Johannes Brahms' Wiegenlied ("Guten Abend, gute Nacht"), frequently referred to in English as Brahms's Lullaby or Cradle Song, is the composer's Op. 49, No. 4, originally written for voice and piano, published in 1868.
Composition and premiere
The Lullaby was dedicated to Brahms's friend, Bertha Faber, on the occasion of the birth of her second son. Brahms had been in love with her in her youth and constructed the melody of the "Wiegenlied" to suggest, as a hidden counter-melody, a song she used to sing to him. The lullaby was first performed in public on 22 December 1869 in Vienna by Louise Dustmann (singer) and Clara Schumann (piano).
The lyrics of the first verse are from the collection of German folk poems, Des Knaben Wunderhorn and the second stanza was written by Georg Scherer (1824–1909) in 1849.
Guten Abend, gut' Nacht,
mit Rosen bedacht,
mit Näglein besteckt,
schlupf unter die Deck':
Morgen früh, wenn Gott will,
wirst du wieder geweckt.
Guten Abend, gut' Nacht,
von Englein bewacht,
die zeigen im Traum
dir Christkindleins Baum:
schlaf nun selig und süss,
schau im Traum 's Paradies.
Good evening, good night,
With roses covered,
With cloves adorned,
Slip under the covers.
Tomorrow morning, if God wills,
you will wake once again.
Good evening, good night.
By angels watched,
Who show you in your dream
the Christ-child's tree.
Sleep now blissfully and sweetly,
see the paradise in your dream.
In 1922, Australian pianist and composer Percy Grainger arranged the Wiegenlied as one of his "Free Settings of Favorite Melodies" for solo piano. This study was characterized by much use of suspensions and arpeggiation, with the first statement of the melody placed in the tenor range of the keyboard. This last practice was a favorite one of Grainger.
Wendy Cope's poem "Brahms Cradle Song" refers to this song.
- 1937 Elisabeth Schumann (soprano) with orchestral accompaniment on Romophone, re-issued on Naxos Historical.
- 1941 Bing Crosby – recorded May 23, 1941, with John Scott Trotter and his Orchestra.
- 1944 Frank Sinatra – recorded December 3, 1944, with Axel Stordahl and his Orchestra.
- 1947 Lotte Lehmann (soprano) on RCA Victor.
- 1953 Rosemary Clooney – recorded February 3, 1953, with The Percy Faith Orchestra, as "Close Your Eyes".
- 1958 Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone) and Gerald Moore (piano) on Orfeo C140201.
- 1958 Joni James – recorded for her album Among My Souvenirs.
- 1962 Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (soprano) and Gerald Moore on Testament Records (UK) 1206.
- 1973 Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Wolfgang Sawallisch (piano) on EMI Classics ASIN: B000005GQ9.
- 1978 Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Daniel Barenboim (piano) on Deutsche Grammophon.
- 1989 Anne Sofie von Otter (mezzo-soprano) and Bengt Forsberg (piano) on Deutsche Grammophon 429727.
- 1994 Kenny G – recorded as instrumental "Brahms Lullaby" for his album Miracles: The Holiday Album.
- 2013 Bernarda Fink (mezzo-soprano) and Roger Vignoles (piano).
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- Opus 49, Fünf Lieder für eine Singstimme und Klavier
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- Guten Abend, gute Nacht on IMDb
- Family Values by Wendy Cope – review, The Guardian, 23 April 2011, accessed 3 November 2018.
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