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Duo wedding violin and cello music at Orton Hall Hotel, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire

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Orton Hall Hotel is one of the best wedding venues in Peterborough, so we were delighted  when our string trio was invited to play wedding music here again a couple of weeks ago.

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We performed for  three hours during drinks and the wedding breakfast, moving from the conservatory – which is light and airy – to the main dining room.

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The bride and groom had chosen extremely elegant decorations for the table settings and, as this was an Italian wedding, they had asked us to include some Italian music; so we played  Ave Maria, a selection from Vivaldi’s The Seasons, Italian arias – including Nessun Dorma and pieces from  La Boheme, La Traviata and Rigoletto – and  our own sheet music arrangement of Speak Softly – the love song  from The Godfather movie.

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Orton Hall is an 18th century manor house surrounded by 20 acres of beautifully cared for grounds, which give  it a very open, relaxed feel. Organisation was excellent  throughout the day and the weather was wonderfully warm for October.

Wedding receptions and ceremonies in Northamptonshire and Peterborough: Walnut Tree Inn, Blisworth

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Last Friday our string trio played for a wedding ceremony at Walnut Tree Inn, in Blisworth in Northamptonshire.

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It was a small intimate wedding with around fifty guests and as they arrived we played a selection of baroque music finishing with Arrival of the Queen of Sheba. The bride’s entrance was preceded by four bridesmaids – two very young – and to accompany this we performed Pachelbel’s Canon, and then switched to Coldplay’s Paradise as the bride herself arrived. The bridesmaids were especially sweet and quite hesitant about their walk down the aisle.

For the signing the couple had chosen One Day Like This followed by Wonderful World and then Summertime. The couple’s exit music was All You Need Is Love.

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While the guests then relaxed and had drinks and photographs began we chose to perform a selection of well known Italian arias, Strauss waltzes and some of Roger’s sheet music arrangements of Gershwin songs.It was  lovely, happy occasion with the guests listening attentively for much of the time and the weather fine and sunny.

String Trio Arrangements

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I recently watched that rarest of things: a film version of an excellent novel – Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor – which surprised me by working so well. I say surprised because so often, even when the directors and actors are  respectful and stick to the original text, the end result is flat and has no spirit of its own.

I was relating this to music arrangements in the following way: if you are putting a work of art into a different medium, there’s no point simply trying to copy the way it is in the original as closely as you can. You need to internalise it and use your  own ideas to breathe life into it in its new form, even if that sometimes means changing things to make them effective. An extreme television example of this is the brilliantly imaginative Sherlock series currently being shown on  BBC1.

At the moment Leon, Roger and I are working on a string trio version of Bach’s Double Violin Concerto which we hope to record this summer in Cambridgeshire, and the slow movement of which would be a lovely choice for the signing or reception at a wedding.  The original is for two violins, string orchestra and harpsichord, so adapting it for string trio obviously involves quite a rethink, but our initial rehearsals have gone well and have even been quite exciting! How ethical is this? Well, I think Bach may well have approved. Bach and Handel were known for their excellent improvising; they encouraged their pupils to do the same and both made very free arrangements of other composers’ music, as did Rachmaninoff come to that.

The main thing is to give a creative idea vitality. Conan Doyle’s original Sherlock Holmes will only discover more fans thanks to his new television alter ego; and  Bach’s music  is so outstandingly wonderful that it will survive anything!JB