German Romantic composer Johannes Brahms wrote his famous Lullaby in 1868, and it was first performed in public a year later, with Clara Schumann on piano. Brahms wrote the beautiful song for a friend who was having her second child. He had once been in love with her, and he wove into the melody a tune that she used to sing to him.
Since then, the song's legend has only grown. Everyone has covered it, from great opera singers to pop artists like Frank Sinatra and Jewel. The song is sung all over the world, with lyrics in countless languages.
The Brahms Lullaby has a special importance to Buffalo. For years, it has been tradition for Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo to play the Brahms Lullaby whenever a baby is born there.
Area musicians now have the chance to get in on this tradition -- and join the roster of artists who have performed this song in a new four-week search for a new take on the beloved melody. Musicians of all ages are invited to record and submit their rendition of Brahms’ Lullaby. A panel of music-minded Buffalonians, including the Goo Goo Dolls' Robby Takac, will review all submissions and select three finalists. The finalists will perform the lullaby in late September in front of an audience. The winning version will played to welcome babies into the world at the new Oishei Children’s Hospital opening this November.
Here's how to enter. Upload your audio or video of Brahms' Lullaby to childrenshospitallullaby.com by 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 15. Performance style is up to you. However, the hospital advises you to remember that the melody is intended to pacify newborns and their families.
"Technically, we are accepting any version of the lullaby (instrumental or vocal) – however, it needs to be the classic version of the Brahms," publicist Christine Denham said in an email. The hospital asks that entries not include original lyrics. "Since the music needs to be calm and peaceful and potentially played many, many times a day, we recommend submitting an instrumental version, possibly a vocal version with no words, i.e. humming."
The grand prize winner, whose audio recording will be featured in the new Oishei Children’s Hospital, will receive a cash prize of $1,500. The second-place finalist will receive two 2017-2018 season tickets to Shea’s Performing Arts Center, and the third-place finalist will have a choice between two season passes to Darien Lake or two Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra "Classics Power Pack" tickets.
For more information, including contest rules, please visit childrenshospitallullaby.com.