Coaxing The Baby To Sleep: A Violinist's Hand-Picked Lullabies | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

Coaxing The Baby To Sleep: A Violinist's Hand-Picked Lullabies

Play associated audio

In German, it's wiegenlied; in French, berceuse; in Norwegian, vuggevise. In any language, the universal effect of what we know as the lullaby is, of course, to coax a baby to sleep.

Violinist Rachel Barton Pine had her own baby in mind when she decided to record a collection of lullabies. Her infant daughter appears on the cover of the new album Violin Lullabies — all folded up, fast asleep, so tiny she just about fits in her dad's hands.

"When I wanted to make sure that I was really capturing the right flavor, I just thought of my daughter in the recording studio," Barton Pine says. "And that sort of made me feel the music in the right way every time."

Barton Pine describes herself as a sheet music geek. From her collection, she created a shortlist of lullabies from composers including the biggies — Brahms, Schubert, Schumann — but also a number of surprises.

"There are some composers here who are known, but lesser known," she says. "And then, there are some composers who are absolutely, completely obscure. Like, who had ever heard of Antsev and Rebikov and Schwab?"

For the record, those are composers Mikhail Antsev, Vladimir Rebikov and Ludwig Schwab, who contribute three of the diverse batch of works — 25 in total — that Barton Pine interprets on the album.

"Some of them are about lulling the baby to sleep, some of them are about describing the baby who's sleeping, and some of them might even be describing a dream itself," Barton Pine says. "And that's also how I chose which mute to use — the little special things that sit on top of the bridge to give the tone quality of the violin an even more covered, more delicate and impressionistic sound."

Barton Pine says that even the family histories of the composers themselves influenced her performance. To hear more of her conversation with NPR's Melissa Block, click the audio link on this page.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Palm Springs Celebrates Its Past, And Tourists Arrive In Droves

Palm Springs was the desert playground of golden-era Hollywood. Then its glamour faded. Now its mid-century architecture, its retro style and the allure of its past are fueling a rebirth.
NPR

Cheez Whiz Helped Spread Processed Foods. Will It Be Squeezed Out?

Turns out, the history of Kraft's dull-orange cheese spread says a lot about the processed food industry — and where it might be headed as Kraft and Heinz merge.
NPR

Proposed Payday Industry Regulations Must Strike Delicate Balance

The federal government is moving to reign in the payday loan industry, which critics say traps consumers in a damaging cycle of debt. A look at the possible effects of proposed regulations.
NPR

App That Aims To Make Books 'Squeaky Clean' Draws Ire From Edited Writers

Clean Reader — an app designed to find, block and replace profanity in books — has drawn considerable criticism from authors. This week, makers of the app announced they would no longer sell e-books.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.