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It only seems fitting that the daughter of internationally renowned violinist Rachel Barton Pine would love listening to the instrument. Now babies around the world can fall asleep to the soothing sound of classical violin music.
Whenever 19-month-old Sylvia Michelle Pine hears her mother’s instrument she says “violin — mama.”
“It’s got an extra special association for my particular baby,” said Pine, famed Chicago violinist who will perform with the Illinois Valley Symphony Orchestra at 4 p.m. Saturday at Ottawa Township High School.
Pine, who has released more than 20 albums, including CDs of heavy metal violin music, has added a softer selection to her collection — a CD of instrumental lullabies recorded with pianist Matthew Hagle.
“After my daughter was born I really wanted to play some classical lullabies for her on the violin,” Pine said. “She would be nursing and I would be going on the Internet looking for lullabies.”
She ended up finding 150 classical lullabies from various parts of the world, then set about the task of narrowing it down to 25.
“There turned out to be so many gorgeous ones,” Pine said, admitting that the selection basically came down to how she felt when she made the decisions. “I also wanted to make sure there was enough stylistic variety,” she added.
Some of the lullabies are “warm and soothing,” Pine said, while others are “delicate and dreamy almost as if they’re describing the sleeping baby.” Pine described a third type of lullaby as “mysterious, creating a dreamscape.”
The CD includes famous composers as well as obscure pieces, Pine said, describing music in the lullaby genre as “simple, beautiful, short, soft and slow.”
The most well-known work on the album is Brahms’ Lullaby, which Pine recorded for her first music video and posted on YouTube for her fans.
If she had to choose a favorite from the CD, that would be it. Not only does it have childhood associations for her, but the instrument she uses is a 1742 violin that belonged to Marie Soldat and was selected for Soldat by Brahms.
“To be able to play Brahms’ Lullaby on a violin whose voice Brahms himself selected is pretty amazing,” she said.
Absent from the CD are traditional lullabies such as “Rock-a-Bye Baby.” Pine said there are plenty of synthesized children’s albums already, and she wanted to focus on classical music.
“I think that it’s so important for every child to have classical music in their life,” she said.
Most of the lullabies Pine selected were written for the violin, but three were originally vocal pieces that had historic arrangements for the violin. They include Brahms’ Lullaby, Schubert’s “Cradle Song” and Gershwin’s “Summertime.” The CD insert includes information about the composers’ inspiration, which for some was a child — either their own or a friend’s.
“I think also there’s somewhat of a sense of the reminiscence of one’s own childhood (in a lullaby),” Pine said. “Some of the composers certainly had that in mind.”
So do the lullabies put Pine’s 19-month-old daughter Sylvia to sleep? “Oh, definitely. But I have to admit, more often I sing to her, as any mother would.”
Pine added the lullabies are meant for audiences of all ages.
“I really think that these are pieces that are not just music for babies,” she said. “Everybody needs some pretty music to relax to from time to time.”