The Lullaby Project was initiated by singer Cornelius Hauptmann, Southwest German Radio-2, and Carus-Verlag, serving both as a charitable fundraiser and as a way to bring Germany's rich repertoire of lullabies to the attention of a broader public, with 120 performers contributing their services. Wiegenlieder, Vol. 1, features 26 lullabies sung by 27 vocalists and two ensembles. The soloists are mostly well-known opera and lieder singers, including Christoph Prégardien, Peter Schreier, Jonas Kaufmann, Kurt Moll, Angelika Kirchschlager, Roman Trekel, and Klaus Mertens, and the groups are the Calmus Ensemble and SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart. A number of very fine, less familiar singers, including two children, are included. The modest accompaniments are provided by piano, except for the a cappella tracks and two selections accompanied by guitar or theorbo. There are several duets, including a folk song with Jonas Kaufmann and his wife, mezzo-soprano Margarete Joswig, the Evening Prayer from Hansel und Gretel with Sibylla Rubens and Ingeborg Danz, and a song with tenor Christian Elsner and his nine-year-old daughter Paulina, accompanied by his eleven-year-old son Leonhard. The lullabies are consistently peaceful and understated and could in fact be used to lull a child to sleep, or just to instill a sense of calm and comfort. They include German lieder by composers such as Mendelssohn, Brahms, Schumann, Reger, Reinecke, Rheinberger, and Schreker, and German folk songs, plus one Yiddish song. The vocalists sing with warm, lovely tone and with self-effacing modesty and sincerity, never drawing attention away from the music itself or its purpose, and the accompanists match the simplicity of their delivery. Only the final track with SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart gets too loud to be soothing. Carus' sound is warm and intimate.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Eddins
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