August 1, 2011 1:55 PM   Subscribe

Well, it's T-minus five weeks to the wedding and I haven't got the music down. I've got a crapload of amazing singers and all of my ideas are going down the tubes. Hope?

I'm a semipro singer and there are just so many good options -- but none of the ones I like are really working.

Needs: probably just an anthem thingy. It's a civil ceremony done by a judge, but we would like to use the music to add a bit of a sacred feel to it. But it shouldn't be too solemn. Max length: maybe around 4 minutes at most.

I have at my disposal a fantastic bunch of professional musicians, including a ridiculous low bass. They would likely go one on a part. I have easy access to just about any sheet music I could want... except the one I DID want (see below). My friend has offered to rehearse them.

As for solo singers, I have (especially) a wonderful lyric baritone who would be well suited for things like Bach and Vaughan Williams. Also, my mom is a soprano/mezzo, but I don't know what I would have her sing (and I don't exactly trust her).

The singers would be up on a balcony overlooking the small chapel-like setting, all wood floors, only room enough for about 50 people. There's a piano on the main level, but I hear it's not great. We could probably get a Clavinova or similar.

Ideas I've had so far:

--Brother James' Air/The Lord's My Shepherd: I love the King's College Choir version, but procuring the sheet music is just a dead end.
--Bogoroditse Devo (Ave Maria) from Rach Vespers: probably wouldn't carry in the acoustics, or with one on a part.
--Anything Morten Lauridsen (specifically "Sure On This Shining Night" or "O Magnum Mysterium" or even "Dirait-on"): crowd-pleasing but slightly cheesy. They all sound the same, Morty.
--Something Vaughan Williamsy or lieder-y for the baritone: all I can think of is "The Call," which seems awfully staid. I love "Du bist die Ruh" but it's probably too slow.
--"Mache dich mein Herze rein" from St. Matthew Passion: I love the feel of this, but it is a) about death, b) really long.

If I can't figure this out, I'll probably just play recordings of stuff, which will sound fine but be a total cop out. Please help me take advantage of the amazing talent around me!
posted by Madamina to Media & Arts (12 answers total)
Bairstow? But I think you need a tenor for it.
posted by SLC Mom at 2:23 PM on August 1, 2011

Perhaps a musical setting of the Song of Ruth? That's a lovely text. As a soprano, I've sung two versions of it, and it's actually very appropriate for weddings. Unfortunately, I can't remember the composers.

You could also try a movement from Vivaldi's Gloria in D -- if you have a soprano in the wings, "Domine Deus Patri" is beautiful. But not your mother. She might not be in any shape to perform.
posted by tully_monster at 2:44 PM on August 1, 2011

Stephen Paulus' The Road Home is a beautiful song and a pleasure to perform (and not difficult to learn for your group). I believe he did the arrangement for a wedding. You could definitely have one of your male voices on the solo bit at the end and it would sound lovely. Order here. (Or elsewhere, I'm sure, but that's one option.)
posted by pupstocks at 2:57 PM on August 1, 2011

After reading my own link, I was reminded that it was commissioned in honor of someone's wedding anniversary. Close enough? :) I think it's very wedding appropriate, though. "There is no such beauty as where you belong..."
posted by pupstocks at 2:59 PM on August 1, 2011

Response by poster: Funny about that Bairstow suggestion -- I nearly listed that, as the choir in question sang it two years ago! The aforementioned ridiculous bass had suggested it, I think, and as my dad has a man-crush on him and his voice, that might be a good one.

The Paulus is really lovely, too, and would probably be pretty simple to put together.

My mom is the queen of all funeral singers. I can't even stand upright. She would PROBABLY be able to handle it (it's my second wedding :P) but one just never knows.

Great suggestions! Keep 'em coming!
posted by Madamina at 3:13 PM on August 1, 2011

When I read your post, the first thing that came to mind was John Ireland's Greater Love which is an amazing piece of music. I'm not sure how well it would go without organ or at least a decent piano though.

Since you say you aren't against "crowd-pleasing but slightly cheesy", where do you stand on Rutter? Not a fan of him myself*, but you certainly can't beat him for accessible and cheesy.

I'm not sure what you mean by the King's College version of The Lord's my Shepherd, but have you heard the Howard Goodall version? It's very nice, though not taken terribly seriously in the UK, not least because it was written as the theme to a long-running TV comedy.

*This was a running joke in the lead up to my own wedding.
posted by *becca* at 3:38 PM on August 1, 2011

How about Eric Whitacre's This Marriage (text by Rumi)?
posted by impluvium at 4:18 PM on August 1, 2011

To me, Du bist die Ruh feels perfect for a wedding, especially if it's a favorite of yours. How about a pair of songs -- one by Robert Schumann, one by Clara Schumann -- from the summer when they were newly married and writing lots of Lieder for each other? How about some of the more lyrical/slow Brahms one-on-a-part stuff, such as Kommt dir manchmal in den Sinn from Zigeunerlieder?

In fact, I would suggest asking this question in the repertoire discussion forum at You're likely to get lots of suggestions, including living composers offering you free PDFs of their own wedding-appropriate pieces.

(You and I appear to be getting married at the same time. :))
posted by kalapierson at 4:33 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

Unsurprisingly, there are also plenty of SATB arrangements of Du bist die Ruh, such as this...
posted by kalapierson at 4:47 PM on August 1, 2011

(The choir sang the Bairstow at our wedding. Someone blew up the sheet music into a large poster, then they all signed it and framed it for us. It is still on our wall today. It is one of my favorite things.)
posted by SLC Mom at 10:25 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

Going along the Lauridsenesque route, the setting of Ubi Caritas that Paul Mealor wrote for the recent royal wedding in the UK is quite appropriate. A lot of divisi though - depends how many singers you've got. We had the Duruflé setting of the same text at ours.
posted by monkey closet at 4:37 AM on August 2, 2011

Also, and I hope this is OK as a self(ish) link, I work for an organization that promotes choral singing. We've got a list of music for weddings here - the appropriate stuff starts on page four.
posted by monkey closet at 4:39 AM on August 2, 2011

« Older Web cam   |   I want to hear the wars Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.