Rachel Barton Pine's Violin Lullabies finds new niche for classical violin

May 13, 2013

After her daughter was born, the classical violinist Rachel Barton Pine started looking into the range of Berceuse or lullabies written for violin.

Violinist Rachel Barton Pine performs 25 'cradle songs' with pianist Matthew Hagle on their new Cedille Records release Violin Lullabies.
Credit Cedille Records

During her research, Pine found over 150 of these ‘cradle songs’ written for solo violin. Confident that there was an audience for a recording of violin lullabies from composers as diverse as Gabriel Faure, George Gershwin and Amy Beach Pine started collecting.

From that trove of 150 classical lullabies Pine settled on 25 pieces. These pieces made the cut and are included on Violin Lullabies, the new CD from the Pine. She is accompanied on the recording by pianist Matthew Hagle.


In a recent interview with KBIA Pine mused about what she saw as an absence in the world of violin recordings:


I realized that nobody had ever before made an album of these lullabies for violin. and so many composers had written them I really thought there was something missing. I wanted to have available for parents and others to share with their children.


Berceuse, or cradle songs are compositions specifically written to either lull a child to sleep or facilitate dreaming. They are distinct from folk tunes sung by parents and other caregivers to their children. Pine’s new release features a wide range of works from the graceful intonations of Johannes Brahms Wiegenlied (Cradle Song) to Igor Stravinsky’s more arresting Berceuse (Lullaby). Pine explains that


...it's a slice of the violin repertoire that not the usual way we tend to play the violin. We pick up the instrument we think about playing with great passion, with intensity, with virtuosic flair. And these are pieces that are very simple, very intimate. Normally music for the violin tends to have calm moments but will be more emotionally wide ranging. As a violin geek I thought it was really fascinating to explore that area of the repertoire from a purely violinistic standpoint.

Listen for songs from Rachel Barton Pine’s new Cedille Records release Violin Lullabies weekdays between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. on KBIA.