Peter Bloesch Listen

Holiday Pops Music ~
CHAMBER Orchestra & Chorus

“Sweet Baby, Sleep”

(An original setting of the George Wither poem of 1641)

See Description, Instrumentation, and Text Info at bottom of page.


SCORE SAMPLES (coming soon)

SCORING:  Soprano solo (or full soprano section)*, acc. by chamber orchestra**
* See the “Description” tab below for my comments on this.
** See the “Instrumentation” tab below.

AUDIENCE:  Suitable for a concert or church setting — DURATION:  ca. 3:30


DEDICATION:  For my mother, Ethel Bloesch, who used to sing to me the Vaughan Williams setting of this text.


NOTE:  This piece also exists in a version for soprano soloist (or full soprano section) accompanied by piano.

This is not your typical “lullaby”!

Rather than being a lullaby designed to soothe a child to sleep, my original setting of the George Wither poem seeks to portray the inner feelings of Mary, and thus is fervent and emotionally intense.

My piece features a flowing melody and sensitive orchestration.
It begins in B minor but ends in B major with an emotionally stirring coda played by the strings (featuring two solo cellists).

Note: This piece can be sung by a soprano soloist or by the entire soprano section. But when performing the chamber orchestra version (as opposed to the piano version), I recommend that the entire soprano section sing the melody, since this full-bodied sound blends well with the chamber orchestra.

CHOIR:  Soprano soloist (or full soprano section)

WOODWINDS:  1 Flute, 1 Oboe, 1 Clarinet in Bb, 1 Bassoon

BRASS:  1 Horn

PERCUSSION:  1 percussionist on the following instruments:  Glockenspiel, Triangle

HARP:  1 Harp

STRINGS:  4,4,2,2,1, but the violins could be reduced to 3,3 or even 2,2

Sweet Baby, Sleep

Words by George Wither, 1641

Complete text:

Sweet baby, sleep! What ails my dear?
What ails my darling thus to cry?
Be still, my child, and lend thine ear,
To hear me sing thy lullaby.

      My pretty lamb, forbear to weep!
      Be still, my dear. Sweet baby, sleep!

When with us God was dwelling here,
In little babes He took delight:
Such innocents as thou, my dear,
Are ever precious in His sight!

      My pretty lamb, forbear to weep!
      Be still, my dear. Sweet baby, sleep!

Dr. Margaret Mueller, music professor:

“What a beautiful Christmas lullaby Peter wrote! The haunting melody, the perfect accompaniment with its moody joy, the sincerity of expression superb! The piece has simple but beautiful dissonances throughout, and then a peaceful, affecting conclusion.”

— Dr. Margaret Mueller, former Professor of Organ at Salem College


Audience comments:

“It was a great pleasure to hear your composition, 'Sweet Baby, Sleep.' What an enchanting lullaby you’ve written so gentle and tuneful!”

*                 *                 *                 *                 *

“I enjoyed performing this piece on my recital. It was simple but moving and made a nice contrast to the other pieces on the program.”

— Comment from a soprano who performed the piece
(as a solo, with piano accompaniment)

Watch video below!