Home / Works / Wedding March from A Midsummer Night’s Dream op.132 (A. Jaëll / Mendelssohn)

Print content of page

Wedding March from A Midsummer Night’s Dream op.132 (A. Jaëll / Mendelssohn)

Text

Although Mendelssohn composed his Overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 1826, at the age of seventeen, the other numbers in his incidental music for Shakespeare’s play date from 1842-43. They were heard for the first time on 14 October 1843 at Potsdam Palace, before the court of Prussia, when the comedy was performed in the adaptation in three acts by Ludwig Tieck. The celebrated Wedding March, played before the last act, precedes the marriage of Duke Theseus with Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons and of the play’s two pairs of young lovers. It was not until the 1870s that Mendelssohn was properly appreciated in France, thanks notably to the orchestral association of the Concerts Colonne, which frequently programmed the music for A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the Third (‘Scottish’) and Fourth (‘Italian’) symphonies. We do not know exactly when Alfred Jaëll made this transcription of the Wedding March (he had often played Mendelssohn’s music in concert, notably the piano concertos and piano trios). If the opus number is a reliable indication, it could date from the 1870s. Except for the addition of an introductory cadenza, it follows the scheme of the original for orchestra while adapting it to the possibilities of the piano. Jaëll makes use of powerful chords and varies the recurrence of the principal theme with idiomatic gestures (arpeggios, added octaves in the bass line, division of the melody between the two hands) which introduce a virtuoso dimension lacking in Mendelssohn’s piece.