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#3130506 06/22/21 06:15 PM
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Hello!

I need some advice. I was requested to play at a relative's wedding next May. I am having difficulty picking out pieces to play!
They need to be the perfect balance of romantic and entertaining.

These are the pieces I have right now:
* Definitely: Liberstraum (Liszt)
* Definitely: Pas de deux (Pletnev)
* Maybe: a Chopin waltz
* Maybe: Trepnok (Pletnev)

I really want to find some pieces that are Romantic and sweet yet at the same time virtuosic enough to keep me busy for the next year/year and a half. I am also having difficulty finding pieces that won't bore a not musical audience. Difficulty isn't a problem.
I at first wanted to play polonaise in A flat major too, but I decided that it was too "grand" and not romantic enough. I am having difficulty finding pieces that make you feel "warm inside" ... I don't know how to describe it.
Does anyone have any advice for pieces??? Help me out, please!!

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As you've already got two transcriptions on your list, let me add a couple more: Schumann/Liszt's Widmung and R.Strauss/Gieseking's Ständchen:



And why not wedding-related pieces, like Grieg's Wedding Day at Troldhaugen? That should please everyone, as would Sinding's Rustle of Spring and Paderewski's Minuet in G.

As you like Tchaikovsky, how about pieces from The Seasons, like February (Carnival):



Of course, you can also play pieces everyone knows, like Chopin's Fantasie-Impromptu......


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
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Are you limited only to classical? There are sensationally good and advanced transcriptions of music performed Gershwin, Fats Waller, Art Tatum, George Shearing, Keith Jarrett, Fred Hersch, George Shearing, Dave Grusin, Peter Bence, Bill Charlap, Bill Evans, Joey Alexander, etc. available either for free or a minimal cost on the internet.

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Not forgetting this wink :



"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
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I guess the first question to consider is what kind of wedding ceremony is this? Is this a church ceremony?

If so, I would think that Liszt's Liebestraum (No. 3) would not be appropriate for a wedding ceremony. The pianist is really employed as a "filler" to fill in the time before, during (depending upon the denomination) and perhaps after. It is not, however, (in my opinion) a moment to highlight a piano soloist; this is the bride's and groom's day, not yours. As for boring the audience, your time as musician is not going to be long; you don't have to have an entire recital's worth of music.

Again, depending upon the type of service, you may have to be prepared to stop at any moment; at any given point, the service is not going to wait for you to finish a long piece before it can resume.

I would avoid any composition of a virtuosic nature, and if classical music is your bent and you want something up-beat and cheerful, try some Mozart or Haydn. In the Romantic era, choose something soothing, relaxing, and much as I hate to say it, something that can serve as background music as people settle in waiting for the service to begin or as they chat quietly amongst themselves while waiting for the next moment: a Brahms Intermezzo, one or two of the Grieg Lyric Pieces, a Mendelssohn Song Without Words, Debussy's Reverie and, as suggested, perhaps some of the pieces from Tchaikovsky's "The Seasons."

Perhaps you need to attend a few weddings of the type that this will be to see what kind of music is used and where it may be placed in the ceremony.

Perhaps - no, I know! - I am out of touch with modern weddings, but featuring a piano soloist playing virtuosic music is hardly appropriate, in my opinion.

Did I say that this is "in my opinion"?

Regards,


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I guess the OP needs to clarify if he is playing during the ceremony or at the party after. If it's during the service then what Bruce said makes sense. In my post I was assuming the OP would be playing at the party after which may be wrong.

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Originally Posted by BruceD
I guess the first question to consider is what kind of wedding ceremony is this? Is this a church ceremony?


Perhaps - no, I know! - I am out of touch with modern weddings, but featuring a piano soloist playing virtuosic music is hardly appropriate, in my opinion.
It also depends on which country the wedding is in...... whistle

I suspect the OP isn't in the US.

In the country I come from (too insignificant to mention here), weddings are raucous affairs, everybody is there to show off their worse, and - because nobody can "hold their drink" (for genetic reasons) - everybody gets drunk. (The bride & groom become mere sideshows by then.) Except me, of course, because I avoid alcohol like the plague. Which is why I'm never invited to weddings..... thumb


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by BruceD
I guess the first question to consider is what kind of wedding ceremony is this? Is this a church ceremony?


Perhaps - no, I know! - I am out of touch with modern weddings, but featuring a piano soloist playing virtuosic music is hardly appropriate, in my opinion.
It also depends on which country the wedding is in...... whistle

I suspect the OP isn't in the US.

In the country I come from (too insignificant to mention here), weddings are raucous affairs, everybody is there to show off their worse, and - because nobody can "hold their drink" (for genetic reasons) - everybody gets drunk. (The bride & groom become mere sideshows by then.) Except me, of course, because I avoid alcohol like the plague. Which is why I'm never invited to weddings..... thumb

In that case, why even think about anything in the standard piano repertoire? No one will listen!

Regards,


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Originally Posted by BruceD
In that case, why even think about anything in the standard piano repertoire? No one will listen!
That's why it's the best occasion to hack your way through virtuosic pieces you can't actually play properly - you'd be applauded to the rafters regardless, as long as what you play is full of sound & fury, signifying nothing grin.


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Sorry for not specifying!
It'll be the party after the wedding -- not the ceremony itself. The wedding is for my sister and she said that she wants me to play some pieces. In fact, she specifically requested that her wedding planner rent a piano so that I can play some pieces on it. I was sort of imagining that I would play piano as an intermission during meals. I'm not very sure.. she just said that she wants me to play whatever I want -- she won't even listen to the pieces beforehand because she wants it to be a surprise.
To be honest, I've only been to one wedding in my life so I am not sure if the pieces I am choosing are ok. Are they too "show-offy"? I just want to choose pieces that'll make everyone happy. The bride and groom told me that I can play "however many pieces I want." But, now I think I'll maybe try to stick to only two pieces. Are the pieces I'm choosing a bit too much?

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Originally Posted by Oringall_Name
But, now I think I'll maybe try to stick to only two pieces.
In which case, best to play the Liebestraum and Tchaikovsky/Pletnev. OK, throw in a Chopin waltz too.....

Though it seems a pity to restrict yourself (and others) to so little music if a piano is rented specially for the occasion.


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I went to a few weddings. One was in a Catholic church and the pianist did a keyboard version of the Air from Handel "Water Music" in F. It's a slow flowing piece. The "Trumpet Voluntary" by Jeremiah Clark is also common and can be played on piano / organ without the trumpet.

And there were weddings & anniversaries where Classical pieces were played including a few Haydn & Mozart trio sonatas, slow movements from Bach concertos as background music for dinner gathering. The pieces were not specific to a wedding. Just nice music with a small ensemble to enhance the dining experience. Piano pieces can be anything that sounds nice and not technical like a Chopin Nocturne, the Mozart "Elvira Madigan" theme, piano arrangement of Massenet "Méditation" from Thaïs.

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The wedding music for Prince Charles/Diana was probably the best - check it out. Loved "Let the Bright Seraphim" - I hate to tell you this but I've got probably the best wedding music ever...been doing it for years with great success. You don't say whether this is for the church or the reception...the "Wedding Fake Book" on Amazon is pretty good, but I already had everything in it...some of it is kind of dopey. (Also, I play for the marriages that LAST). BTW, the Prince picked out all the music for the first wedding. More later - aren't you lucky.

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I would suggest a selection of arrangements of romantic songs from the Great American Songbook or from other sources inspired by those songs.


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Originally Posted by bennevis
As you've already got two transcriptions on your list, let me add a couple more: 。。。 R.Strauss/Gieseking's Ständchen:


Wow, this brings back memories. I heard Leif Ove Andsnes played this as an encore, and I desperately wanted to have the score. This was before IMSLP, and somehow I got in touch with someone in Europe who sent it to me. (Are you reading this? Thank you! :-)

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Originally Posted by Oringall_Name
Sorry for not specifying!
It'll be the party after the wedding -- not the ceremony itself. The wedding is for my sister and she said that she wants me to play some pieces. In fact, she specifically requested that her wedding planner rent a piano so that I can play some pieces on it. I was sort of imagining that I would play piano as an intermission during meals. I'm not very sure.. she just said that she wants me to play whatever I want -- she won't even listen to the pieces beforehand because she wants it to be a surprise.
To be honest, I've only been to one wedding in my life so I am not sure if the pieces I am choosing are ok. Are they too "show-offy"? I just want to choose pieces that'll make everyone happy. The bride and groom told me that I can play "however many pieces I want." But, now I think I'll maybe try to stick to only two pieces. Are the pieces I'm choosing a bit too much?

If you are playing while the guests are eating, you will be playing background music, so I would suggest not picking solo repertoire that would showcase yourself. Guests will be eating and chatting with each other while they eat; that's what wedding guests do during a reception meal; it could get a little noisy. It would seem odd if your sister were to announce: "Now my brother will play .... " to suggest that everyone stop talking to listen to your performance. I like BDB's suggestion of a selection of arrangements of popular songs that people might know and that would also serve as background to their conversation.

That said, between now and next May, your sister will have time to think things through, plan a little more precisely, and may help you decide what type of music might be most appropriate to play depending on the venue, the number of guests, the size of the room, and let's hope that a decent piano is provided. Be ready to stop as somewhat makes a toast and someone else makes a speech and someone else recounts an anecdote, etc. Then there's always the guest who has had a little more than he should who will sit on the bench beside you and whisper very loudly, "Can you play 'Misty'?" Ah, yes, fond memories! Great fun!

Regards,


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The Romeo and Juliet movie theme by Nino Rota is a nice piece. There must be a piano arrangement somewhere. Even the God Father movie theme sounds nice.

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Remember, even though you have been asked to be part of this, you should not be the center of attention. The couple should be so I would refrain from anything super showy and keep it to background music. It would be weird to have a piano recital in the middle of a reception

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I agree with other posters above. Rather than playing showy solo pieces you're better off knowing a bunch of popular songs (or be able to fake them) and some background music. Classical is fine although I think cocktail/jazz music is more typical for a wedding dinner.

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I think you should not choose the pieces that suits your piano practice but serve the purpose of the wedding. A wedding is indeed not a concert and you are not the center of the attention. Playing pieces too complicated or virtuosic is likely not going to be at the service of the context.

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