Last Friday, our wedding string quartet returned to play once again in the rural setting of Cripps Barn, near Bibury in Gloucestershire. We were due to play for 15 minutes before the bridal entrance, but an unexpected delay of 40 minutes meant that our music provided a much needed point of interest as the guests waited in anticipation. From our previous experiences, we have found that classical works have always provided the best atmosphere for the pre ceremony music, so often we will bring with us many more pieces than required for exactly this scenario.
After the ceremony was finished there was only around half an hour or so of music to be played during the drinks reception. Sadly, we couldn’t join the bridal couple and wedding guests outside as it was just too windy and posed a risk of our stringed instruments being physically blown out of our hands. Instead, we entertained the guests who remained in the barn with a lively selection of modern rock and pop music for string quartet.
Last Saturday the string quartet returned for the third time to perform a concert at the Church of St Peter and St Paul’s in Cranfield, Bedfordshire. Our concerts often take the form of a theme and for this particular concert the theme was a midsummer’s evening. We opened the programme with Borodin’s masterful ‘Nocturne’ from his second string quartet in D, which set the scene for an immensely varied evening of music, incorporating classical works from three centuries, to jazz, traditional and even a hint of film music. We continued with an arrangement I made for string quartet (reduced down from string orchestra) of the Irish traditional melody ‘The Lark In the Clear Air’. Other works included the famous ‘Flower Duet’ from Delibes’s opera ‘Lakme’, Daquin’s delightful keyboard piece (transcribed for string quartet) entitled ‘Le Coucou’, Johann Strauss II’s marvellous collection of waltzes entitled ‘Roses From the South’ and Vivaldi’s sparkling Concerto in G minor ‘Summer’ (from ‘The Four Seasons’).
The audience seemed to enjoy the variety of music offered as well as responding well to the spoken introductions. At the end of the evening, a generous applause prompted an encore item which left everyone happy on this summer’s evening!
On the last Friday in May, our string quartet were engaged to play for another wedding back in the Sculpture Gallery at Woburn Abbey. This is both a local and regular venue for us and we know the staff and layout well. For this particular wedding, the couple had been married at a nearby church and so we provided music for the drinks reception and much of the wedding breakfast.
The couple were blessed with a sunny afternoon, so we opted for the only shaded area overlooking the back lawn (namely, some bushes situated at the far end). From here, we entertained the guests with a selection of modern rock and pop songs for string quartet.
Later, we set up indoors and played for a further hour or so as guests enjoyed their meals. The sound of the quartet floated through the indoor space of the Sculpture Gallery, adding a real sense of celebration to the occasion.
We left after I spoke with a delighted bride and with many guests commenting on the quality of the music – we look forward to returning as a string quartet to Woburn Abbey in the near future!
On the last Friday in May, Adrian (viola) and I performed for a wedding held in the magnificent setting of the Grand Cafe at the Royal Exchange in London.
The first set of music we were asked to perform was generally classical in nature and included a complete performance of Mozart’s Duo in G for violin and viola (which felt a little like a concert!). For the bridal entrance we then played Pachelbel’s Canon in D, a popular piece for the processional which works very well for two instruments. We were not required for the rest of the ceremony so made our way up to the bar area and entertained guests once the ceremony had finished and the reception drinks had begun. For this, we played a selection of our arrangements of rock and pop for string duo as well as our light music, lounge and jazz selection, which were enjoyed by many of the guests.
During the wedding breakfast, we set up in an alcove on the balcony and (with the help of some amplification) played whilst guests enjoyed their meals, the music discreetly filling the large space of the Royal Exchange.
A couple of weeks ago, our string duo was hired to perform at a nearby Hertfordshire wedding, held at Burloes Hall near to Royston. The day was blessed with glorious sunshine, in contrast with the predominantly gloomy and cold weather we’d experienced throughout April and May. This was just as well considering the ceremony and reception drinks were held outdoors without any cover at all – as Burloes has only recently become a wedding venue.
Another interesting feature of this wedding was that it was a humanist ceremony (the legal paperwork having taken place prior elsewhere). Again, as it is a legal requirement that the official wedding ceremony has to take place underneath a permanent structure, this again worked out well. The string duo performed under the shade of a gazebo (situated to the right of the guests) and we played string versions of Des’ree ‘Kissing You’ and ‘It Must Be Love’.
During the drinks reception, the bridal couple and guests moved to be nearer the Hall where drinks and canapés were served. Here, we performed a lively mixture of rock and pop covers to keep all of the guests entertained on a beautiful summer afternoon, overlooking an unspoiled view of the neighbouring Hertfordshire countryside