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Carnegie Hall 125th Anniversary: Weill Institute's Music Connections - Lullaby Project

By Logan K. Young l.young@classicalite.com on Nov 28, 2015 12:58 AM EST

Commissioned for the birth of Bertha Faber's second son, with Clara Schumann at the piano, Brahms' "Lullaby" was first heard some 150 years ago. Absent that night in Vienna, you'll still recall its gentle, E-flat waltz from your own childhood.

Likewise, you weren't there last April for the world premiere of "Sweet Like Honey Buns." But that's just because its funky, electric guitar-led hook, care of composer Daniel Levy and a young mother named Vetaya, was first performed at Rikers Island.

The end result of Carnegie Hall's Lullaby Project, songs like "Honey Buns," LaToria's "Mommy's Boys, Mommy's Blessing" and "Sleep Under the Willow" by Sarah (institutions like prisons and hospitals prefer first names only) are all part of a precious process, intent on helping at-risk women, and often their partners, bond with their babies.

Thriving, too, in free clinics and homeless shelters across New York, this short-term initiative of the Weill Institute's Music Connections program--a series of projects, performances and residencies across juvenile, adult and veterans settings--pairs mothers with musicians for three creative interactions: composition, recording, performance.

After that double barline, each mother receives a CD of the lullaby she co-wrote. For many of these moms, it numbers first among their scant possessions.

With nearly 250 lullabies now streaming via Carnegie's SoundCloud page, though, the project's reach has extended far beyond 7th Avenue. From Maine to Washington state, several entries have ended up fully orchestrated, offered on free Mother's Day concerts to the community at large.

Each and every one a lullaby, of course, regardless of meter or key.

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TagsCarnegie Hall, Brahms, Clara Schumann, Weill Recital Hall, SoundCloud, Lullaby Project