Remember how I wrote I have to play at a friend's wedding last Saturday?
Since the ceremony took place in a side chapel but I played the main organ, I had to use some signs about the timing of the music - I simply didn't know what was going on at the chapel. The solution was simple - they rang a bell for me.
My friend didn't want any traditional wedding music so I had to improvise which was nice. His only request was that the prelude and postlude would be joyful and the first interlude - calm and peaceful.
I recorded all the 5 pieces that I played.
Hope you'll find them interesting:
Wedding Interlude 1
Wedding Interlude 2
Wedding Interlude 3
This Saturday my friend Gediminas asked me to play for his wedding at St John's church (I don't usually do this because they have their own wedding organist there).
It will be a special setting: the liturgy will take place in one of the chapels but the organ will sound from the nave.
This morning my friend came over to the organ balcony to discuss the order of organ music.
Because the ceremony will be in a different room than the organist, I will not have the opportunity to sing Veni Creator hymn and the psalm.
Here's what I will play (it will be all improvisations - my friend didn't want any of the Mendelssohn's or Wagner's favorites):
1. The Prelude while people are gathering (2-3 minutes)
2. Interlude 1 before the opening prayer (2-3 minutes)
3. Interlude 2 after the 1st reading (2-3 minutes)
4. Interlude 3 after the 2nd reading (2-3 minutes)
5. The Postlude at the end
I'm curious how much organ music do you guys usually play for weddings?
PS Here's what I improvised for Gediminas this morning before he left. And here's another improvisation when we first met a few weeks ago (snippets of Mendelssohn March sound here).
Mateusz Marcinowski: Enjoyed your organ home article. Here is a project that I did to have piano and pedals. I found an ago pedal board, built a stand, put the keyboard on top and pedals on bottom. No sound from the pedals, though. Very simple project. Feel free to share this email or picture to your readers who may be having a hard time finding an organ to play on (Easthampton Massachusetts, USA)
If you are asked to play for a wedding service at church, you might get to prepare several pieces:
1. Prelude (at least 5 minutes prior the ceremony)
3. Hymn, Worship Song or Solo (after Giving Away of the Bride)
Some denominations may add the Latin hymn Veni Creator after the Processional as well as some quiet music before the Exchange of Rings and even music for Communion.
The most popular choices are for Processional and Recessional. Here's a March Album. I hope you will find it useful.
I'm sure a lot of my readers would play Mendelssohn's March for the Recessional during wedding service. I do too whenever I get the chance. However, if you can't play it properly, it's better not to take it because every single person in attendance will know it.
I've heard very poorly executed versions with sloppy technique and unconvincing harmonization. As much as I love improvisation, in this case it's way better to play from the score (elaboration, extension, and improvisation on the theme of this March sounds nice, of course, if you know how to do it).
I recommend you prepare a set of pieces suitable for weddings in advance and have them in your long-term repertoire because when you get asked to play, you will be ready.
Sight-reading for today:
Morning Mood (p. 3) from Peer Gynt Suite No. 1 by Edvard Grieg arranged for organ by Harvey B. Gaul. It's not easy but very familiar quality music is well worth the try.
Re: 5 questions worth answering
NPeter: What a wonderful, concise self analysis. Thank you so much for this and all that you do.
Thanks, Peter. To be an organist today takes more than practicing and performing great music.
Re: 4 qualities of funeral music
James: Thanks for the tips. As one who has played more than 2000 weddings & 1000 funerals in the last several decades (mostly Lutheran, but some Episcopal & Presbyterian, as well), I've often played triumphant Easter music as the Recessional, if there isn't a Hymn being sung, such as "Christ lag in Todesbanden" from Bach's Orgelbuechlein, a favorite @ my large & famous Chicago parish.
You're right! It's amazing on how many occasions Bach's music can be used.
Re: When you don't feel like playing today
Heidi: I really needed this today... thank you, dear Vidas. For me, I've been really busy and am lately always thinking I don't have enough time to practice.
Thanks Heidi. The benefits of even 15 minutes a day build up over time. Can you find 15 minutes in your day?
Re: Sheet music of the Canon by Ciurlionis
Leon: Thank you very much! Started on the Bondt Canon today. It is not easy!
Thanks Leon. Enjoy this piece. It's best learned in combinations of separate parts, then two-part combinations, three-part combinations and finally all four parts together. Work in fragments of 4-5 measures.
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Drs. Vidas Pinkevicius and Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene
Organists of Vilnius University , creators of Secrets of Organ Playing.
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