During the last three decades, string ensembles have become very popular for various occasions. Particularly for weddings. If you are looking for a gentle, classical backdrop and a mood of pure enchantment, a string ensemble is certainly worth considering.
It can consist of three to ten or more players. The string quartet which consists of two violins, a viola and a cello perhaps is the most convenient. The string quartet was pioneered by the Austrian composer Joseph Haydn, with his works in the 1750’s establishing the genre as an entertaining medium. It drew the attention of many composers as a combination of the instruments for deep and profound, serious musical thought. Haydn himself, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms (just to mention a few) at the end of the 20th century ventured back to its entertaining qualities.
The string ensemble is very adjustable and easily movable. During an engagement, an ensemble can start playing at a reception room or patio for arriving guests and then moving on to the chapel for the ceremonies after which moving to the pre-drink area and ending up at the reception/restaurant/entertainment area. After the reception, quiet, mellow garden music can be played in the style of the Viennese garden occasion.
It would be worthwhile to mention that the sound of the string ensembles is exactly the same as two and a half centuries ago. The natural wooden sounds created by the instruments resonate with authenticity.
String ensembles are able to shift effortlessly from classical to contemporary music. From jazz to ragtime, waltzes, Latin-American, dances etc. from Handel, Bach, Vivaldi, Mozart, J.Strauss to Loyd-Webber, Elton John etc. since 1999 the year of the anniversary of J.Strauss (jr) death, works of the Viennese composers are, particularly in demand.
The following are some of the most useful combinations of string ensembles:
1. String quartet (two violins, a viola, and cello)
2. String Quintet (two violins, a viola, cello, and double-bass)
3. String trio (two violins and a cello)
4. String orchestra of twelve to fourteen or more players
5. Sometimes a violin in a quarte or trio replaced with the flute or a flute can be added to a string trio and quartet
6. String instruments can be naturally blended with the harp, especially for a wedding ceremony
String ensembles are often favoured for their elegance, suited as perfectly to wine and candlelight as they are to a gentle mid-morning breeze, while conversations can be heard with ease. Because members are usually dressed formally and the ensemble is not only pleasing to guests’ ears but also visually appealing.
Some suggested wedding repertoires:
H.Parcell – Trumpet Tune
Handel – Zadok the priest
– The arrival of the queen of Sheba
– Alla Hornpipe
– La rejouissance
– La Paix
J. Pachelbel – Canon
J. Bach – Air on the G String
– Jesus, joy of man’s desiring
Wagner – Bridal Chorus
Mendelsohn – Wedding march
C. Frank – Panis Angelicus
J. Clarke – King William’s march
– Trumpet Voluntary
G. Giordani – Caro Mio Ben
A. Vivaldi – Seasons
A. Haydn – Serenade
F. Shubert – ave Maria
A string ensemble will add a touch of elegance and class and set the tone and mood for your wedding.
Article courtesy by David Tombak, Artistic director of Madrigal Ensemble