I did a rather sprightly arrangement of this wedding hymn recently. Featuring acoustic piano and solo violin as the primary instruments, the string section plays a lively repeated motif four times, the last two being more complex and higher in pitch than the first two. To complement the percussive liveliness of the strings, as well as the constant motion and baroque style of the piano, and the thumping of the double basses, I added an occasional legato french horn line, and some linear string lines in verse two. If you listen closely, you’ll hear a clarinet as well on verse 3, making it the gentlest moment in the song.
I think generally speaking, I’ll be employing two different styles of wedding hymns on our project. The first encompasses the celebrative hymns, which celebrate both the worth and greatness of God, and the good gifts of his Creation, such as For The Beauty of the Earth, All Creatures Of Our God And King, and Praise To The Lord The Almighty. The second category is the more thoughtful, contemplative type – Gentle Shepherd, Savior Like A Shepherd Lead Us, and The Lord’s Prayer. The Lord’s Prayer is not strictly speaking a hymn as such, but fits pretty nicely with the hymns, especially when they are done as instrumental pieces rather than vocal performances.