Thursday, September 1, 2016

Rachel and Graham at Perkins Chapel

Gyros String Quartet at Perkins Chapel

One of the most poignant and really touching ceremonies this year took place at Perkins Chapel in late July. The room’s super lively acoustic and elegant understated decor combined with one of the more unusual programs in recent memory. Only two pieces were used for processional music: Ennio Morricone’s “Gabriel’s Oboe” - which never fails to convey a sense of utter serenity and spiritual yearning (reminiscent of Bach in a strange way) - and “The Swan” (Le Cigne) from Camille Saint-Saens’ Carnival of the Animals for the bride’s entrance.

The tricky part was to find a way to transfer the flow of the double piano parts of the original to the three upper strings in the quartet. The famous solo melody stayed with the cello, of course. Additionally, it needed to be no more than 75 seconds long and still have a beginning, middle and end. After several days’ worth of tweaking the arrangement and a few run-throughs at the chapel, I think it turned out to be a fantastic bridal processional piece.

Saint-Saens - 1886 manuscript of The Swan (Cygne) from Carnival of the Animals
The Swan - from Saint-Saens’ manuscript

Saint-Saens: The Swan - detail of the arrangement for string quartet
The Swan - adapted for string quartet


PROGRAM:

Prelude:
Bach – Prelude from Cello Suite No. 1
Bach – Brandenburg Concerto No. 3
Mozart – Divertimento No. 1
Boccherini – Minuetto
Bach – Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring

Ceremony:
Seating of the Families and Attendants Processional
MorriconeGabriel’s Oboe

Bridal Processional
Saint-Saens – Le Cygne (The Swan)

Unity Candle & Family Prayer
Be Thou My Vision

Recessional
Handel – “The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba”

Postlude
Handel – “Hornpipe” from Water Music


GYROS STRING QUARTET:
Gary Schnitzer, violin
Saejin Yoon, violin
Norbert Gerl, viola
Mitch Maxwell, violoncello

Coordinator: Elizabeth Gonzalez - After Yes, LLC
Photo: Allison Davis Photography

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