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Organ and Vocal Music for Weddings: An annotated list

Ten years ago, Joe Galema prepared an extensive list of organ and vocal music for our wedding theme issue (RW 16, June 1990). Here he provides several new pieces with very complete and helpful information, including publisher, suggested use, key, timing, and level of difficulty.

Rather than repeat the entire original list (of five very full pages), we present here his additions. However, the entire updated list is available for downloading from our website: http://www.reformedworship.org.

—ERB

Key to Terms

Pre = prelude
Pro = processional
Post = postlude
Rec = recessional
E = easy
M = moderate
D = difficult

Suggested Criteria for Choosing Wedding Music for weddings:

  • Appropriateness for service of worship
  • Themes of service
  • Time of year/day/church calendar
  • Individual church standards and norms/theology/liturgy
  • Architecture/acoustics
  • Media of performance/instrument to be used
  • Skill level of musicians, including soloists
  • Performers/congregation
  • Bride/family tastes
  • Budget allotment
  • Unity and variety of musical ideas
LIST OF WEDDING MUSIC FOR ORGAN

Bach, Johann Sebastian (1685-1750)

“Ave Maria” (arr. Christopher Morris) The Oxford Book of Wedding Music Oxford 0-19-375119-4; Pre; key of F; 2:35; E
The famous Bach/Gounod “Ave Maria.” Melody in the left hand.

“Brandenburg Concerto No. 1” (F Major; arr. Fred Kern) Brandenburg Notebook 1 Belwin Mills, PA 02309: Pre, Pro; key of F; Allegro 0:35, Allegro 0:35, Menuetto 0:55; M
In three movements. For piano solo, but easily adaptable for manuals only.

“Brandenburg Concerto No. 2” (F Major; arr. Fred Kern) Brandenburg Notebook 1 Belwin Mills, PA 02309; Pre, Pro; Allegro—key of F, 1:00; Andante—key of D minor, 1:25; Allegro Assai—key of F, 0:55 M
In three movements. For piano solo, but easily adaptable for manuals only.

“Brandenburg Concerto No. 3” (G Major; arr. Fred Kern) Brandenburg Notebook 1 Belwin Mills, PA 02309; Pre, Pro; key of G;1:15; M
In one movement, Allegro. For piano solo, but easily adaptable for manuals only.

“Sheep May Safely Graze” (arr. Carl Weinrich) Golden Music Publishers; Pre; key of B-flat; 5:00; M

Burkhardt, Michael

“Festive Processional on ‘Now Thank We All Our God’” Praise and Thanksgiving, Set 4 MorningStar MSM-10-754; Rec; key of A; 2:30; M
Energetic, rhythmic setting of the hymn tune nun danket alle Gott.

“Now Thank We All Our God” Praise and Thanksgiving, Set 5 MorningStar MSM-10-755; Pre; key of F; 2:00; M
Quiet setting of the hymn tune nun danket alle Gott with tune in the pedal.

“Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven” Praise and Thanksgiving, Set 5 MorningStar MSM-10-755; Pro, Rec; key of C; 1:40; M
Setting of the hymn tune LAUDA ANMA.

“Rejoice, O Pilgrim Throng” Praise and Thanksgiving, Set 5 MorningStar MSM-10-755; Rec; key of F; 2:40; M
Setting of the hymn tune MARION.

Carter, Andrew

“Trumpet Tune” The Oxford Book of Wedding Music Oxford 0-19-375119-4; Pro, Rec; key of E-flat; 2:00; D
In three continuous parts. The middle section is entitled “Love Song.” Mildly dissonant and contemporary.

Handel, George Frideric (1685-1759)

“Arrival of the Queen of Sheba” (arr. E. W. Maynard) The Oxford Book of Wedding Music Oxford 0-19-375119-4; Pro, Rec; key of B-flat; 4:00; MD
Sinfonia from SOLOMON.

“La Marche” (arr. Donald Burrows) The Oxford Book of Wedding Music Oxford 0-19-375119-4; Pro; key of D; 1:50; E
Written for reed solo, but can be played on one manual (full organ).

“Ouverture” (arr. C. H. Trevor) The Oxford Book of Wedding Music Oxford 0-19-375119-4; Rec; key of D; 1:00; E
From Music for the Royal Fireworks.

Lasky, David

“Partita on ‘Hyfrydol’” Randall M. Egan #EO-300; Pre, Pro, Rec, E to D; I Fanfare; key of F; 1:10; II Trio; key of F; 1:30; III Verset; key of D minor; 1:00; IV Trumpet Tune; key of D; 1:00; V Cantilena; key of F; 1:45; VI Toccata; key of F; 1:45

Leavitt, John

“Praise to the Lord, the Almighty” 3 Festive Hymn Preludes Concordia 97-6163; Pro, Rec; key of F; 0:50; M
Short, rhythmic, full organ setting of lobe den herren. Tune in the pedal.

Lefébure-Wély, Louis (1817-1869)

“March” (arr. Christopher Morris) The Oxford Book of Wedding Music Oxford 0-19-375119-4; Pro, Rec; key of C; 1:30; M
Parisian organist at La Madeleine and St. Sulpice.

Mathias, William (1934-)

“Fanfare” (1987) The Oxford Book of Wedding Music Oxford 0-19-375119-4; Pro, Rec; key of D; 2:10; M
Dotted rhythms and mild dissonances bring excitement to this original piece.

Pachelbel, Johann (1653-1706)

“Canon in D” (arr. S. Drummond Wolff) Concordia 97-5415; Pre, Pro; key of D; 5:20; E

Purcell, Henry (1659-1695)

“March” (arr. C. H. Trevor) The Oxford Book of Wedding Music Oxford 0-19-375119-4; Pro, Rec; key of C; 1:20; EM

Vaughan Williams, Ralph (1872-1958)

“Greensleeves” (arr. Stanley Roper; ed. Christopher Morris) The Oxford Book of Wedding Music Oxford 0-19-375119-4; Pre; key of G minor; 3:25; EM
Familiar tune to the Christmas hymn “What Child Is This?”

Verdi, Giuseppe (1813-1901)

“Grand March” (arr. Christopher Morris) The Oxford Book of Wedding Music Oxford 0-19-375119-4; Rec; key of E-flat; 2:30; MD
From Aida. Optional cut marked in score.

Wagner, Richard (1813-1883)

“Overture: Die Meistersinger” (arr. Sigfrid Karg-Elert; adapt. Christopher Morris) The Oxford Book of Wedding Music Oxford 0-19-375119-4; Rec; key of C; 3:15 ; D

Walton, Sir William (1902-1983)

“Crown Imperial” (arr. Herbert Murrill) ; The Oxford Book of Wedding Music Oxford 0-19-375119-4; Pro, Rec; key of C; 9:10; D
Can be cut. Similar to the Elgar marches. This piece was commissioned by the BBC for the Coronation of King George VI in 1937.

Willcocks, David

“Processional on ‘Westminster Abbey’”
Roger Dean (Lorenz) SM 399; Pro, Rec; key of G; 3:30; M

Wright, Searle (1918-)

“Prelude on ‘Brother James’s Air’”
The Oxford Book of Wedding Music Oxford 0-19-375119-4; Pre; key of A; 2:20; EM
Setting of the hymn tune for Psalm 23.

LIST OF WEDDING MUSIC FOR VOICE

Borop, Niles and Dwight Liles

“Only God Could Love You More”
Word Music; Duet (soprano and tenor); key of F; 3:00; E

Brown, Scott Wesley

“Jesus I Love You”
Laurel Press; Medium voice; key of C; 2:30; E

Card, Michael and Scott Brasher

“Arise My Love”
Birdwing Music (Sparrow Corporation); Medium voice; key of G, ends in A; 3:00; E
From Song of Solomon. Flute interlude.

Chapman, Steven Curtis

“I Will Be Here”
Sparrow Song/New Wings Music (Lorenz)
Medium voice; key of E-flat; 3:00; E

“Love Will Be Our Home”
Sparrow Songs/New Wings Music (Lorenz); Medium voice; key of E, ends in G; 2:30; E

Cortez, Jaime

“Today We Celebrate”
OCP Publications; Medium voice; key of E; 3:30; E
Scriptural song, with four stanzas, appropriate at the lighting of the unity candle.

Davis, Greg

“Parent’s Prayer (Let Go of Two)”
Birdwing Music; Medium voice; key of G-flat, ends in F; 3:30; E

Hartman, Bob

“Love”
Word, Inc.; Medium voice; key of G, ends in B; 3:00; E
Contemporary setting of 1 Corinthians 13.

Howard, Tom

“My Prayer for You”
Maranatha! Music; Medium voice; key of F; 2:30; E

Lamb, Brent

“The Father Says ‘I Do’”
Paragon (Singspiration); Medium voice; key of C; 2:00; E
Appropriate after the giving of the bride.

Moore, Gary and Steven Curtis Chapman

“If You Could See What I See”
Sparrow Corporation; Medium voice; key of A-flat; 3:00; E

Paris, Twila

“How Beautiful”
Ariose Music; Medium voice; key of D, ends in E; 3:00; E
Appropriate during Communion.

Reagan, Donald J.

“Song of Ruth”
North American Liturgy Resources; Medium voice; key of F; 2:30; E
Based on Ruth 1’16-17. Flute obbligato.

Sager, Carole Bayer and David Foster

“The Prayer”
Warner-Bros. PV98168; Duet (soprano and high tenor); key of B-flat; 3:30; D
English and Italian text are superimposed at various times during the song.

Salsbury, Sonny

“Two Candles”
Word Music; Medium voice; key of G; 2:30; E
Especially appropriate for an evening wedding at the lighting of the unity candle.

 

Excerpt
ORGAN ANTHOLOGIES FOR WEDDINGS

Augsburg, Wedding Music, ed. David N. Johnson (Vol. 1, Pre-Nuptial; Vol. 2, Processionals and Recessionals; Vol. 3,-5, General)
Concordia, 97-5237, Music of Jubilee, ed. Drummond Wolff
Gentry, G-555, The Diane Bish Wedding Book
Hope (Code#159; Cassette 160; CD 161), The Joyous Wedding for Solo Trumpet & Organ, ed. Sue Mitchell-Wallace and John Head
Hope (Code #916), Everything for the Wedding Organist, ed. Jack Schrader
Lillenas, MB-756, Unending Love: A Fabric of Contemporary and Traditional Wedding Songs for Organ, arr. Tim Doran
Lillenas, MB-753, Classics for Organ: Transcriptions for Weddings and Worship Services
Mayhew, ISBN 1 84003 107 7, The Essential Book of Wedding Music
Mayhew, ISBN 086209 161 6, Music for the Bride: Thirty-two Popular Pieces, arranged for organ by Noel Rawsthorne
Novello, 01.0123.00, Wedding Album (Selected Pieces)
Oxford, ISBN 0 19 375408 8, The Oxford Book of Ceremonial Music for Organ, compiled by Robert Gower
Oxford, ISBN 0 19 375119 4, The Oxford Book of Wedding Music

—Compiled by Ted Gibboney,
director of music for First Baptist Church,
Indianapolis, Indiana