Bridal Chorus

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The "Bridal Chorus" (German: "Treulich geführt") from the 1850 opera Lohengrin by German composer Richard Wagner, who also wrote the libretto, is a march played for the bride's entrance at many formal weddings throughout the Western world. In English-speaking countries, it is generally known as "Here Comes the Bride" or "Wedding March", but "wedding march" refers to any piece in march tempo accompanying the entrance or exit of the bride, notably Felix Mendelssohn's "Wedding March". Wagner’s piece was made popular when it was used as the processional at the wedding of Victoria the Princess Royal to Prince Frederick William of Prussia in 1858. [1]

Contents

The chorus is sung in Lohengrin by the women of the wedding party after the ceremony, as they accompany the heroine Elsa to her bridal chamber.

Text

Although at most weddings the chorus is usually played on an organ without singing, in Lohengrin the wedding party sings these words at the beginning of act three.

Treulich geführt ziehet dahin,
wo euch der Segen der Liebe bewahr'!
Siegreicher Mut, Minnegewinn
eint euch in Treue zum seligsten Paar.
Streiter der Tugend, schreite voran!
Zierde der Jugend, schreite voran!
Rauschen des Festes seid nun entronnen,
Wonne des Herzens sei euch gewonnen!

Duftender Raum, zur Liebe geschmückt,
nehm' euch nun auf, dem Glanze entrückt.
Treulich geführt ziehet nun ein,
wo euch der Segen der Liebe bewahr'!
Siegreicher Mut, Minne so rein
eint euch in Treue zum seligsten Paar.

Faithfully guided, draw near
to where the blessing of love shall preserve you!
Triumphant courage, the reward of love,
joins you in faith as the happiest of couples!
Champion of virtue, proceed!
Jewel of youth, proceed!
Flee now the splendour of the wedding feast,
may the delights of the heart be yours!

This sweet-smelling room, decked for love,
now takes you in, away from the splendour.
Faithfully guided, draw now near
to where the blessing of love shall preserve you!
Triumphant courage, love so pure,
joins you in faith as the happiest of couples!

Eight women then sing a blessing to a separate melody.

Wie Gott euch selig weihte,
zu Freude weihn euch wir;
In Liebesglücks Geleite
denkt lang' der Stunde hier!

As God hath blessedly consecrated you,
We consecrate you to joy;
Attended by love's bliss,
Think long upon the present hour!

The chorus then repeats the first section, gradually proceeding offstage.

Religious attitudes

Some Christian churches disagree with the use of the "Bridal Chorus" at wedding ceremonies. In an FAQ on the website of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod it was explained that opposition to the piece dated from before the First World War, when Lutherans were opposed "to any sort of theater", and Wagner's operas were seen as "depict[ing] pagan stories and themes." [2] A pamphlet issued in 2003 by the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego said that the "Bridal Chorus" was "not to be used", again because it is a theatrical piece, but also because it is not a processional to the altar in the opera, and because its frequent use in film and television associate it with sentimentality rather than worship. [3]

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References

  1. Pleck, Elizabeth Hafkin (2000). Celebrating the Family: Ethnicity, Consumer Culture, and Family Rituals . Harvard University Press. p.  212 . Retrieved 2014-08-31. lohengrin bridal chorus victoria.
  2. "Wedding March". The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod. Archived from the original on June 7, 2008. Retrieved November 18, 2007.
  3. "Guidelines for Wedding Music" (PDF). Diocese of San Diego Office of Liturgy and Spirituality. 2000. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 27, 2007. Retrieved November 18, 2007.