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The Forth in Praise Organists' Blog

The personal views of a Catholic parish organist

May 21, 2018

Bridal chit-chat (27): The Royal Wedding

evelyn @ 4:10 pm

Like a billion others, I tuned in. Like most organists, I had downloaded the Order of Service. Lovely day, well-planned rites, lots of dresses and hats to look at, and plenty of pageantry. But for the organist with a few spring and summer weddings coming up, the music was the main point of interest.

The bride came up the aisle to a Handel ode for soprano, trumpet and orchestra. Most tasteful, and tears were being shed. Handel solos do go on a bit, so the couple had to wait for the finish, exchanging a few lip-readable remarks as they did so.

Hymns – Slane and Cwm Rhondda – were just right. Motet and anthem – ditto. The gospel singers opened my eyes to the merits of a genre which I’d previously dismissed as ‘ok, but not my kind of music’.

Lovely cello pieces at the Register signing. The only slip-up was by the BBC when they labelled the Sicilienne as Fauré’s Après une Rêve, which was next on the list.

However, the most interesting moment for me was the music for the final procession. For a few seconds I thought it was Handel’s Hornpipe in F from the Water Music, which the opening resembled. But in fact it was one I didn’t know, Boyce’s Symphony No 1, first movement, for string orchestra. It was light and breezy and spring-like, a cheerful ending to this varied service.

At church on the Sunday after a royal wedding, some organists make it almost a point of honour to play the people out with the final music of that wedding, which is often something we already know. I could find only the four-part string version of the Boyce on the internet, but I downloaded it and spent a good part of Saturday afternoon cutting and pasting together the outer parts, with a view to a figured bass-style accompaniment. Alas, I just couldn’t get it to work on the organ. It needed the lightness of the strings. Or maybe it was me. I don’t know.

I reckoned it was pretty un-memorable to the majority of people, anyway. So I decided the Handel Hornpipe would be just as good, if not better.


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