Various Artists

Musiques de Mariage

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The idea of taking care of your wedding music needs with a single compact disc is a fairly recent one, and of the large number of discs available for the purpose, the vast majority are American or British. It is intriguing to observe what's similar in this budget release from the fine French label Naïve, and what's different. Would Americans, even African Americans, so routinely celebrate their marriages that a company would think to include rousing gospel hymns on such a disc? Probably not, but Musiques de Mariage concludes with a pair of them. And, perhaps because of the general orientation of Naïve's catalog, there's a greater proportion of Baroque pieces, including the unfamiliar (at least in Anglophone circles) aria Ave Maris stella of Pietro Paolo Bencini, than one would find on a similar American disc, correspondingly fewer Romantic melodies, and no crossover pieces, not even Celine Dion. Some standards do, however, cross national boundaries; Schubert's Ave Maria and the Wagner and Mendelssohn wedding marches are all here, as are processional standards such as the Albinoni Adagio and (a bit more unusually and perhaps ominously) the Bach Toccata and fugue in D minor for organ, BWV 565. The stable of artists connected with Naïve is mostly associated with the historical-performance movement, meaning that the Baroque pieces will have a generally crisper, edgier sound that those who've heard it played by symphony orchestras will be used to. But that may be all to the good for your ceremony. The bottom line is that this is a high-quality wedding music collection that will bring new ideas to many of its audiences.

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