April 14, 2014

L is for Lullaby

One of my fondest childhood memories is sitting in my mother's lap as she sang us to sleep. I know, most moms sing lullabies. But my mother took it to another level. You see, she truly could sing  and the hard stuff.

Let's put it this way  every Saturday morning, we would listen to the Metropolitan Opera broadcast, and she would sing along. Often, she would sound lots better than the soprano on the radio. For years, I was under the impression that all mothers sang like that.

Courtesy of Portland Opera
When she was in high school, my mom placed with high honors at the New York State Music Festival. One year she sang the "Bell Song" from Lakme taken down a third. The judges said she had a voice like an untapped gold mine — and led to her being offered a scholarship at Juilliard, which she turned down. Why? They wanted her to learn how to read music over the summer, and her mother didn't want her to go.

I always thought it was a tremendous waste that she didn't go for that opportunity, but as they say about the arts, "If you can be discouraged from pursuing singing (acting, dance, writing, violin, painting, etc.), you should be."

Back to the lullabies. Sure, she sang the usual Brahms and a few other standard kids things, but our favorite was when she sang the "Evening Prayer" (Abendsegen) from Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel. Here is a link to the lullaby: Evening Prayer from Hansel and Gretel

Good night.


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