5 Famous Wedding Processionals: Where Did They Come From?

Are you looking for the perfect musical selection to walk down the aisle to? In this episode of The Art of Listening, we discover 5 pieces that have become standards for brides to walk down the aisle to on their special day.

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Welcome to The Art of Listening, a Podcast about classical music, conducting, composition, the business of music, and how to listen to it all. Each week, conductor, composer, and violinist Gabriel Gordon and a host of featured guests discuss the Art of Listening.

In this episode of “The Art of Listening” Gabriel Gordon and Jeff Bradbury walk you through 5 of the most famous wedding professionals and share some stories about performing them for brides on their most special day.

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5 Wedding Processionals … Where did they come from?

Where did your wedding processional come from? When was it written and who wrote it? Why did they write it, and more interesting facts about all the music you have all heard.

  • Wagner – Bridal March from “Lohengrin”
    • In the opera after the Heroine Elsa gets married to Lohengrin
    • Premiered in 1850 with Franz Lizt conducting
    • Made famous for weddings after the English princess Royal Victoria married King Frederick of Prussia in the 1880’s
  • Trumpet Voluntary
    • Not for Trumpet, but for organ with the trumpet stop
    • Not by Henry Purcell, but by Jeramiah Clarke who was a contemporary of Purcell and was an organist in London
  • Water Music – Air
    • Written by Handel of The Messiah fame
    • The Hornpipe is used as a recessional
    • Called “Water Music” because it was literally performed on the water
  • Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring
    • Begins and ends a cantata Bach wrote in 1723
    • Played much slower for weddings
    • Bach approved of different instrumentations especially for his cantatas
  • Pachelbel Canon
    • Written anywhere between 1680 and 1700
    • Knew Bach’s father, and may have met Bach as a child – Bach’s older brother studied with Pachelbel, and this piece may have been played at his wedding
    • Made famous by Jean Francois Paillard and Ordinary people

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