A Woman's Voice

HOPE’S BERCEUSE (lullaby), Opus 49, No.9 ~ November 17, 2011

Posted in MEMORY LANE by doloresayotte on November 17, 2011
Tags: , , , , ,



one, two-three – one, two-three – one, two-three 

The very meter of the lullaby slows the pulse, stills the heart, silences the chatter and gives a spirit pause. Elegant in the pure simplicity of its structure, the lullaby is a universal call to calm. An invocation of serenity that when engaged transports the pieces of us that crave security and cling to comfort.  The coo of a lullaby lowers a thin veil between the unrested and the places that surround – extending its invitation to breathe slow, to breathe deep, to release. 

My earliest recollection of music is lied Wiegenlied, better known in English as Cradle Song, composed by Johannes Brahms in E flat major. Written for his good friend’s second child, Brahms’ Cradle Song is embedded in the culture of childhood. It plays in music boxes, wind-up toys, tv commercials and ring-tones. It’s covered by pop artists, performed by symphonies and chamber ensembles and  sung softly by the ones who rock a young one in their arms. 

My youngest sister was born at the time of my  life when my interest in music was evolving from hobby to passion. My first gift to her was a classical arrangement of Wiegenlied. My original intent was to arrange a vocal accompaniment but as I moved through the piece the emotion of the music transcended lyrics. The words almost muted where the nuances of the music alone were taking me. Unbeknownst to me, my awkward, untrained process for divining my interpretation of this piece was creating my premiere classical arrangement. 

Annoyed when homework and household duties called me  away from my masterpiece, I carried the arrangement in the forefront of my thoughts. I envisioned fingerings, heard harmonies and progressions in my mind’s ear and quietly hummed the melody as I moved through my tasks. 

With thoughts of my new sibling as my muse, I couldn’t wait to return to my fledging arrangement.  The more I explored the piece, the more I felt it become part of me. The rise and fall of the, one, two-three, one, two-three. The delicate tones romanced out of my instrument with the bend of each string. The elegance in the simple structure. The exploration of the fret board, phrasing and fingering all left me craving completion. 

Each touch of a string sought to express the  tenderness and the depth of love I felt for a tiny person I had yet to meet, but who had already stretched my imagination and captured my heart. With my ear as my guide and my memory as my ledger, my masterpiece came to me.  When it was done I knew it. I knew it was mine. 

Johannes Brahms’ Wiegenlied  was the first piece of music that moved from my instrument to deep inside my soul. The experience of creating that rendition for my sister altered forever my relationship with music. In the many years that preceded those few days, my music went from my instrument out to whoever would listen. On that day and with that piece, the current of my music reversed. It became the energy that fed my soul, fired my passion and defined the language of my heart. 

I don’t know why that experience was so memorable and so profound for me. Perhaps it was the first time I used my music to express a love that surpassed the bounty of words. Perhaps it was as a simple as a natural progression that comes from the combination of practice and ingenuity. Perhaps it was because it was the first time I truly wanted my music to be received as a gift. I almost dare not wonder for fear of outing a logical explanation that would forever banish the magical moment in which music moved into the eternal piece of my being. 

In my mind’s eye, I can still see my baby sister swaddled in her crib. Her knees tucked under her tiny diapered butt. Fists relaxed by her red cheeks. Her long black eyelashes  curling off her closed lids. The coiffed row of  dark curls on top of her head and her bottom lip sucking comfort as she slept.  In a darkened room, with only the light of the cracked bathroom door to cast shadows on my sister’s slumber, I performed for her, my first masterpiece. I gave her the first gift genuinely born of the piece of me that is and has remained my true self. I wonder if she remembers? I know that I will never forget. 

In kind with the simple structure of a lullaby, my hope doesn’t need flare, trills and runs to move me in profound ways. With the delicate but deliberate bend in the thoughts that define my view, hope becomes a part my magical self that will outlast my physical shell. Each step I take in cadence with hope has the potential to be an experience that, thirty years later, is still worth talking about  with passion. Each moment thoughtfully phrased in the dynamic of hope’s promise, has the potential to become a gift to give from the most genuine place in my heart. Every path journeyed that seeks or follows the whimsical voice of a hopeful imagination leads to the place of bounty that becomes etched on the list of tomorrow’s counted blessings. 

– here’s to my beautiful baby sister and the babies she now rocks in her arms at night. Lullaby to them. Good night and sleep tight until the morning shines on your little souls, another day of promise. 

– here’s to hope

Thank you so much Hope for sharing such a heart warming story. All those years ago you created a masterpiece for your baby sister and today you have created one for us. Your article is music to our ears.




22 Responses to 'HOPE’S BERCEUSE (lullaby), Opus 49, No.9 ~ November 17, 2011'

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  1. gabixler said,

    I, too, am lulled by music and although I love the classics for listening, what I really feel comfortable with are hymns…For instance, I never “repeat” The 23rd Psalm…I always sing it…of course most of the time it is only in my head…but as a lullaby, hymns do it for me…every night!

    Great article!

    • hope_rising said,

      there are some hymns that I remember from my childhood that were very sweet and very comforting….

      At different times of my life what has given me comfort in sleep has changed. In high school I always fell asleep to The sound of Silence by Simon and Garfunkle.

      Recently I went through a long spell of the Moonlight Sonata….

      I think anything that brings you comfort in the night, that brings you peace … is a lullaby….

      I’m so glad you liked the article!

  2. Mary Haskett said,

    You have written a beautiful article about a beautiful suject. I love Brahms lullaby and learned to sing it in German many moons ago! There is a wealth of music that stirs my soul and I don’t know if I could even say I have a favourite piece When I became a Christian hymns and music of the church took a special place in my heart.

    • hope_rising said,

      Wow! I am very impressed that you sang that in German… it’s just a beautiful piece of music. I still play it often … and it continues to be able to calm my soul…

      thanks for the comment!

  3. Fred Ayotte said,

    It brings back many fond memories of when I use to rock my baby girls and listen to this melody. It was such a peaceful feeling. Thank you for refreshing my memory.

    • hope_rising said,

      you are most welcome…. I think this lullaby and happy birthday are probably the most recognizable tunes in our culture.

      I really liked your expression of peace when remembering your babies.

      thanks for the comment

  4. hope_rising said,


    Thanks so much for posting my little story. It’s one of my favorite memories. Right now that same sister is visiting me … and I’m pretty sure I’m going to play her lullaby for her… so it’s perfect timing for this to here today …

    Thanks so much for allowing me to be a part of A Woman’s Voice. I really enjoy this site. Some of the stories I read stick with me all day, make me think.

    • You are so welcome. It’s been my pleasure!

  5. Muriel Thompson said,

    I always remember your beautiful voice and your love of music. Your writings are so meaningful and fill me with wonder.

    • hope_rising said,

      thanks so much …. I’m so glad the words are reaching people… I know they are helping me soo much !

      what a difference hope makes!

  6. Jen said,

    What a beautiful loving memory. You are so blessed to have one another!

    • hope_rising said,

      We really are … I have been so blessed with awesome sisters… all 7 of them !

  7. Nora Watkins said,

    I remember your guitar making beautiful sounds along with your beautiful voice. I also remember laughter when you and Zig tried to sing together, but ended up laughing halfway through a song. Great memories….

    • hope_rising said,

      I know! Zig and I could not make a career of it! church giggles always take over … so funny!

      thanks so much for the note!

  8. Lorraine Gauthier said,

    What a beautiful writer you are!! Very enjoyable story, thanks for sharing it!!!

    • hope_rising said,

      Thanks Lorraine …. I’m so glad that you liked the writing …. I was very happy to share it!

  9. Shirley Sarafinchan said,

    Thank you Hope for sharing such special joys in your life, not only of music but of your sisters! I have four and I’m very fortunate to be able to share so many beautiful memories with alll of them. I too love this lullably and sang it so often to my children and my grandchlldren and hope one day I can do the same for my great grandchildren if I am to be blessed with such a great event!

    • hope_rising said,

      oooo … I so hope you get to sing it to your great grand children …. it is just such a beautiful piece… I just love it .. I’m so glad that you do too …

      I’m with you sister’s rock!

      thanks so much for the note …

  10. clare said,


    I loved your piece! You are a beautiful musician, singer and now writer! Wonderful story.


    • hope_rising said,

      oo baby! thanks so much .. thanks for stopping by this blog … click around I think you’ll really like it .. it’s part of my morning routine now!

      – here’s to hope!

  11. Eileen said,

    So beautiful! I too remember your beautiful guitar playing and how I wished I could be even half as good on my glockenspeil!Please keep sharing your inspiring work:)

    • hope_rising said,

      Thanks! You were so cute with that glockenspeil!

      I will keep sharing ! I promise!

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