Wedding Music, Part 3: Recessional

Posted by AJ Harbison at 8:01 pm

One of my favorite TV shows is House, a medical version of a Sherlock Holmes mystery: “House solves mysteries where the villain is a medical malady and the hero is an irreverent, controversial doctor who trusts no one, least of all his patients.” It’s now in its fifth season, but since I’m watching it on DVD and very slowly, my lovely fiancée and I are only in season two. One of my favorite episodes, which was the fourteenth episode of season one, is “Control,” in which House, by questionable ethical means, saves a young CEO who has destroyed her heart by ipecac self-poisoning and bulimia. I don’t think I agree with his decision in the episode, but despite that disagreement the episode is very well-written and the ending is one of the most satisfying that I’ve seen yet on the show. After his final conversation with the patient, House returns to his office and begins playing “Baba O’Riley” by The Who over his iPod speakers. The song has an awesome intro, and the feeling of triumph is unmistakable. (You can watch the whole episode for free, albeit in low quality and with Spanish subtitles, here. If you’d like to skip to the last scene, start playing the video and then click around in the timer bar until you get to about the 38’30” mark. If you really trust me on this one and want to watch the whole episode on Amazon for $1.99, click here. You can listen to the entirety of “Baba O’Riley” for free, courtesy of our good friend Last.fm, here.)

As I’ve mentioned, I really love this episode and I really love the way the song is used to evoke elation in the watcher/listener. So, a few days ago I got an idea for the recessional for my wedding. (As I wrote before, I’m going to be writing all the music for my wedding ceremony.) The piano would start by “fading in” with a high ostinato repeating pattern, perhaps based on the keyboard intro to “Baba O’Riley” but not the same. The anticipation builds as the pattern continues and the pastor says: “I present to you, for the first time, Mr. and Mrs. AJ Harbison!” at which point I give a quick conducting cue beat and the pianist crashes down on low octaves in the left hand–the same notes and rhythm as in the song. (Believe it or not, Eleanor actually really likes the conducting cue idea.) Hey, satisfaction, elation and triumph all count at the culmination of the wedding ceremony, right? I think it’ll make a rocking recessional. And I can’t wait to give that cue–more fun than a composer should be allowed to have!



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    ryan fleming on 01.19.2009

    I love house too! Have you seen the episode with the young adult who has some condition that allows him to play the piano unbelievably well and compose beautiful music on the spot? It is a really good episode with some good piano music in it. I’m not sure what season it is in, but once you watch it let me know what you think.

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    Darth_Harbison on 01.19.2009

    The episode Mr. Fleming is talking about is “Half-wit,” which is in Season 3 . . . just FYI. It guest stars Dave Matthews, which is fun.

    And . . . I really have nothing to say about the post. Sounds cool.

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    ryan fleming on 01.20.2009

    Thats funny! I did not realize it was dave matthews. He did a good job acting in that episode. Thanks for the info.

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    Idhrendur on 01.20.2009

    Since I’m loaning you some TNG, could I perhaps borrow some House in return. The few episodes I’ve seen, I’ve loved.

    And I rather like your recessional idea.

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