Beautiful Lullabies

Piano Trio at UNSW

I love lullabies. I have about half a dozen that I like to sing when looking after my niece and nephews. Even if the lullabies themselves don’t put the kids to sleep, the act of singing settles my own nerves as I deal with sleepy, irritable children.

I’m looking forward the Sydney Coffee Concert at the Independent Theatre on Tuesday 20 May, where I’ll hear Ian Munro’s latest piano trio, Book of Lullabies, a setting of seven lullabies and lullaby-like songs from around the world. Some of the melodies are known to me, such as the Maranoa Lullaby, which I first sang in my primary school choir, and have since heard in a wide variety of settings. (I love the version by Peter Sculthorpe as recorded by Genevieve Lacey on her album Weaver of Fictions.) Others are new to me, and having heard a variety of Ian’s compositions in the past, I’m looking forward to hearing how he sets each one.

Ian writes “Over the years, I have often wondered what it is about great music that needn’t be complex to be profound, or difficult to be challenging, or obscure to be thought-provoking. So, in this work, I aimed to keep all of the materials simple, so as to reflect and stay true to the nature of the songs themselves, while suggesting the haunting aura of the eras and situations which gave rise to them.”

I’ve recently come across some studies suggesting that not only can lullabies act as a form of music therapy, they can also help with parent-child bonding and contribute to the development of a child’s language skills. I even know an ethnomusicologist who considers lullabies so important she runs workshops in hospitals to introduce new parents to the forgotten art of lullaby-singing.

Perhaps I’ll pick up some new melodies from Ian’s Trio to add to my repertoire.

Daina Kains
Operations Coordinator

Ian will perform his new work, Book of Lullabies, and Brahms Piano Trio no 3 in C minor, op 101 with the Piano Trio from Australia Ensemble @UNSW for Musica Viva’s Coffee Concert series at North Sydney’s Independent Theatre on Tuesday 20th May. For more information, and to book your tickets, please visit; 


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Welcome to Musica Viva’s International Concert Season blog. Here you can follow and read more about our wonderful touring artists.

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