Wednesday, June 08, 2011

BBC/Time Warner offer DVD of Royal Wedding (but no pre-concert)

If you didn’t go to London for the Royal Wedding “Event”, the next best thing is the BBC (and Time Warner) DVD of the occasion, 2 hours and six minutes, officially titled “The Royal Wedding: William & Catherine”, presented by Huw Edwards.

A good part of the DVD is photographed outside, before and after the Westminster Abbey ceremony, with a fly over by the RAF to end the DVD as William & Catherine wave from the balcony of Buckingham Palace.

The narration mentions that the music of Sir Hubert Parry predominates, and his stirring coronation anthem “I Was Glad” starts 38 minutes into the DVD.  The couple is officially married at about minute 49. Later Parry’s “O Jerusalem” is sung (quite majestic, it is commonly heard in most protestant denominations as a routine – if more complicated than usual – hymn).  The narrators mention a motet (a capella) that the couple likes, specifically Motet ‘Ubi caritas’ by Paul Mealor, a Welsh composer, who is currently Reader in Composition at The University of Aberdeen. There is also a new anthem by John Rutter, “This Is the Day Which the Lord Has Made”, in tuneful, neoromantic style.

The sermons and homilies have the usual content, but fitting into today’s social and political debates about marriage, with the paradox it presents for western individualism. Every wedding is in a sense a royal wedding.

Toward the end there is a march by William Walton, and a Pomp and Circumstance March by Elgar.

The DVD, unfortunately, does not include the pre-service concert.

The service was discussed on the TV blog April 29, with an embed there of the Parry anthem, and a link to the official music program, including the concert.

Curiously, I saw only one piece by Sir Charles Villiers Stanford in the program.  At the reception of my mother’s memorial service, I had the Fourth Irish Rhapsody played (Chandos). It is a slow, majestic piece that builds to a cataclysmic climax.  Though long, it could have made a great postlude for the Wedding, with the incredible sendoff at the end.

My understanding is that both William and Prince Charles know classical music well. Perhaps they’ll find this post and discussions of their selections.
Visually, the Abbey looks striking in high definition, with garish colors: the greens of the plants, the reds, and a surprising use of blue, and a dense array of decoration everywhere.

The proceeds for the DVD are supposed to go to the Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry (link)
Here is the PBS YouTube embed of the heart of the wedding ceremony.

Pictures: My own parents had their own "royal wedding" in Washington DC on May 15, 1940. 

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