Archive for January, 2012

Le Cygne Makes the Perfect Wedding Prelude Selection

A Swan Gracefully Floats Across the Long Island Sound

Le Cygne or a Swan Gracefully Floats Across the Long Island Sound
Photo: Eric Ortner

Choosing the proper prelude music for your wedding ceremony may seem like a daunting task. This is especially true for a bride and groom who are unfamiliar with classical music repertoire. If you are left wondering just what music should be in your wedding ceremony prelude, Le Cygne by French Composer Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns is an excellent choice.

Le Cygne or The Swan is one of Saint-Saëns best known pieces. It is part of a fourteen movement suite entitled Carnival of Animals. Apparently Saint-Saëns did not feel that the Suite was one of his finer works because he did not attempt to publish or perform it in his lifetime. The only movement that he made the exception of performing was Le Cygne, and this was for small private audiences.

It is easy to understand why this melody held a place in Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns heart. It is very poetic, and true to the Romantic style holds, a great deal of syncretism and expression.

Le Cygne, though seems perfectly fitting in a wedding ceremony atmosphere. The song was written with a long flowing melody line, which is intended to represent a swan gracefully floating over the water’s surface. The piano part paddles away with sixteenth notes beneath the surface. One could go so far as to compare this illustration to a beautiful bride gracing the aisle of her chosen wedding venue.

The Swan was originally written for cello and two pianos. However, Harmonious Music regularly performs an arrangement written for violin and piano in wedding ceremonies throughout the New York Metropolitan area and Hudson Valley. A recorded example of this arrangement is provided below.