The other night, as my wife and I were trying to watch some television program that was not appropriate for children, we noticed my daughter sneaking down the stairs. She was upset because her lullaby CD was not working and she couldn’t sleep. There was a very good reason as to why her lullaby CD was not working, but he was already asleep in his bed and was unavailable for questioning. Though it is really not fair to blame the condition of my children’s compact discs on one person; both of those kids somehow seem to knock the stack over, scatter the discs around the room, and otherwise smudge, warp, and scratch the heck out of all their CDs. This disc had been on its last legs for a while now, and it had finally given up and out.
Then I remembered something! I have been in contact with some kids’ music P.R. people recently about doing some blog stuff, and they had just sent me a package that included a very cool looking book/CD combo called “Sleep Softly: Classical Lullabies by Brahms, Schubert, Satie, Debussy…” Now, I want to be very clear here. As much as I love ellipses, those are not from me. It actually has those three little dots at the end of the title on the cover of the book. Anyway, I jumped up and said “I have a new lullaby CD for you!” and I ran upstairs and put it on. They have been listening to it happily every night since.
So I am very grateful to have received this awesome item, not only because it puts my children gently to sleep, but also because of how cool it otherwise is. The CD is perfect for a Tenor Dad like me, as it starts out with the Barcarolle from Act 3 of Tales of Hoffmann, an opera that I have performed much of myself, and uses other operatic excerpts to not only lull my children into dreamland, but also to expose them to music that I hope they will come to treasure for the rest of their lives. Bizet. Massenet. Schubert. This song selection is truly excellent, and better than some of the other collections I have seen, where they try to shoehorn in some weird/loud/obscure pieces to fit their theme. Every piece of music on this CD is a keeper.
But! I haven’t even gotten to the book! My children were unable to read the book initially, because of how they were asleep, but now that they are awake again we can really dig into it. Each beautifully illustrated page includes a little bit about the piece of music that they are listening to. Talk about encouraging music appreciation! Hearing “Gute Nacht” from Winterreise is all well and good, but to be able to tell my children the story of the traveler leaving in the winter’s night and saying good night to someone who has betrayed him is wonderful! Each track comes with a page of story and picture, and I’m already having a good time exploring them with my kids.
So, long story short, my kids have a new lullaby CD and it is amazing. I get to watch TV. They get to learn about classical music and have nice dreams. If you want, you can check out more about it over on their site. And I know it says for ages 0-3, but my kids are 5 and 8, and they both love it, and I am 37 and am enjoying it as well, so take that recommendation with a grain of salt. Thanks for the package, marketing people! You’re a lifesaver.
P.S. – I forgot to mention that this was recorded in France, by a bunch of French people (L’Ensemble Agora, specifically), and illustrated by a French sounding person (Élodie Nouhen), which means that when I put the CD into iTunes, the info all came up in French and I had to manually change it to English, since I want this on my iPod for road trips and vacations. Not a big deal, but don’t be confused when your computer stops speaking your language temporarily. And parents, if you are not bringing your children’s favorite lullabies in the car with you every time you travel, you are insane. Just saying.