Did Wagner write The Wedding March?

257 views
Skip to first unread message

Frey Kellie L

unread,
Mar 20, 1995, 2:40:30 PM3/20/95
to

I thought I heard from someone several months ago that
Wagner wrote the song that today we know as The Wedding March.
I heard it was originally intended as a funeral song.

Can anyone confirm this? If so, what was the original title
of the piece, and why was it written?

Kellie k...@usl.edu

joseph louis rizzo

unread,
Mar 20, 1995, 4:51:41 PM3/20/95
to
In article <3kklne$o...@rouge.usl.edu>,
The Wedding Chorus from the Opera Lohengrin is the original work.

--
J.L.Rizzo, II

"I am sorry, but what you have mistaken for malicious intent is nothing
more than sheer incompetance!"

David Griegel

unread,
Mar 20, 1995, 4:54:52 PM3/20/95
to
Frey Kellie L (klf...@ucs.usl.edu) wrote:
: I thought I heard from someone several months ago that

: Kellie k...@usl.edu

If you mean the usual "Here comes the bride, all dressed in white" song,
then, yes, it was written by Wagner. It's from his opera Lohengrin.
I don't know if Wagner's piece could be considered a march. Perhaps
you're thinking of the piece from Mendelssohn's Midsummer Night's Dream,
which is called a march, I believe. It's more jubilant than the Wagner,
and it's often played at the end of weddings.

Dave
--
+==========================================================+
| David Griegel | Internet: gri...@quark.umd.edu |
| Nuclear Theory Group | Office: (301) 405-6124 |
| Department of Physics | Fax: (301) 405-6114 |
| University of Maryland | Home: (301) 982-9465 |
+==========================================================+

Roger Lustig

unread,
Mar 20, 1995, 5:02:11 PM3/20/95
to

There are two famous Wedding Marches. The one with "Here comes the Bride"
as an informal title is by Wagner, and was used (in choral form) to
provide a recessional to a wedding at the beginning of Act III of
Lohengrin. (The wedding is not consummated...)

The other famous one is by Mendelssohn, and is also originally a
recessional--in Act V of Shakespeare's _A Midsummernight's Dream_,
for which Mendelssohn wrote incidental music.

No funerals here.

Roger

Andrew David Gross

unread,
Mar 21, 1995, 1:19:44 AM3/21/95
to
In article <3kklne$o...@rouge.usl.edu>,
Frey Kellie L <klf...@ucs.usl.edu> wrote:
>
> I thought I heard from someone several months ago that
>Wagner wrote the song that today we know as The Wedding March.
>I heard it was originally intended as a funeral song.

Well, if you mean the so-called "Here Comes the Bride", then, yes, Wagner
did compose this. It is the chorus from the wedding scene at the beginning
of the third act of his opera Lohengrin.

Furthermore, I believe that because of its composer, this tune is almost
never played at Jewish weddings.

andrew

Roger Lustig

unread,
Mar 21, 1995, 12:09:30 PM3/21/95
to

Don't bet on it. I've even heard it (in a thoroughly fumfered medley
with the Mendelssohn) at a wedding in a conservadox shul in Brooklyn.
And elsewhere...

(We used a Handel harpsichord piece. Now there's a composer who had
fans in the Jewish community...)

Roger

Adam Wright Grasso

unread,
Mar 21, 1995, 5:46:42 PM3/21/95
to
In article <3kklne$o...@rouge.usl.edu>, klf...@ucs.usl.edu (Frey Kellie L)
wrote:

Yes, it's true that the piece was written by Wagner. However, it was
never intended as a funeral song (as far as I know). The music is used in
the Prelude and the body of Act III of Lohengrin.

Bob Comarow

unread,
Mar 22, 1995, 9:24:36 AM3/22/95
to
In article <awg3-21039...@meds20734.meds.cwru.edu>,

Somethings wrong here. I have a CD I'm looking at, which has

Wedding March by Felix Mendelssohn.

bcom...@bb.iu.net

James M. Fitzwilliam

unread,
Mar 22, 1995, 3:37:35 PM3/22/95
to
In article <D5uIp...@zeno.fit.edu>
bcom...@bb.iu.net (Bob Comarow) writes:

> Somethings wrong here. I have a CD I'm looking at, which has
>
> Wedding March by Felix Mendelssohn.

OK, time to end the confusion. The two pieces "traditionally" used for
weddings (since the Victorian era or so) are as follows:

Process: Bridal Chorus (or Wedding March) from Lohengrin, by Wagner
Recess: Wedding March from "A Midsummer Night's Dream", by Mendelssohn

The Wagner is also known popularly as "Here Comes the Bride", and is
usually used as the bride comes *into* the church. If you put on the CD
you mention above, on the other hand, you should recognize the
Mendelssohn as the popular *exit* music for weddings. You can also find
the Mendelssohn Wedding March on any recording of his Midsummer Night's
Dream incidental music to see if it is the same piece. If your CD has
something that sounds like "Here Comes the Bride" and attributes it to
Mendelssohn, they are incorrect.
The Wagner is slow and more stately; one COULD almost imagine it at a
funeral -- perhaps Miss Haversham's funeral, if you've read Dickens! The
Mendelssohn, in contrast, is quite peppy; remember that the play it is
associated with is a comedy, and that one of members of the wedding party
in A Midsummer Night's Dream is a donkey. (:
Actually, I prefer using just about any other music than these tired
old favorites, and always try to give people lots of OTHER choices of
music when I am playing organ at a wedding. Of course, if they still
want the Wagner, that's what they get.

|---------------------------------------------------------------------|
| Questions made/opinions stated are mine, not Vassar's unless noted. |
|---------------------------------------------------------------------|
| James M. Fitzwilliam | | "Piano is my Forte" |
| Coordinator of Microcomputer User Services |------------------------|
| Computing&Info Systems | "Length of title | FITZW...@vassar.edu |
| Vassar College Box 248 | varies inversely | (or vassar.bitnet) |
| Poughkeepsie, NY 12601 | with power" | GEnie: FITZWILLIAM |

Cambiata

unread,
Mar 22, 1995, 4:24:34 PM3/22/95
to
The title you're using is causing the confusion - it's often called the
"Bridal Chorus" - after the wedding itself, the bridal couple is in bed,
receiving the noble guests, who heap their gifts upon them! Hardly a
funeral, but it is a procession of sorts - but not to the church. That's
"Elsa's Processional". The Wedding March is indeed by Mendelssohn, from
"Midsummer Night's Dream"

meh...@tiny.computing.csbsju.edu

unread,
Mar 23, 1995, 9:58:04 AM3/23/95
to

I should let everyone here know that there are *two* famous wedding
marches, one by the above mentioned Mendelssohn, and the other
by the subject-line's focus, Wagner. The Wagner one can be sung
to the mocking text - and I believe you may have heard this before -
"Here comes the bride, all dressed in white..." Mendelssohn's
march comes from the incidental music to "A Midsummer Night's
Comedy", the Shakespeare play ("Midsummer's Night" may be one
word; I'm afraid I'm not up on my Shakespeare today).

-- Mark K. Ehlert
-- [MEh...@csbsju.edu]


--

--

Robert S. Coren

unread,
Mar 23, 1995, 11:11:52 AM3/23/95
to
In article <D5uIp...@zeno.fit.edu>, Bob Comarow <bcom...@bb.iu.net> wrote:
>
>Somethings wrong here. I have a CD I'm looking at, which has
>
>Wedding March by Felix Mendelssohn.

This is what happens when people use over-general names like "Wedding
March", and when we use a medium where the questioner can't just hum
the tune they're asking about.

There are two "wedding marches" in extremely common use in American
weddings. The one to which the words "Here comes the bride" have been
attached, and accordingly is generally used "processionally" as the
bride appears, is by Wagner, from Act III of _Lohengrin_, where it is,
in fact, used in connection with a wedding. The other one, introduced
by a fanfare (which is often omitted in weddings), is more commonly
used as a recessional, and is from Mendelssohn's incidental music to
_A Midsummernight's Dream_; I'm not sure if it in fact a wedding march
in that context, but I suspect that it is.

--
-------Robert Coren (co...@spdcc.com)-------------------------
"...and in the Eighth Square we shall be Queens together, and it's all
feasting and fun!" --Lewis Carroll, _Through the Looking Glass_

Tauser

unread,
Mar 24, 1995, 12:58:52 PM3/24/95
to
Of all the Wedding March stories I have heard, my favorite was Richard
Woitach's (assistant conductor at the Met) - he played the organ at a
friend's wedding...and chose the stately march used in Act III of
Pucinni's "Tosca". Everyone thought the music majestic; but apparently no
one got the point...it was in the opera a march to an execution in which
the tenor believed it was to be a phoney execution....but real bullets
were used. The ironies involved are delicious. Tauser

Martin Kane

unread,
Mar 24, 1995, 7:29:37 PM3/24/95
to
Bob Comarow (bcom...@bb.iu.net) wrote:
: Somethings wrong here. I have a CD I'm looking at, which has

:
: Wedding March by Felix Mendelssohn.

Yes. There are two old "standard" Wedding Marches. In fact the one you
talk of here is the often used exit of the bride and groom after their
marriage. It begins with the triplets, ascending to the crashing chords.

Wagner is the composer of the "Bridal Chorus", often called a wedding
march - the "Here comes the bride." This is still fairly popular today
as an entrance, but is sometimes replaced by a trumpet voluntary for the
more jovial entrance.

Hope this helps.


--
Martin & Anne Kane - orga...@southern.co.nz
- Certainly interested in hearing from all pipe organists.

Through Southern Internet Services - New Zealand

Lehtonen Erkko

unread,
Mar 27, 1995, 7:33:04 AM3/27/95
to
In <3klr60$s...@lastactionhero.rs.itd.umich.edu> Andrew David Gross <jzs...@umich.edu> writes:
>Well, if you mean the so-called "Here Comes the Bride", then, yes, Wagner
>did compose this. It is the chorus from the wedding scene at the beginning
>of the third act of his opera Lohengrin.

Franz Liszt has also made a piano transcription of the Wedding March,
combined with the overture of the third act. It can be found on Hyperion's
"Liszt at the Opera III", played by Leslie Howard.
--
Erkko Lehtonen
l15...@proffa.cc.tut.fi

HEATHER DUNHAM

unread,
Mar 28, 1995, 5:56:23 PM3/28/95
to
>by a fanfare (which is often omitted in weddings), is more commonly
>used as a recessional, and is from Mendelssohn's incidental music to
>_A Midsummernight's Dream_; I'm not sure if it in fact a wedding march
>in that context, but I suspect that it is.

yes it is. At the end when everyone gets married.

heather

Li Feng

unread,
Mar 28, 1995, 6:28:59 PM3/28/95
to

Just courious about the question whether Wagner's music is played in Israel,
do Jewish people play the Wedding March in their ceremony?

Andrew David Gross

unread,
Mar 29, 1995, 3:00:00 AM3/29/95
to
In article <3la63r$q...@news.csie.nctu.edu.tw>,

Li Feng <lf...@chm.uri.edu> wrote:
>>
>> In <3klr60$s...@lastactionhero.rs.itd.umich.edu> Andrew David Gross <jzs...@umich.edu> writes:
>> >Well, if you mean the so-called "Here Comes the Bride", then, yes, Wagner
>> >did compose this. It is the chorus from the wedding scene at the beginning
>> >of the third act of his opera Lohengrin.
>>
>
>Just courious about the question whether Wagner's music is played in Israel,
>do Jewish people play the Wedding March in their ceremony?


Well, I had thought that for the most part Wagner's Wedding March was *not*
played at Jewish weddings -- both in and out of Israel. However, some guy
e-mailed and said that he went to a wedding at a conservative synagogue in
Brooklyn that *did* use the Wagner tune. Now, if there's a tradition
against using Wagner in the wedding ceremony, you'd figure these people
would have known about it.

However, I'm still pretty sure that for the most part, Jewish weddings
eschew that tune.


andrew

Message has been deleted

John Wehlitz

unread,
Apr 4, 1995, 3:00:00 AM4/4/95
to
In <1995Apr3.0...@belvedere.sbay.org> ro...@belvedere.sbay.org
(David E. Fox) writes:
>
>James M. Fitzwilliam (fitzw...@vassar.edu) wrote:
>
>: Process: Bridal Chorus (or Wedding March) from Lohengrin, by Wagner

>: Recess: Wedding March from "A Midsummer Night's Dream", by
Mendelssohn
>
>Anyone want to speculate on just how the Wagner got to be so
universally
>used at weddings? What sort of music was in use before?

Hardly universal. In the Episcopal Church the Wagner wedding march is
almost never used. In our particular parish I think it has been used
only once in the last 15 years or so. There is a lot of other music that
is appropriate for processional use which was used before Wagner and is
still used in many places today.

BTW a number of years ago I was told that the reason to avoid the Wagner
wedding march is that in the opera the music is for a pagan wedding, and
there is plenty of christian music to use at a christian wedding. Not
taking a stand here - just reporting.

J Wehlitz


Ray Hall

unread,
Apr 5, 1995, 3:00:00 AM4/5/95
to
In article <3lrp6a$g...@ixnews4.ix.netcom.com>
jweh...@ix.netcom.com "John Wehlitz" writes:

> >: Process: Bridal Chorus (or Wedding March) from Lohengrin, by Wagner


> >: Recess: Wedding March from "A Midsummer Night's Dream", by
>

> BTW a number of years ago I was told that the reason to avoid the Wagner
> wedding march is that in the opera the music is for a pagan wedding, and
> there is plenty of christian music to use at a christian wedding. Not
> taking a stand here - just reporting.

Quite so!

Has anyone out there actually SUNG this piece? My German is not very good
and the "english" text in our copy was krud to say the least, but I got
a firm impresion that "wedding" was a bit of an overstatement, or might
perhaps happen some time later. Ever since that performance it has
amused me somewhat to think of virtuous Christians celebrating to
a definitely unvirtuous text.
--
Ray Hall

Thomas Duda

unread,
Apr 5, 1995, 3:00:00 AM4/5/95
to
Hi,

No, neither the Wagner nor the Mendelssohn pieces are played at Jewish
weddings. OTOH, neither is Hatikvah.

:-)

L'Chaim,

Tom

R. Iain Farquhar

unread,
Apr 8, 1995, 3:00:00 AM4/8/95
to
In article <797088...@ashworth.demon.co.uk> R...@ashworth.demon.co.uk (Ray Hall) writes:
>From: R...@ashworth.demon.co.uk (Ray Hall)
>Subject: Re: Did Wagner write The Wedding March?
>Date: Wed, 5 Apr 1995 13:26:25 +0000

>In article <3lrp6a$g...@ixnews4.ix.netcom.com>
> jweh...@ix.netcom.com "John Wehlitz" writes:

>> >: Process: Bridal Chorus (or Wedding March) from Lohengrin, by Wagner


>> >: Recess: Wedding March from "A Midsummer Night's Dream", by
>>

>> BTW a number of years ago I was told that the reason to avoid the Wagner
>> wedding march is that in the opera the music is for a pagan wedding, and
>> there is plenty of christian music to use at a christian wedding. Not
>> taking a stand here - just reporting.

>Quite so!

>Has anyone out there actually SUNG this piece? My German is not very good
>and the "english" text in our copy was krud to say the least, but I got
>a firm impresion that "wedding" was a bit of an overstatement, or might
>perhaps happen some time later. Ever since that performance it has
>amused me somewhat to think of virtuous Christians celebrating to
>a definitely unvirtuous text.
>--
>Ray Hall

The so called Wedding March from Lohengrin takes place at the beginning of the
last act. The wedding itself took place at the end of the previous act, and
it was certainly a Christian Wedding, not pagan. The music being referred to
is sung as the women undress Elsa in preparation for the consummation of the
marriage, so the words are a little "premature" for the wedding ceremony
itself! And what exactly is "unvirtuous" about the usual activities of a
honeymoon? Are we being a little Augustinian in our views of sex? =:^)}

Iain

D S Levene

unread,
Apr 10, 1995, 3:00:00 AM4/10/95
to
Andrew David Gross (jzs...@umich.edu) wrote:
: Li Feng <lf...@chm.uri.edu> wrote:
: >>

: >> Andrew David Gross <jzs...@umich.edu> writes:
: >> >Well, if you mean the so-called "Here Comes the Bride", then, yes,
: >> >Wagner
: >> >did compose this. It is the chorus from the wedding scene at the
: >> >beginning of the third act of his opera Lohengrin.
: >
: >Just courious about the question whether Wagner's music is played in
: >Israel, do Jewish people play the Wedding March in their ceremony?

: Well, I had thought that for the most part Wagner's Wedding March was *not*


: played at Jewish weddings -- both in and out of Israel. However, some guy
: e-mailed and said that he went to a wedding at a conservative synagogue in
: Brooklyn that *did* use the Wagner tune. Now, if there's a tradition
: against using Wagner in the wedding ceremony, you'd figure these people
: would have known about it.

: However, I'm still pretty sure that for the most part, Jewish weddings
: eschew that tune.

In my experience, most mainstream Orthodox Jewish weddings in the UK
(including the one I attended last weekend!) *do* have the Lohengrin
march. I have not, however, heard it used among the extremely Orthodox
(who anyway tend to eschew most "secular" music on such occasions, and so
avoid Mendelssohn also); nor was it played at the one wedding I have
attended in Israel.

David Levene
Department of Classics
University of Durham

Gabriel M. Kuper

unread,
Apr 11, 1995, 3:00:00 AM4/11/95
to
In article <3mbr03$j...@mercury.dur.ac.uk>, D S Levene <D.S.L...@durham.ac.uk> writes:

> In my experience, most mainstream Orthodox Jewish weddings in the UK
> (including the one I attended last weekend!) *do* have the Lohengrin
> march. I have not, however, heard it used among the extremely Orthodox
> (who anyway tend to eschew most "secular" music on such occasions, and so
> avoid Mendelssohn also); nor was it played at the one wedding I have
> attended in Israel.
>

To change the subject slightly, does anybody know whether
*German* weddings use the Wagner tune? (Or is it used anywhere
outside Anglo-Saxon cultures?) I ask, because I've noticed German
audiences find its use in American films to be very funny.
I can't tell whether this is a reaction to the mere use of the
tune (I doubt if they are that sophisticated to realize how
inappropriate it is for a wedding--just consider what happens
next in the opera...), or whether they are just reacting to
a tasteless arrangement,

So: does anybody know whether it's used in non-English speaking
countries?

Gabriel Kuper

Rainer Kalliany

unread,
Apr 19, 1995, 3:00:00 AM4/19/95
to ku...@ecrc.de
ku...@ecrc.de (Gabriel M. Kuper) wrote:
>In article <3mbr03$j...@mercury.dur.ac.uk>, D S Levene <D.S.L...@durham.ac.uk> writes:
>> In my experience, most mainstream Orthodox Jewish weddings in the UK
>> (including the one I attended last weekend!) *do* have the Lohengrin march.
>> I have not, however, heard it used among the extremely Orthodox (who anyway
>> tend to eschew most "secular" music on such occasions, and so avoid Mendels-

>> sohn also); nor was it played at the one wedding I have attended in Israel.
>
> To change the subject slightly, does anybody know whether *German* weddings
> use the Wagner tune? (Or is it used anywhere outside Anglo-Saxon cultures?)
> I ask, because I've noticed German audiences find its use in American films
> to be very funny. I can't tell whether this is a reaction to the mere use of
> the tune (I doubt if they are that sophisticated to realize how inappropriate
> it is for a wedding--just consider what happens next in the opera...), or
> whether they are just reacting to a tasteless arrangement,
> So: does anybody know whether it's used in non-English speaking countries?
> Gabriel Kuper

Hi Gabriel,

Remember - we've talked on the net some weeks ago about Vienna and the like.

Just seen your question on the wedding march. Actually, the use of this tune
for "us" (Austrians and I think Germans as well) seems to be somehow typical
American, but I can't exactly say for what reason. Possibly it is from
frequent appearance in films and some hit tunes (when you want to indicate
the future of a couple, just throw in a few bars of the wedding-march...).
The majority of people here would never guess it is from Wagner's Lohengrien.
(Well, most of them also know nothing at all about this opera).

I think, the point is this: Still it is tradition that "one" does marry in
church - and there other tunes from the repertoire of religious music are used.
Wedding ceremonies at the "Standesamt" usually are quite sober: Either because
it is just an appedix to the "official" wedding at church (where all the
relatives and friends will come) or at least one of the partners is marrying
for the 2nd (or whatever) time or they anyway are non-religios. In this cases
it
also is not so much usual to have a rubbish ceremony (which basically of course
also may be organized at the Standesamt - with organ-play and the like).
But, because actually there are more and more such marriages and some of them
in fact want it to have a "romatic" ceremony, also the wedding-march seems
to "gain ground" on the continent. So it somehow is coming back via the US.

Still, I myself - and most others as you have witnessed - tend to smile when
hearing that tune, because for us it is somehow the "essence" of romantic
rubbish (in connection with sugar-sweet arrangement and ceremony in general).
The traditional "Austrian/German/European" ceremonies at church cannot be
thus rubbish, because the major part is determined by the religious service.
Only before and afterwards there is plenty time for individual folklore,
but most of it (countryside !) by tendence a bit harsh and less romantic.

But, by erosion of domestic traditions, finally maybe the tune will establish
here as well as it allrerady is the case with "Happy Birthday to You", which
actually is the only tune "everybody" may join singing at a birthday-party.

Sincerely, Rainer

1995-04-19, 16:25 GMT
--
#######################################################################
# Rainer KALLIANY - Division Earth Observation & Space Research #
# TU Graz, Institut f. computerunterstuetzte Geometrie und Graphik #
# (Technical University Graz, ICG - Institute of Computer Graphics) #
# Muenzgrabenstrasse 11, A-8010 Graz, Austria / Europe #
# Phone: + 43 316 841766 43; Fax: + 43 316 846304 #
# E-Mail: kall...@icg.tu-graz.ac.at #
#######################################################################


Reply all
Reply to author
Forward
0 new messages