En Grande Pompe (but what circumstance?)

Concluding The Dabbler’s Big Royal Wedding Jamboree, Mahlerman brings us a Wills-n-Kate Lazy Sunday special – with the wedding music they should have played…

In the tsunami of incontinence that followed the death of Diana, it was the arch marketeer Tony Blair who imagined he had caught the frangible mood of the nation when he gifted the dead woman with the moniker ‘people’s princess’. This time around we have ‘the people’s wedding’, with many of the same feudal accoutrements sans, we hope, the less than ideal outcome. At the time of writing I have little or no idea what plangent sounds will swell out of the Abbey, but I know that most of the Windsors have Van Gogh’s ear for music and, for that reason, the selection will have been made by an ‘aide’, or perhaps the Master of The Queen’s Music, Peter Maxwell Davies who has, I understand, a small Hibernian piece to bewitch us with.

Today, with no particular axe to grind and a clean palette, I offer a stimulating alternative, starting with the wide open spaces of America and, for the service proper Mainland Europe, leaving Albion for the real thing.

The marvellous Shaker dance song Simple Gifts was just that until Brooklyn’s finest Aaron Copland gave it a fresh lick of paint during the war, and re-introduced it as one of the movements in his ballet for Martha Graham, Appalachian Spring. This personification of the ‘wide open spaces’ of USA should be playing as the Prelude to the Service, as the guests drift inside from, hopefully, a sunlit Westminster.

Kate will arrive as Ms Middleton and leave as (at the very least) Her Royal Highness Princess William of Wales. Making her way down the long aisle (The Processional) with two billion sets of eyes upon her, it will be for me the triumphant Chaconne that Jean-Philippe Rameau penned at the very end of his life in his dance-opera Les Indes Galantes, that will stir our vitals.

For the Pronouncement & Presentation something of a lighter hue but staying in France, with a delightful piece of slow-fast, late Rameau, the incidental music from Les Boreades.

Back up the aisle for The Recessional, and what better than the father of French opera and ballet Jean-Baptiste Lully. This wonderful Turkish March gives the great Gerard Depardieu impersonating Lully a chance to show-off his stick (staff?) technique to the full, an activity that eventually killed the composer when he accidently speared his foot and developed gangrene. The only musician known to be killed by conducting. Toward the end of this clip, the eagle-eyed among you may be able to spot Princess Catherine’s coach arriving to whisk her away.

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About Author Profile: Mahlerman

Mahlerman's life was shaped by his single mother, who never let complete ignorance of a subject get in the way of having strong opinions about it. Facing retirement after a life in what used to be called 'trade', and having a character that consists mainly of defects, he spends his moments of idleness trying to correct them, one by one.

2 thoughts on “En Grande Pompe (but what circumstance?)

  1. tobyash@hotmail.com'
    May 2, 2011 at 19:48

    Wonderful selection. I adore Lully’s Turkish March. I only discovered it last year when I watched Tous Les Matins Du Monde. I promptly downloaded into my itunes library and it has been a firm favourite ever since.

  2. tobyash@hotmail.com'
    May 2, 2011 at 20:03

    …though dangerous to drive while listening to it. Impossible not to do a Depardieu.

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