Sunday, January 25, 2009

Music to Get Married To

I've never been married. It's not that I wouldn't have liked to get married. And I'd still like to have a partner in life. But at my age, the prospects seem rather remote. However, I have a little story to tell you that may be of interest to any of my readers who have been married — in a traditional church service, that is.

It is worth noting that the traditional wedding recessional, "The Wedding March" by Felix Mendelssohn, became popular starting on this day when it was played at the marriage of Queen Victoria's daughter (who was also named Victoria) and Crown Prince Friedrich of Prussia in 1858.

The composition is part of Mendelssohn's Overture that was inspired by William Shakespeare's play, "A Midsummer Night's Dream," a romantic tale that was, in turn, inspired by "The Knight's Tale" from Geoffrey Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales," which dates to the 14th century.

It is a popular piece that is still used in weddings today, 151 years later. The composition that is played as the traditional processional, "Bridal Chorus," was part of Richard Wagner's "Lohengrin."

I already knew that, but I learned something else today. As Wikipedia observes, "While their musical works are often paired today, Mendelssohn, a Lutheran of Jewish descent, was the target of Wagner's anti-Semitic essay Das Judenthum in der Musik."

I guess it isn't only politics that makes strange bedfellows.