Processionals

Canon in D-Johann Pachelbel

In any discussion of music for a wedding processional, we’d have to start here. Being a “Classical Musician” I have long been aware of the composer Johann Pachelbel and his most famous piece, “Canon in D.” However his name has become synonymous with wedding ceremonies. What makes it so perfect is the slow, regal pace and the majestic simplicity of the principle thematic line. It doesn’t hurt that it’s been used in several movies including the heartbreaking Robert Redford directed “Ordinary People.” Since then, the piece has become as famous as most ‘Pop’ tunes.Then it was used in several high profile TV commercial including  “G.E. Lightbulbs” and Jaguar Cars .

Although the names sound similar, please don’t mistake Pachelbel with Taco-Bell. Johann Pachelbel was a German composer during the Baroque Period, and lived from 1653-1706. Although it’s been used countless times, it should never be dismissed for overexposure. One reason this “canon” works so well as a Processional is that it is really a simple “round” allowing the piece can go on as long or as short as the recession lasts.

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This is the official tried and true classic. You can be comfortable using The Pachelbel in D without fearing of using the same tune as everyone else. It has become the “Go-To” Processional, replacing Wagner’s “Wedding March.”
Try it out and let me know what you think.
-Doug

Let’s Stay Together-Maroon 5

True R ‘n B devotees might have me kicked out of the “Hipness Club” for daring to play Adam Levine’s delicate version of Al Green’s 1971 “Soul” classic “Let’s Stay Together.”  Green’s original is spectacular, and well-loved, having been viewed over 72 million times on YouTube. However, for a wedding procession, a song has to be stripped down and be able to be played delicately by two musicians, while still honoring the Al Green original. Adam Levine is one of the few male vocalists with the vocal “chops’ to pull off this song without losing any of the soulful simplicity of the original.

My bride for this weekend….well, not my bride….but you get the idea, Alexandra,  and I spent countless hours on the phone and sent each other dozens of emails laughing about which 90s dance hit would/could sound appropriate for a Wedding Processional without sounding goofy.

As a pianist and arranger, I assured her that I could make any song sound melodic enough for a procession.  I’m pretty sure we spent the most time laughing, yet seriously considering TLCs “No Scrubs” the longest.  She finally landed on Levine’s arrangement for the simplicity of the instrumentation, while retaining Al Green’s iconic melody. We both think it’s a great choice. Personally, I’ll always maintain that choosing any song that actually “means” something to you as the bride or the groom, you can never go wrong.

Leave me a comment to let me know how you feel.

Blackbird-The Beatles

 

This is one of my favorite Beatles songs. Sung here by the ageless Sir Paul McCartney, and performed for an intimate audience at Apple Studios, I’m reminded of how many times we’ve used this classic as a Recessional song. Of all The Beatles songs, Blackbird has one of the strongest melodies. When Best Kept Secret plays the music for a wedding ceremony, we invariably use a guitar and keyboard. Using the guitar exactly the way McCartney is playing it in this recording and having the piano take the melody, lends a beautiful touch to your procession.

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Give it a listen and let me know what you think.
Doug

 

Crazy Little Thing Called Love

Having played over 1500 weddings in over 20 years, not  a single couple  has ever had us play an uptempo dance song as a Processional. Recessionals, sure. But never for a Procession. Which is precisely why they are now officially one of my favorite couples. They asked me yesterday what I thought of using Queen’s “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” as both the Full Processional and Bridal Processional.

I would have sworn that Elvis Presley had originally sung “Crazy Little Thing,,,” in the 50s or 60s, and Queen was performing it at a tribute. Even the musical arrangement sounds exactly like an Elvis recording. And that’s the reason I don’t go to Las Vegas.  It turns out the Freddie Mercury of Queen wrote it as a tribute to Elvis in 1979, who had passed away two years earlier in 1977,  

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I just keep picturing the Bridal Party, and the Bride, grooving down the aisle as the guests clap along with the sax and keyboard playing an instrumental version of this great “throwback” song. It definitely announces, straight off,  to their friends…. hat this is going to be a truly fun party.

Now I really can’t wait for their wedding in ten days. I normally print out the lyrics for dance songs, but since we’re doing it as an instrumental, the lyrics and video theatrics remain irrelevant in this case. Besides, the title of the song sort of says it all.  It’s the beat that makes “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” so special and soon-to-be-memorable as a fun and terrifically  joyful Procession.
Leave a comment to let me know what you think.

 

 

 

Glasgow Love Theme-Love Actually

“Love Actually” is one of the last great romantic comedies of our time, Many factors went into the success of “Love Actually.” The extraordinary international, mostly British, cast, the interweaving plot lines, and of course the delicate, sentimental, lush romantic score by British composer Curtis Armstrong.
One of the most memorable parts of the score is called “Glasgow Love Theme.”
There are other decidedly unromantically titled tunes such as “Portugese Love Theme” and “Prime Minister’s Love Theme”.  However, each melody is more lush and romantic as the one before.”Glasgow Love Theme ” is featured in this rather poorly edited montage. But it’s really one of the more touching plot lines in the movie, in which Andrew Lincoln’s (“Walking Dead”)  character serves as the best man for his friend, Chiwetel Ejiofor (“12 Years A Slave”) who is  marrying the love of his life, played by a spectacularly gorgeous (20-year-old)  Keira Knightley.

It’s not as depressing as it sounds, basically because Andrew Lincoln acts the shit out of the scene. It’s a distinctly, lovely tear jerker.

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Standing on its own, “Glasgow Love Theme” is a simple, elegant melody, perfect for use as a Wedding Processional. I have to give thanks to Allison and Kyle who requested I play it for their wedding processional on May 21, 2016.
I was going to add this to my list of Processionals on my Wedding Wisdom Blog, on my own, but they beat me to it.

Leave a comment to let me know what you think.

On Golden Pond-Dave Grusin

Aside from being one of my favorite jazz pianists, Dave Grusin has composed some of the most lush and evocatively romantic movie scores ever produced. This opening theme from the 1981 movie “On Golden Pond” is a perfect example of Grusin’s writing. The subtly magnificent score serves as the emotional touchstone for the movie which won Academy Awards for its stars Katherine Hepburn and Henry Fonda, and was nominated for eight more, including one for Grusin’s soundtrack.

The most unique element of his scores is his trademark ability to juxtapose classically orchestrated themes with ones that exist solely on the strength of his jazz-infused piano.

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One of Hollywood’s most prolific film composers from the late 1970s to the early 90s, Grusin composed dozens of soundtracks for movie classics including “The Firm,” “Heaven Can Wait,” “And Justice For All,” “The Goodbye Girl,” and “The Fabulous Baker Boys.”

His most recognizable work is undoubtedly the song “It Might Be You” from Sydney Pollack’s 1982 comic masterpiece, “Tootsie.” His brilliance has long been appreciated by among movie aficionados. His soundtracks have been nominated for Academy Awards eight times. He finally won in 1988 for Robert Redford’s otherwise forgettable “The Milagro Beanfield War.”

Listen carefully, and think about using this lyrical melody as part of the perfect soundtrack for your own cinematically beautiful wedding ceremony.

Let me know what you think.
-Doug

 

Cinema Paradiso-Ennio Morricone

“Cinema Paradiso” is my favorite movie. It’s also the first time I was introduced to magnificent music of Italian composer Ennio Morricone. The score is so poignant that it almost always brings tears to my eyes. The movie itself was the first foreign movie that I had ever seen. (I should’ve said the first foreign movie I allowed my wife to drag me to.) Both the movie and the score have incredible resonance to me, because we were convinced that the little boy who stars as youthful protagonist “Toto” looked exactly like our son, Frank. Suffice it to say, we ran out of the theatre to go home and hug our son after this seeing this  beautiful gem of a movie. The entire soundtrack is gorgeous, but this theme just tears at your heart strings. But, like all of the very best Hollywood soundtracks, it never strives to overtake the emotion it’s meant to accompany. This makes a subtle and spectacular wedding processional. It’s also one of the few pieces of music that we play for processions  that people invariably come up to us and ask about the music.

Morricone’s masterpiece is always my go-to response when clients ask for suggestions for processional music. And if you haven’t seen the movie…rent, stream or buy it…immediatelly. It’s a must see. But make sure you get the original Italian edition (not the director’s cut…which basically makes the movie longer, not better.

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So, your assignment is to watch the original Italian version of “Cinema Paradiso,” then give another listen to the score. I think you’ll agree that this “Love Theme” makes a spectacular, and unique choice for either the Full Processional or the Bridal Processional. Putting this together with Rachel Portman’s Love Theme from “Cider House Rules” is a beautiful combination.

Let me know what you think.
-Doug

Cider House Rules-Rachel Portman

Some of the most beautiful, evocative instrumental music, perfect for processionals, are written for Hollywood soundtracks. One the finest composers for film is Rachel Portman, who was the first woman to win an Academy Award for Best Original Score for the movie “Cider House Rules” in 2000. The movie also won for six other Oscars including Best Picture, Best Director (Lasse Hallstrom), Best Supporting Actor (Michael Caine) and Best Adapted Screenplay (John Irving)

Rachel Portman

“Cider House Rules” is one of my all time favorite films, with Portman’s soundtrack reaching the pantheon of some of the greatest composers for film, like Ennio Morricone, John Williams and the late James Horner who tragically died in a plane crash in June, 2015. Horner won an Academy Award for Titanic in 1997, which also became the largest selling soundtrack of all time, selling over 30 million units.

Many of the pieces that I will be reccomending in the Ceremony section in the blog will be coming from film soundtracks. Rachel Portman’s sensational score for “Cider House Rules” is as beautiful as the movie itself. In the next few blog entries I’ll be trying to introduce some of the most beautiful, sentimental, romantic scores to accompany the Bride and Bridal Party down the aisle. Definitely give this one a listen.

Let me know what you think.
-Doug

Air On The G String-J.S. Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach’s 1722 masterwork, most often referred to as “Air On The G String,” is a spectacular choice for your wedding processional. The full title is actually “Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major (Second Movement.) BWV 1068.”

Paired with Johann Pachelbel’s “Canon in D,” “Air On The G String” flows seamlessly  from the Full Procession to the separate Bridal Procession. Both works, written three hundred years ago have uniquely recognizable melodic themes, making them accessible to even the most casual “Classical Music” fan. As opposed to instrumental arrangements of contemporary tunes, the one-two punch of Bach and Pachelbel serve as a timeless accompaniment to both the simplest and most elegant of wedding processionals.

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Let me know what you think.
-Doug