Beethoven’s Pathetique is one of his most recognizable piano sonatas, second perhaps only to the Moonlight. This movement, entitled “Adagio“, is serene and flowing, with a melody that sings beautifully but is not as simple as some of the other melodies Beethoven has composed, the Moonlight being a good contrast in this case with it’s static, slowly moving dreamlike contour.
Adagio means slowly or in a leisurely manner; this soothing movement is certainly meant to be played slowly, and is somewhat romantic and tender in its expressiveness.
For this lullaby version I have edited out the middle portion, as the forward motion and insistent triplets that dominate are less suited to a lullaby than the initial portion of this movement.
The arranger for Baby Lullaby Music has also included Adagio from Beethoven’s Pathetique Sonata on his wedding music project website – you can listen to it on this Wedding Preludes of Classic Beauty album, or you can hear short samples of this classical wedding piece and about 60 others on this Wedding Music Samples page.
I plan to record the ponderous opening of the first movement of this sonata along with the more energetic second movement for another project down the road; but for a lullaby project, Beethoven has created a wonderful baby sleep song with this movement of the Pathetique.
To be truthful, I don’t know how much babies and toddlers are aware of the differences in melodies, but it is my belief that the tenderness and soft playing here outweigh the melodic interest that might catch the ear of a budding young musician to be! Then again, if you have a musical prodigy on your hands, it may be that lullabies are not as sleep-inducing for him or her as they would be for other children. I have no basis in scientific study in this – I suppose it’s also possible that a more musically gifted child would find well written and performed lullabies more relaxing than another child might, but it might be politically incorrect to suggest that your child might be more musically gifted or inclined that the next. To that point, it’s interesting that one theory afoot for quite some time is that all babies are born with “perfect pitch”, the ability to instantly and infallibly determine what notes or chords are being played on an instrument, or sung… but it seems as usual I’m trotting happily down some bunny trail, so back to the main path.
Then again, the usefulness of a lullaby is not always just for inducing sleep, but sometimes to help create a calm demeanor in a child before bedtime or naptime, or to provide a relaxing backdrop for a special time with mom, grandma, dad, or another loving adult that is attending to the little one’s needs.
Click here to listen to this beautiful lullaby album with Adagio from the Pathetique and 10 other lullabies.