On Saturday afternoon, Ashley and I welcomed Luca Anthony Priano into the world!  It has been a surreal experience and I’m glad that we over-prepared for his arrival (which resulted in being about as prepared as we could be but still unprepared).  Everything that we read early on told us that the mother would develop a connection to the baby much easier than the father throughout the pregnancy.  I knew that it was my responsibility to develop a connection to the baby in my own way and naturally, I did this through a song.  It did not take long for me to settle on a text: Lullaby, Oh, Lullaby! by Christina Rossetti.  This text had the simplicity and imagery that I wanted for the lullaby that I would write for my child.

Lullaby, oh, lullaby!
Flowers are closed and lambs are sleeping;
Lullaby, oh, lullaby!
Stars are up, the moon is peeping;
Lullaby, oh, lullaby!
While the birds are silence keeping,
(Lullaby, oh, lullaby!)
Sleep, my baby, fall a-sleeping,
Lullaby, oh, lullaby!

On an evening in June, we were cleaning the house for a friend to come over.  As usual, I selected this “convenient” moment to sit down and find inspiration.  I began improvising in E-major (couldn’t do it in B or G because we didn’t find out the gender until he was born!) and quickly stumbled onto a simple melodic line.  My vision for the piece always revolved around a singable melody reminiscent of a mother singing to her child.  The complexity would be built into the harmonies but this melody would allow the overall tone of the piece to reflect the simplicity of a lullaby.  The obvious choice for the time signature was 3/4 since all great lullabies are in 3 (with the exception of Billy Joel’s “Goodnight, My Angel”).  From there, I added my own harmonic blend to the chord structure and began voicing it for SATB a cappella.

Once I started playing, the piece wrote itself.  Our guest arrived but I couldn’t interrupt the inspiration.  As my wife and her friend Elissa might recall, there were barely any s’mores left when I finally walked up to the bonfire to say hello a few hours later. I’ve learned that it is sometimes necessary to sacrifice things like hanging out with friends in order to create something as meaningful as this piece for my beautiful baby boy.  It was one of those rare circumstances where I was able to write an entire piece in one sitting, which is usually what happens when it comes straight from the heart.

My next post will provide some analysis into the structure and meaning of the piece.  For now, I will leave you with a picture of an adorable sleeping baby on his way home from the hospital!  What is the most meaningful piece that you have ever performed?  Comment below!

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