Everybody knows the “Bridal Chorus” (“Here Comes The Bride”) from the opera Lohengrin by composer Richard Wagner. It has been played at many weddings over the years and has an interesting story. When you hear the introduction, you know that the bride is on her way down the aisle. Everyone is ready to greet the bride, usually dressed in white, and a wonderful, loving wedding is about to take place.
The Original Context Of The Opera: Mass murder! Say what???
The tune comes from the opera Lohengrin, where the "Bridal Chorus" is actually sung to the heroine Elsa and her new husband, Lohengrin, by her handmaidens after the wedding, not before! After that song, Lohengrin murders 5 wedding guests and then leaves Elsa.
Lohengrin is not a happy opera, as you probably could have guessed from all that murdering Lohengrin did. The marriage lasts all of two songs, after which Lohengrin abandons Elsa, and opera being opera, Elsa dies of grief. So the organ music you hear at a wedding is less celebratory and more like an ominous, foreshadowy, something bad is going to happen sort of thing. They might as well play the theme from Jaws.
Fortunately, the piece “White Lace” from the “A Wedding By The Lake” CD serves the same purpose as the “Bridal Chorus.” There is a big, fanfare type introduction, so guests will know to stand, followed by an elegant march for the entrance of the bride. The music is new and elegant and most of all, not overused. "White Lace" does not have a dark, gruesome story behind it and none of your guests will be thinking about the unflattering lyrics associated with “Here Comes The Bride.”
"White Lace" is available on CD, mp3 downloads, and sheet music in many formats for live performance. You can find the sheet music listings on the HOME page.
Listen to "White Lace" HERE.
Purchase "White Lace" on the "A Wedding By The Lake" CD HERE!
You can read more details of Lohengrin below.
Lohengrin by Richard Wagner
Act 1 – Germans and Hungarians are at war. German King Henry’s young son, Duke Gottfried, is missing. Gottfried’s guardian Telramund accuses Gottfried’s sister Elsa of murdering Gottfried and that he (Tel.) should be made Duke. Elsa pleads her innocense, submits to God’s judgement and sort of “prays” for the champion knight of her dreams. Enter this mysterious, nameless knight in shining armor (named Lohengrin, we find out later) riding on a boat pulled by a swan. Lohengrin says he will defend Elsa’s honor on the condition she never asks him what his name is. Lohengrin defeats but does not kill Tel. End scene.
Act 2 – Tel. and his wife, Ortrud (who is a witch), have now been banished. Ort. plans to get Elsa to violate her promise. Ort. prays to her pagan gods to trick Elsa and return the land to paganism. Nameless knight named Lohengrin is declared to be the new Duke, but he declines the title. Elsa, fearing nameless Lohengrin’s departure at any time (from Ort.’s deceptive suggestion) hooks up with Lohengrin and they plan to get married. Tel. and Ort. try to disrupt the wedding by sneaking in and claiming Lohengrin’s victory was invalid because he did not reveal his name. The King backs nameless knight named Lohengrin. Tel and Ort are left standing outside the Church. End Scene
Act 3 – The chorus begins the act by singing the Bridal Chorus, which sets up a great deal of irony as you will soon see. Elsa and Lohengrin enter the Bridal chamber, they have just been married and are about to consummate their marriage when Elsa (nagged by Ort’s suggestion that she should know her husband’s name) asks nameless husband knight named Lohengrin his name. At that moment Tel. enters the chamber and Lohengrin kills Tel. Lohengrin who didn’t get to answer before being attacked, said he and Elsa will go to the King and he (Lohengrin) will reveal the mystery. Lohengrin reveals his name and that he is a Knight of the Holy Grail and now must leave. He says goodbye to Elsa whom he married and now is abandoning without having consummated his wedding, and begins to leave on the swan pulled boat. Ort. enters and says that the swan is actually Elsa’s missing brother Gottfried. Ort is accused of being a witch… because she is. Lohengrin turns the swan into Gottfried. A dove descends from heaven and pulls Lohengrin’s boat. Elsa grief stricken from the loss of her husband drops dead. End Scene and Cut.