Wiegenlied (Brahms)

Johannes Brahms, Wiegenlied

"Wiegenlied" ("Lullaby"; "Cradle Song"), Op. 49, No. 4, is a lied for voice and piano by Johannes Brahms which was first published in 1868. It is one of the composer's most popular pieces.


Brahms based the music of his "Wiegenlied" partially on "S'Is Anderscht", a duet by Alexander Baumann [de] published in the 1840s. The cradle song 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. Simrock published Brahms's Op. 49 in November 1868. The lullaby was first performed in public on 22 December 1869 in Vienna by Luise Dustmann (singer) and Clara Schumann (piano).


The song has been described as deceptively simple. In its original publication it only had a single verse.


The lyrics are from Des Knaben Wunderhorn, a collection of German folk poems:

Later,[when?] Brahms adapted a second verse from an 1849 poem by Georg Scherer [de]:


\relative g'
{\set Staff.midiInstrument = #"flute" \key es \major \time 3/4 \autoBeamOff
    \partial 4 g8 g | bes4. g8 g4 | bes r g8[_( bes)] | es4 d4. c8 | c4( bes) f8[_( g)] |aes4 f f8[_( g)] | aes4 r f8[_( aes)] | d[_( c)] bes4 d | es r es,8 es | es'2 c8 aes | bes2 g8 es | aes4 bes c | \appoggiatura g8 bes2 es,8 es | es'2 c8 aes | bes2 g8 es | \afterGrace aes4( { bes16[ aes]) } g4 f | es2 \bar "|."
\addlyrics {
Gu -- ten A -- bend, gut' Nacht,
mit Ro -- sen be -- dacht,
mit Näg -- lein be -- steckt,
schlupf un -- ter die Deck':
Mor -- gen früh, wenn Gott will,
wirst du wie -- der ge -- weckt,
mor -- gen früh, wenn Gott will,
wirst du wie -- der ge -- weckt.

In 1877, Brahms based the second theme of the first movement of his Second Symphony on the lullaby's tune. The melody is first introduced in bar 82 and continues to develop throughout the movement.[citation needed]


The "Wiegenlied" is one of Brahms's most popular songs.


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.

Cultural references

A 1936 biographical film of Brahms with Albert Florath as the composer, took its title from the opening lines of this song, Guten Abend, gute Nacht.

Wendy Cope's poem "Brahms Cradle Song" refers to this song.

Cultural interpretations

In an article published in 2005, Karen Bottge analysed Brahms's "Wiegenlied" as an expression of the maternal voice, basing her reflections on writings by theorists such as Friedrich Kittler, Michel Chion, Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari, and Theodor W. Adorno.


Recordings include:

Recordings of Brahms's "Wiegenlied"
Rec. Singer V. type Instr. I. type Cond. (arr.) Time Issuer Released
1915 Schumann-Heink, Ernestine contralto N.N. orchestra N.N. 2:06 Nimbus 1990-07
1935-02-26 Schumann, Elisabeth soprano Reeves, George piano 1:35 Naxos 2006-05
1937-03-11 N.N. orchestra Goehr, Walter 1:59
1941-05-23 Crosby, Bing vocals Trotter orchestra orchestra Trotter, John Scott 2:46 MCA 1993
1954-06-16 Cole Trio jazz trio Cole, Buddy 1:27
1941-11-12 Lehmann, Lotte soprano Ulanowsky, Paul piano 2:17 Eklipse 1993-07
1943-12-12 SFS orchestra Monteux, Pierre 2:07 Eklipse 1993-07
1947-12-22 N.N. orchestra Armbruster, Robert 2:43 Naxos 2007-11
1948-08-05 N.N. orchestra Ormandy, Eugene 3:12 Eklipse 1993-07
1950-02-12 Walter, Bruno piano 1:47 Eklipse 1995-09
1944-12-03 Sinatra, Frank vocals 35 instrumentalists orchestra Stordahl, Axel 3:06 Columbia 1993-10-05
1953-02-03 Clooney, Rosemary vocals Faith orchestra orchestra Faith, Percy 2:43 Columbia 1953-02
1979-11 Fischer-Dieskau, Dietrich baritone Barenboim, Daniel piano 1:24 DG 1983
2001-04 Lane, Piers piano (Grainger, Percy) 3:41 Hyperion 2002-06

This page was last updated at 2023-01-03 05:18 UTC. Update now. View original page.

All our content comes from Wikipedia and under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.


If mathematical, chemical, physical and other formulas are not displayed correctly on this page, please useFirefox or Safari