MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

In German, it's wiegenlied; in French, berceuse; in Norwegian, vuggevise. In any language, the universal effect of what we know as the lullaby is, of course, to coax a baby to sleep.

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BLOCK: Violinist Rachel Barton Pine had her own infant daughter in mind when she decided to record an album of lullabies. That's her baby on the cover, all folded up fast asleep, so tiny she just about fits in her dad's hands.

RACHEL BARTON PINE: When I wanted to make sure that I was really capturing the right flavor, I just thought of my daughter in the recording studio and that sort of made me feel the music in the right way every time.

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BLOCK: Rachel Barton Pine describes herself as a sheet music geek and from her collection, she narrowed it down to 25 lullabies from composers including the biggies - Brahms, Schubert, Schumann - but also surprises.

PINE: There are some composers here who are known but lesser known and then there are composers who are absolutely completely obscure, like who had ever heard of Antsev and Rebikov and Schwab?

BLOCK: I had not heard of Schwab, in fact, Ludwig Schwab, and this is his Scottish lullaby.

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PINE: This is my own imagination, but I really categorize them as some of them are about lulling the baby to sleep and some of them are about describing the baby who is sleeping. And some of them might even be describing a dream itself. And that's also how I chose which mute to use, the little special things that sit on top of the bridge to give the tone quality of the violin an even more covered, more delicate and impressionistic sound.

BLOCK: Let's listen to one of the lullabies that uses the mute that you call the mysterious mute and this is a lullaby from the Armenian-American composer Alan Hovhaness.

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BLOCK: And this piece, to me, has really a spooky sound.

PINE: Absolutely. Well, it kind of makes you think about how, you know, dreams are something that we still don't fully understand. It's like entering into this magical otherworld.

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PINE: It's like you're watching the sleeping baby, thinking, you know, where are they? Where have they gone? What are they doing in their dream?

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BLOCK: I'm talking with violinist Rachel Barton Pine about her album of violin lullabies.

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BLOCK: This is the lullaby by the Belgian violinist and composer Eugene Ysaye, written for his son, called "Child's Dream."

PINE: Yeah. So, Ysaye was actually the teacher of the teacher of my teacher. So he's my great grand-teacher and I've always loved his music. I asked the program writer to dig up a little bit of information about each of the composer's family life and I was very discouraged to find out that Ysaye was a jerk who cheated on his wife. But, in fact, the story of this (foreign language spoken) "Child's Dream" is very touching because he was off on tour and he was missing his new baby boy.

And so he wrote this piece thinking of his son whom he had left behind back home.

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BLOCK: Well, Rachel Barton Pine, it's great to talk to you. Thank you so much.

PINE: Thank you.

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BLOCK: And you can hear other selections from Rachel Barton Pine's violin lullabies at NPRMusic.org.

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