by Steven Danner
Summer is at its peak; love is in the air. For weddings, people are always looking for that perfect music to capture the romance of it all. This blog is going to give you some ideas of classical music from the Romantic period to spice up your wedding repertoire.
Music from Spain naturally lends itself to being a very passionate, sensual sounding music, much like its linguistic counterpart. We’ve all, at one point or another, heard genius composers like Johann Sebastian Bach or Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Music by these composers are excellent choices when it comes to wedding repertoire. In fact, it’s very traditional, but they come from the Baroque and Classical period. A wedding is a very special time in the lives of two people, and it’s surrounded by love and passion. Why not play some music that is intended to express the same thing? For this, there is no better place to look than the Romantic period.
The Romantic period took place from 1780 to 1910. During this period, music became more expressive and emotional. This is where we find influential composer and classical guitarist, Francisco Tárrega. I’m positive you’ve heard his music or at least a snippet of it. His piece, Grand Vals, has been used by Nokia as a ringtone since the 1990’s. This ringtone has become more known as the “Nokia Tune.”
Born in Spain during the Romantic period, his music takes on the very essence of romance, which is woven into the rhythmic and melodic aspects of his music. Traditionally, music at a wedding ceremony gravitates towards the necessity of ambience: think Air on the G String by Bach. The works by Francisco Tárrega also have a certain ambient quality, but were composed in a very lively, romantic, and expressive style. Many of his compositions work well in complementing a wedding ceremony. A few of his works are listed below.
Let’s start with a basic outline of a wedding. The first part of a wedding, when people are gathering for the ceremony, is called the Prelude, followed by the seating of family and special guest. Next, you have the processional, where the bridesmaids make their way down. Then, here comes the bride for what is called the processional. Now, the ceremony itself will commence, and will oftentimes have interim music or special music that is played when lighting unity candles or during a prayer. Lastly, you have the recessional, where the wedding party exits, followed by cocktail hour. I believe this is the most needed place for a lively song, because it’s a celebration! Don’t forget the cocktail hour! Many of Francisco Tárrega’s lively pieces work well for this particular section of a wedding.
Here’s a potential lineup for a Romantic-Period Wedding:
Prelude No. 3 in G major
Nocturne in Eb Major, Op. 9 No. 2
Seating of family
O sole mio
Rosita in D Major
Gran vals in A Major
Mazurka in G Major
Las dos hermanas
Even if the bride and groom know the music the want to have played, and it’s not Tárrega, it’s not a bad idea to have a few ideas of your own tucked away. I’ve sat with brides and grooms who have asked me for my personal recommendations. On occasion, I’ve played music by Francisco Tárrega at weddings, and the music has always been well-received. Try incorporating a few of these pieces into your wedding repertoire, or if you’ve been given free rein as the musician, try conducting a wedding ceremony using nothing but works by Tárrega!