of the music program at a prestigious private school, and a family friend whose daughter was the maid of honor IIRR. She planned the music and decided the Wedding March would work best played as a one piano, four hands piece with trumpets to play the flourishes. She supplied the trumpet players (from her high school) and two of the four hands; I just played the bass lines. It was terrific.

My brother's wedding was more modest, and I played the Wedding March all by myself there. That was also fun.

Have a great time!

Andy

Did you happen to play the full piece? Surprisingly, and though it is overplayed, it is one of my favorites. Maybe because it's Mendelssohn..?


Originally Posted By: Derulux
[...]
Did you happen to play the full piece? Surprisingly, and though it is overplayed, it is one of my favorites. Maybe because it's Mendelssohn..?


In many traditional weddings, the "Wedding March" from Wagner's Lohengrin is played as a processional (more sedate and serious) and the Mendelssohn is played as the recessional (more joyful and celebratory). Which one are we talking about here?

Isn't Wagner's piece called the "Bridal Chorus"?
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#2041566 - 03/01/13 07:07 PM Re: Invited to play at a wedding? [Re: Mark_C]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3181
Loc: Maine
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Are you serious? grin
Perhaps not.

I'm sure most people haven't heard of it, nor heard it.
Including me (I just checked it out).

This is how we can tell this is a piano forum and not an organ forum!

The Widor Toccata is fantastic. I'm not getting married anytime soon, but hey, who needs a wedding? Maybe I could commission an organist to play it just for me smile.
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Ebaug(maj7)

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#2041567 - 03/01/13 07:15 PM Re: Invited to play at a wedding? [Re: Mark_C]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5932
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Are you serious? grin
Perhaps not.
I'm sure most people haven't heard of it, nor heard it.
Including me (I just checked it out).
Where I am it's very popular as a wedding recessional. I'd hazard a guess that it's one of the most recognised organ pieces around, though not everyone would be able to name the composer.
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Du holde Kunst...

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#2041571 - 03/01/13 07:24 PM Re: Invited to play at a wedding? [Re: Derulux]
AndyJ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/12
Posts: 219
Loc: Near Dayton, Ohio USA
Originally Posted By: Derulux
Did you happen to play the full piece? Surprisingly, and though it is overplayed, it is one of my favorites. Maybe because it's Mendelssohn..?

I can't remember exactly how much of the Mendelssohn (not Wagner, sorry folks!) we played but I'm pretty sure it wasn't the whole thing. I'll have to dig it out and refresh my memory.

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#2041585 - 03/01/13 07:49 PM Re: Invited to play at a wedding? [Re: Derulux]
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18024
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: Derulux
Originally Posted By: BruceD
Originally Posted By: Derulux
Originally Posted By: AndyJ
I played the Wedding March at my brother's and sister's weddings. My sister was married in Los Angeles, where I lived in my adolescence and my piano teacher still lives. My piano teacher is an extremely gifted musician, director of the music program at a prestigious private school, and a family friend whose daughter was the maid of honor IIRR. She planned the music and decided the Wedding March would work best played as a one piano, four hands piece with trumpets to play the flourishes. She supplied the trumpet players (from her high school) and two of the four hands; I just played the bass lines. It was terrific.

My brother's wedding was more modest, and I played the Wedding March all by myself there. That was also fun.

Have a great time!

Andy

Did you happen to play the full piece? Surprisingly, and though it is overplayed, it is one of my favorites. Maybe because it's Mendelssohn..?


Originally Posted By: Derulux
[...]
Did you happen to play the full piece? Surprisingly, and though it is overplayed, it is one of my favorites. Maybe because it's Mendelssohn..?


In many traditional weddings, the "Wedding March" from Wagner's Lohengrin is played as a processional (more sedate and serious) and the Mendelssohn is played as the recessional (more joyful and celebratory). Which one are we talking about here?

Isn't Wagner's piece called the "Bridal Chorus"?


Only by those who know better smile
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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#2041752 - 03/02/13 08:05 AM Re: Invited to play at a wedding? [Re: JoelW]
Roger Ransom Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/19/05
Posts: 1257
Loc: SouthWest Michigan
I've played for several weddings and after talking to the (bride usually) they knew exactly what they wanted for the actual ceremony and let me play whatever I wanted to for background before and after it.

Also, make certain that someone is in charge of signalling you in some way so you know exactly when to start and stop whatever you play (often the preacher if there is one). I didn't do this at my first one and there were some mildly embarrassing moments. As has already been said, do not assume anything.

After the first one that had a horrendous piano, I take my keyboard and a set of small speakers so I at least know what I'll be playing.

Go for it, it's a lot of fun although I wouldn't want to do it for a living.

One of them was outside and we did it between rain clouds. All good fun.


Edited by Roger Ransom (03/02/13 08:12 AM)
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#2041991 - 03/02/13 06:36 PM Re: Invited to play at a wedding? [Re: BruceD]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5318
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: BruceD
Originally Posted By: Derulux
Originally Posted By: BruceD
Originally Posted By: Derulux
Originally Posted By: AndyJ
I played the Wedding March at my brother's and sister's weddings. My sister was married in Los Angeles, where I lived in my adolescence and my piano teacher still lives. My piano teacher is an extremely gifted musician, director of the music program at a prestigious private school, and a family friend whose daughter was the maid of honor IIRR. She planned the music and decided the Wedding March would work best played as a one piano, four hands piece with trumpets to play the flourishes. She supplied the trumpet players (from her high school) and two of the four hands; I just played the bass lines. It was terrific.

My brother's wedding was more modest, and I played the Wedding March all by myself there. That was also fun.

Have a great time!

Andy

Did you happen to play the full piece? Surprisingly, and though it is overplayed, it is one of my favorites. Maybe because it's Mendelssohn..?


Originally Posted By: Derulux
[...]
Did you happen to play the full piece? Surprisingly, and though it is overplayed, it is one of my favorites. Maybe because it's Mendelssohn..?


In many traditional weddings, the "Wedding March" from Wagner's Lohengrin is played as a processional (more sedate and serious) and the Mendelssohn is played as the recessional (more joyful and celebratory). Which one are we talking about here?

Isn't Wagner's piece called the "Bridal Chorus"?


Only by those who know better smile

HAHAHA touche! laugh


Originally Posted By: AndyJ
Originally Posted By: Derulux
Did you happen to play the full piece? Surprisingly, and though it is overplayed, it is one of my favorites. Maybe because it's Mendelssohn..?

I can't remember exactly how much of the Mendelssohn (not Wagner, sorry folks!) we played but I'm pretty sure it wasn't the whole thing. I'll have to dig it out and refresh my memory.

The middle section is actually my favorite part of the piece. However, I do appreciate it better at a little slower tempo than the march suggests. Mendelssohn would probably roll over in his grave if he heard me play it.. wink
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