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  • Writer's pictureWilliam Cooper

Brass and Organ: 5 Great Pieces for Your Wedding Ceremony

Updated: Sep 13, 2020

When it comes to your big day, nothing can make a statement quite like the resonance of brass instruments playing with a pipe organ. If you are getting married in a church with a good pipe organ, it is a shame not to use it to its full potential, and while organ alone is an excellent choice, your guests will be all the more impressed by the full sonority of one or more brass instruments playing alongside the organ.

Brass Quartet and organist perform in traditional church sanctuary
Best in Brass Quartet & Organ

Here are five of our favorite pieces arranged for brass and organ, including a few that you may not have heard before:

Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring by J.S. Bach

This well-known classic comes from Bach's cantata, Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben, BWV 147. It works well performed both quickly and slowly, which makes it a versatile piece that can be adjusted to accommodate the appropriate mood (or the wedding coordinator's ceremony timing!). Due to its versatility, it could be placed at almost any moment in the wedding ceremony: prelude, processional, interlude, recessional, or postlude. It's no wonder why it is such a favorite at traditional weddings!

Trumpet Voluntary (Prince of Denmark's March) by Jeremiah Clarke

A wedding processional standard, many brides have imagined themselves walking down the aisle to Trumpet Voluntary by Jeremiah Clarke. Nothing against the many arrangements out there for strings, piano, or harp, but our vote is for the trumpet player to be involved. After all, it's in the name.

Now Thank We All Our God by Sigfrid Karg-Elert

We're willing to bet that you haven't heard of this one before, but you'd be missing out on a grand, royal recessional or postlude if you didn't program this majestic piece by early 20th century German composer and organist, Sigrid Karg-Elert. This piece proves that loud isn't always bad, especially when you want to make a statement to finish your ceremony and have talented brass players available. This piece also features the organist, giving them many chances to demonstrate their technical virtuosity.

Concerto for Two Trumpets by Francesco Manfredini

Sometimes, one trumpet player just isn't enough (in our humble trumpet-playing opinions). While not as well known as other trumpet solo pieces, this double trumpet concerto is the perfect fit for a traditional church wedding. While originally composed for trumpets and orchestra, the piece takes on a terrific character with organ accompaniment. The three movements of this work provide several options for great musical moments, regardless of where it is placed in your ceremony. Listen to an excerpt from the first movement below:

Panis Angelicus by Cesar Franck

This piece is originally for voice and comes from Franck's Mass, Messe à trois voix (1861). The text and translation are as follows:

Panis angelicus Fit panis hominum Dat panis coelicus Figuris terminum O res mirabilis Manducat dominum Pauper, pauper Servus et humilis

May the Bread of Angels Become bread for mankind; The Bread of Heaven puts All foreshadowings to an end; Oh, thing miraculous! The body of the Lord will nourish the poor, the poor, the servile, and the humble.

You can contact Best in Brass here for more information or to have us perform these works and more at your wedding or special event.

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