Brahms’s Opus 49 was published in 1868; the great composer worked alongside Clara Schuman, the noted pianist, for many compositions, and it was she who first debuted the song on piano the following year. Brahms titled the piece, Wiegenlied: Guten Abend, Gute Nacht, and it is indeed a song with words, sung for its debut by Louise Dustmann. Lullaby, and Goodnight has since become one of the most recognizable melodies in the world.
The music also now heralds the birth of every child at a regional medical center in Emporia, Kansas, where my youngest sister just had a healthy baby girl on Wednesday, her fourth child. As she told me the story of the tune’s hospital deployment last night I couldn’t help but share that Suzuki includes the tune in Book Four, the book I have just begun. The small hospital averages a birth a day, but while my sister was bringing her new one into the world the center was quite busy – 13 in two days! Perhaps the DJ just put the cradle song on repeat.
I’m looking forward to meeting my newest nieces as soon as I can get down to Wichita – they are indeed plural; my other sister just had a new baby girl too, her own seventh child, a few weeks ago. I don’t think I’ll be playing the lullaby myself very soon for them – though it’s first up in the book, Teacher says she likes to wait until the middle of Book Four to roll it out. It’s a tonalization and vibrato extravaganza.
Babies are the best extravaganzas.
Thanks for reading.