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A growing genre in classical music is that of pieces based on the works of popular groups, beginning with an orchestral suite based on the music of the Beatles. Recent offerings include a ballet set to the music of Billy Joel, and a symphony based on the music of the British rock group Queen.
Up until the beginning of the 20th century, noble and wealthy families in Europe would employ musicians full-time to compose and perform music for many kinds of events, including background music for dinners and parties. Try playing some classical music such as Baroque-era instrumental music, string quartets, or a piano trio as background music for a normal weekday dinner, and see if you find it enjoyable and relaxing
Aside from pieces such as Handel's “Messiah”, certain classical pieces have become associated with the Christmas/New Year's holiday, such as Tchaikovsky's ballet “The Nutcracker Suite” and Johann Strauss' operetta “Die Fledermaus.” Johann Strauss waltzes are also popular at this time of year.
A sung piece of music can add an inspirational interlude either before or during the ceremony. Appropriate selections might include “There is Love” by Paul Stuckey, “The Lord's Prayer” by Mallote, “Ave Maria” by Schubert, and “Entreat Me Not To Leave Thee” by Charles Gounod.
Cities from New York to Los Angeles, from Finland to Korea, now have concert series based on the model of the famous Boston Pops Orchestra, which is an offshoot of the Boston Symphony. Programs include light classical, film scores, pop arrangements, and popular guest stars in a non-formal atmosphere. As in Boston, refreshments may be served during the performance.
Other popular choices for wedding processionals or recessionals would include the Purcell/Clark “Trumpet Voluntary”; Andre Campra's “Rigaudon” from Idomeneo; “Rondeau” by Mouret (theme from Masterpiece Theater), “Ode to Joy” from Beethoven's 9th Symphony, the “Adagio” or “Hornpipe” from Handel's Water Music.
During the prelude to the ceremony, Bach's “Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring,” Pachelbel's “Canon,” and Liszt's “Liebestraume,” are all appropriate. Most brides come down the aisle to the “Here Comes the Bride” theme from Wagner's Lohengrin, and leave the church to the famous “Wedding March” of Mendelssohn.