Cradle Song by Brahms

Johannes Brahms was only one of many composers to write "Cradle Songs," or lullabies, in the course of his compositional life. Published in 1868, his Wiegenlied: Guten Abend, gute Nacht may well be the most famous Cradle Song of them all, however. Its lyrics come from various sources: the first verse springs from German folk poetry, Des Knaben Wunderhorn, while the second was composed by Georg Scherer in 1849.

As Cradle Song was composed by a romantic of the Romantics, we probably shouldn't be surprised that there's more to this tune than might meet the ear. That melodyso hauntingly beautiful and restful that it's synonymous with the word "lullaby" in many people's mindsis believed to have a second hidden meaning as well.

Bertha Faber, a longtime friend of Brahms, was the first to sing the tune; Brahms wrote the piece to commemorate her son's birth. But she was more than merely a friend to Brahms in his youth and he memorializes that relationship by means of a subtle counter melody in Cradle Song based on another song that Bertha had sung to him years earlier.

Although Cradle Song has many different translations, the original lyric line and a fairly literal version go something like this:

Guten Abend, gute Nacht,
mit Rosen bedacht,
mit Nglein besteckt,
schlupf' unter die Deck!
Morgen frh, wenns Gott will,
wirst du wieder geweckt.

Guten Abend, gute Nacht,
von Englein bewacht,
die zeigen im Traum
dir Christkindleins Baum.
Schlaf nun selig und s,
schau im Traum's Paradies.

Good evening, good night,
With roses adorned,
With carnations covered,
Slip under the covers.
Tomorrow morning, if God wants so,
you will wake once again.

Good evening, good night.
By angels watched,
Who show you in your dream
the Christ-child's tree.

Download and print Cradle Song by Brahms Piano Sheet Music

Listen and download Brahms' Lullaby Audio (MIDI)

Brahms' Lullaby Piano sheet music

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