Monday, May 2, 2011

Royal Wedding Fever

I am a true Natural Born United States Citizen, but I was born in Australia to American parents, and my father's heritage runs blue-blood from England and Scotland.  I have a soft spot for the marches of Elgar and the magnificent cathedrals and abbeys of London, so it is no surprise that I like royal weddings.

I first watched the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana in 1991, when it was rebroadcast on A&E.  Being a softie for this sort of thing, I taped it.  My wife hasn't watch it, but she did seem to like watching the most recent royal wedding when it was rebroadcast (same-day) on BBC America.  Little does she know that I modeled our own wedding ceremony (but far more spartanly) on Charles' and Diana's.  I so loved the old language of the service, that we based our vows on the old Book of Common Prayer.

I have visited Westminster Abbey, and I wondered so much how they could pull off a wedding there.  With unparalleled photographic access, the BBC showed us how.  I was especially happy to see the trees inside, with their young light green leaves glowing under the bright lights.  St. Paul's Cathedral (the site of Charles' and Diana's wedding) is much larger and better lit by the sun, but Westminster is no less beautiful for a wedding.

We waited until the bridal couple returned from signing the register before we thought about turning off the television.  I wanted to hear the household trumpeters deliver the fanfare--and what a job they did!  That was the best moment for me of the 1981 royal wedding (and I finally found a recording), so I especially wanted to see what they did in 2011.

For me, most weddings are musical.  I helped my mother and her best friend play piano and organ duets at several weddings (I was a page turner), and this has stuck with me.  The 1981 royal wedding was far more musical, with three orchestras, a few choirs, soprano Kiri te Kanawa, and spirited classical music from Clarke, Handel, and Elgar.  I like the Walton march used as the 2011 recessional less than I like Elgar's Pomp & Circumstance March #4, but it was well-played--better in fact than many recordings I have heard.

Next time you go to a wedding, pay attention to the music.  Usually there is a lot of thought that goes into choosing each piece, and certainly there is a lot of effort in performing it.  You might be able to read the bride and groom a little better as a result.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are welcome, but must be courteous and thoughtful. I reserve the right to delete comments that do not possess these characteristics.