What Music Should Accompany the Royal Wedding?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Prince William and Kate Middleton, once the world's most talked-about college sweethearts, are finally getting hitched. The second in line to the British throne and his longtime girlfriend, both 28, plan to get married next year. Like any couple, they'll need to choose processional music for their wedding ceremony (unlike any couple, this promises to be a massive cultural event).

The couple could follow in the footsteps of their predecessors; the 1981 wedding of Prince Charles and then-Lady Diana Spencer featured the Trumpet Voluntary by Jeramiah Clarke. In 1986, Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson walked down the aisle to Edward Elgar's Imperial March. Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles chose a more offbeat selection for their civil ceremony in 2005: the plangent Adagio from Albinoni's Oboe Concerto.

What do you think makes the best processional music at a wedding? Take our poll:


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Comments [22]

Fred Messner from NYC metro area

Here are my suggestions for wedding music

(1) The middle section of Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance”— Number 4.
(2) “Jesus, Joy of Man’s Desiring” -- J.S. Bach
I played this on piano for our granddaughter’s wedding. It seemed to go very well and Svea and husband Jack just celebrated their first anniversary last week.
(3) “Yours Is My Heart Alone” from Franz Lehar’s “Land of Smiles”
We had this wonderful Lehar song sung at our wedding – by Ester Eklund, the mother of our bridesmaid Gladys “Ekkie” Eklund. It has a beautifully appropriate lyric for a wedding and it was charming to hear “Dein Ist Mein Ganzes Herz” in an English translation sung with a tinge of Swedish accent.

I recommend that the wedding couple endeavor to get Placido Domingo to sing this song! Although his heritage is Spanish, he sings German lyrics very well!
Incidentally, as testimony to how well this song worked as wedding music, my wife Vye and I celebrated our 61st wedding anniversary this month.
(4) “See the Conquiring Hero Comes” from “Judas Maccabaeus” by George Frederick Handel.
Incidentally I am 84 years old and have been a constant WQXR listener since the station first came on the air in the 1930’s.

Apr. 28 2011 11:52 AM
Connie Duever from New York City

Jeremiah Clarke would make a lovely processional and Widor's Toccata a festive recessional. That is what I had at my wedding.

Apr. 28 2011 11:40 AM
Mildred from East Brunswick, NJ

I and my bridesmaid when she married listened to selected parts of the fourth movement of Beethoven's 9th, for different parts of the service. I would have it again!

Apr. 28 2011 11:23 AM

act 2,mikado "braid the raven hair" and "brightly dawns our wedding day"

Apr. 28 2011 10:44 AM
Betty from New Jersey

I would suggest Victor Herbert's "Ah! Sweet Mystery of Life"

Apr. 28 2011 09:59 AM
Tim Murphy

I believe an appropriate wedding march would be Hector Berlioz's "March to the Gallows".

Apr. 28 2011 09:50 AM
Bruce Reese

I have liked the canon by Pachabel in D since it was used as a backdrop for the film " Ordinary People" and it would be approppo as a salutte to Kates family in recognition of her families genesis

Apr. 28 2011 09:24 AM
Scott Brodie from New York, NY

I used the Sinfonia to Bach's Cantata BWV # 29 as my recessional. People who attended still remember what a wonderful send-off to a new life it provided.

Apr. 28 2011 09:19 AM
concetta nardone from Elmont, NY

The opening music from the balcony scene of Romeo and Juliet by Gounod. This would be wonderful music when they exchange rings.

Apr. 26 2011 11:13 AM
Jim Trier from New York, NY

Last summer my son was married in what, to my wife's and my thinking, was the ultimate royal wedding. Unbeknownst to most present including my wife and I, the matron of honor was trained in voice. To honor her close friend, our new daughter in law, she stepped up to the microphone and sang Shubert's Ave Maria so beautifully there were tears in the eys of many of the guests. It was a stunning performance and an everlasting memory in the marriage of our only child. The Ave Maria has been used frequently at weddings as it was at our's, and there can be no better suggestion for wedding music.

Apr. 26 2011 08:54 AM

Taking into account the history of Royal marriages, I think the "March to the Scaffold" from Berlioz's Symphony Fantastique would be appropriate. It is a fortissimo piece that will keep some of the guests from falling asleep.

Apr. 25 2011 05:30 PM
Carol Clever, Torrance, CA from Torrance, California

As an organist also, I agree with Gary Odgaard of TX the "Te Deum" and/or "Crown Imperial" are su[urf choices. Charles and Diama recessed to Widor's "Toccata" from Didth

Gary"s suggestions of the "Te Deum" or "Crown Imperial" are excellent choices. As an organist also may I suggest for the recessional Widor's "Toccata" (Fifth Symph.) which Charles aand Diana used in St. Paul's. . However, it is French not English but I would like to hear it played on the Westminster orgaan anyway.

Apr. 25 2011 03:40 PM

First, isn't it generally required that a new piece be commissioned, if not for the processional, then for some part of the ceremony? And second, let's be serious: this is an Anglican wedding—the Clarke Trumpet Voluntary is de rigueur! In fact, as I recall, the Bridal March from Lohengrin is verboten in C of E weddings: please correct me if I'm mistaken. Lastly, as I recall, Walton's "Crown Imperial" was used as the recessional at William's parents' wedding. What a perfect selection!

Apr. 25 2011 11:13 AM
The Supreme Being from reno nv

many know Charles/Dianes wedding processional; do you know they had a royal reception song esp. composed? Called, "Drink up, Chuck and Di" :>)

Apr. 23 2011 12:53 PM
vicky c from Queens NY

Personally, I have no interest in "Royalty!" If there is to be music, let it be a "Funeral Dirge" for all the people in need who will be neglected due to extravagant waste of taxpayer money to promote an outdated monarchy!!

Apr. 19 2011 10:22 AM

Personally, Bubbies, the Geveret here thinks a little Siman Tov, Mazel Tov would add some badly needed life to the proceedings ... *wink*

Apr. 18 2011 05:25 PM
Michael Meltzer

WQXR suggests a list of 6 possible processionals for the British royal family, composed by 2 Englishmen, 3 Germans and 1 German expatriate.
Are you trying to be funny?

Nov. 20 2010 09:04 AM
Kenneth Bennett Lane from Lake Hiawatha, NJ

I agree with Michael Meltzer, all previous royalty coronations and marriages and special ceremonial occasions have the music, that is featured, commissioned for the occasion. Personally, being a "commoner" like almost everyone, I cannot fathom the use of Wagner's "Bridal Chorus" from "Lohengrin" as a proper selection for weddings considering the tragic outcome, Lohengrin's departure from Elsa and her collapse and death at that closure of what might have been a happy marriage. Bach, Handel, Elgar, Johann Strauss, the waltz king, and Wagner all had commissions either from royalty or, notably in the case of Wagner, ALSO for writing the Centennial March for the Colunbian Exposition held in 1876. Considering that the marriage will undoubtedly be of historic significance since his lineage, not talent nor an educational or an achievement cachet, qualifies him to make judgments, when the time arrives, that might affect the lives and livelihoods of multitudes, we should wish the couple well. A happy marriage makes for more maturity in matters that REALLY matter. The REAL royalty are the geniuses in science and the
arts, the Einsteins, Shakespeares, Rembrandts, Wagners, Michelangelos, Leonardo da Vincis, Mozarts, Bachs, Verdis, Dantes, etc.

Nov. 17 2010 06:09 PM
David from Flushing

I do not understand why Handel's "Queen of Sheba" music was considered given its quick tempo. The most majestic of Handel's processional music would be the "Solemn March for the Circumvection of the Ark of the Covenant" from Joshua, though this is likey too short for a long cathedral aisle.

Nov. 17 2010 03:59 PM
Gary Odgaard from Dallas, TX

as an organist, I would suggest to them the Charpentier "Te Deum" or the Walton "Crown Imperial"

Nov. 17 2010 01:10 PM
Claire Bracher from London

Well personally I think they would be mad not to have a viola da gamba player there!

Nov. 17 2010 11:48 AM
Michael Meltzer

I'm surprised that Charles and Andrew used anything that had been played before.
It once was a tradition to have original music commissioned or "invited to submit" for the occasion, by the Master of the Queen's Music and other composers.
Anything associated with royalty had to be unique and "special."
The question should not be "what music?" but "whose?"

Nov. 17 2010 01:23 AM

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