When Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton marry, British wedding ceremony music will play an important role. Blending traditional songs with some newly commissioned pieces, they've honored their country while setting a romantic yet reverent tone.
The long center aisle of Westminster Abbey and the many important Royal and Noble guests mean that they need extra processional and recessional songs. Kate will naturally get her own song for the bridal processional. During the wedding ceremony, music includes three hymns and an original anthem. And of course, there will be several fanfares.
Before the Wedding Ceremony Music
As guests are being seated and before the Queen has arrived, a selection of organ pieces will play: Fantasia in G (Pièce d’orgue à 5) by Johann Sebastian Bach, followed by Veni Creator Spiritus by the Master of The Queen’s Music, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies; Prelude on St. Columba Op. 28 by Sir Charles Villiers Stanford and Sonata for Organ Op. 28 (Allegro maestoso and Allegretto) by Edward Elgar.
Following this will be seven orchestral pieces:
Serenade for Strings in E minor Op. 20 (Allegro piacevole, Larghetto and Allegretto) by Edward Elgar
Courtly Dance V: Galliard from Gloriana (Symphonic Suite) Op. 53a no. 7 by Benjamin Britten
Fantasia on Greensleeves by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Farewell to Stromness by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies
On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring by Frederick Delius
Touch Her Soft Lips and Part from Henry V Suite by William Walton
Romance for String Orchestra Op. 11 by Gerald Finzi
Canzona from Organ Sonata in C minor by Percy Whitlock.
William and Kate chose three of these pieces – Farewell to Stromness, Touch Her Soft Lips and Part and Romance for String Orchestra Op. 11 – specifically because they were played at the Service of Prayer and Dedication for The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall (aka Prince Charles and Camilla's wedding) in 2005.
The Service will begin with a Fanfare by The State Trumpeters of the Household Cavalry to mark the arrival of The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh. The Fanfare will be followed by three Processionals. For the Procession of The Queen, Prince William and Miss Middleton have chosen the Bridal March from "The Birds" by Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry. Prelude on Rhosymedre by Ralph Vaughan Williams will accompany the Procession of the Clergy, and was chosen for its Welsh echoes.
The Procession of the Bride
When Kate Middleton walks down the aisle, she'll be accompanied by I Was Glad, also by Sir Parry. This anthem was written for the coronation of King Edward VII, and has been used for every coronation since then. It was also used in 2002 for the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, the groom's grandmother.
During The Wedding Ceremony Music
Prince William and Miss Middleton have chosen three hymns for the Service: Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer, words by William Williams, translated by Peter Williams and others, and music by John Hughes. The second will be Love Divine All Love Excelling, words by Charles Wesley and music by William Penfro Rowlands. The third will be Jerusalem by Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry, words by William Blake. All three hymns have been chosen because they are favorites of William and Kate.
The Anthem and Motet
The Anthem, This is the Day Which the Lord Hath Made, has been composed specially for the occasion by John Rutter. It was commissioned by Westminster Abbey as a wedding present for Prince William and Miss Middleton and will be performed by both the Choir of Westminster Abbey and the Chapel Royal Choir. Mr. Rutter is a British composer, conductor, editor and arranger who specialises in choral music.
The Anthem will be followed by the Motet ‘Ubi Caritas’ by Paul Mealor, a Welsh composer, who is currently Reader in Composition at The University of Aberdeen. At the young age of 35, Mealor represents William and Kate's desire to have contemporary music including in their wedding. His composing studio is on the Isle of Anglesey, where Prince William and Miss Middleton live. This version of ‘Ubi caritas’ was written on Anglesey and premiered at the University of St. Andrews in November 2010.
The National Anthem, aka "God Save the Queen will be sung immediately before the Signing of the Registers.
The Signing of the Registers
During the Signing of the Registers, the choirs will sing Blest Pair of Sirens, words by John Milton from At a Solemn Musick, music by Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry.
Following the Signing, there will be a Fanfare by the Fanfare Team from the Central Band of the Royal Air Force. The Fanfare, called Valiant and Brave, after the motto of No. 22 Squadron (Search and Rescue Force) was specially composed for this Service by Wing Commander Duncan Stubbs, Principal Director of Music in the Royal Air Force.
William and Catherine will leave the church as husband and wife to the sound of Crown Imperial by William Walton. Toccata from Symphonie V by Charles-Marie Widor and Pomp and Circumstance March no. 5 by Edward Elgar will follow the Service.