Lullabies and Dances


Julianne Baird has delighted audiences around the world in her performances of early music compositions. The New York Times has described her performances as “impassioned, incisive, and creative,” and calls her “alive to expressive colors of words and to the endless possibilities of the smallest line of recitative.”

Ms. Baird's operatic experience includes Euridice in Monteverdi's Orfeo in London, the title role in Purcell's Dido in New York, and Hyacinthus in Mozart's Apollo et Hyacinthus in Philadelphia. Ms. Baird has also performed major roles in Handel's Ariodante, Pergolesi's La Serva Padrona, Handel's Il Pastor Fido, and Handel's Imeneo.

Among the many Handel oratorios Ms. Baird has performed are title roles in Acis and Galatea (Toronto), Semele (St. Paul Chambe Orchestra), Esther (Alice Tully Hall, New York), and Theodora Joshua, Alexander's Feast, and the Messiah (notably with the San Francisco Symphony). Ms. Baird has also appeared with orchestras including the New York Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta, the English Baroque Soloists/Monteverdi Choir under John Eliot Gardner, and the Brooklyn Philharmonic under Lukas Foss.

Through radio, television and numerous recordings, Ms. Baird has also received great exposure, often appearing on BBC Radio in England, National Public Radio in the United States, and in recital on CBC Radio in Canada. She was also seen on the CBS television movie I Leonardo. Ms. Baird's recorded discography currently numbers over thirty, highlighted by the critically acclaimed premiere recording of Handel's Imeneo, and recordings of Bach's B Minor Mass, St. John Passion, and Magnificat. She has recorded on such labels as Decca, Nonesuch, Vox, Heritage, Newport, Harmonia Mundi and Dorian.

Also very active in the academic side of her profession, Ms. Baird's credentials include B.A. and M.A. degrees from the Eastman School of Music, the Ph.D. in musicology from Stanford University, and studies at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria. Currently on the faculty of the Eastman School of Music, some of the institutions where Ms. Baird has also taught include Princeton University, New England Conservatory, and the University of Toronto.

Bill Crofut's international career has taken him to Carnegie Hall, the White House, the United Nations, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the Smithsonian Institute, Edinburgh International Festival, Hong Kong Arts Festival, numerous performances at Tanglewood and concerts in over fifty countries. He has performed with the Houston, Indianapolis, Detroit, Hartford, Portland and Cincinnati Symphonies, and has written a commission with Christopher Brubeck for the Houston Symphony. He has received a Presidential Citation in honor of his cultural exchange, and has served as White House Consultant on Cultural Affairs. His British television show “Simple Gifts” won the first place Jury Award from the San Francisco International Film Festival.

He worked as musical consultant for MGM on the movie “Brainstorm” and has written two books, “Troubadour” and “The Moon on the One Hand” which won the American Library Association Notable Book of the Year Award.

His television appearances include a one-hour special produced by WGBH Boston and PBS, the “Today” and “Tonight” shows and “Good Morning America.” Public Radio specials include “Words and Music Perhaps,” “A Righteous Peace,” “American Myth in Song,” “Prairie Home Companion,” and most recently, Andre Previn's “High Performance” program.

Bill Crofut has recorded for RCA, Columbia, Telarc, MGM, Folkways, Smithsonian, Pro Arte and Omega Records.

This is a recording of folk and classical music transcribed for folk instruments. The connection between folk and classical is sometimes direct, as in Brahms's arrangements of existing folk tunes, or in the folk-based chorale tune of Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring; but more often the connection is one of mood, as in the folk dance-like character of My Lady Carrie's Dompe or the two bourées from Bach's English Suite. In trying to decide what to put on this recording we relied primarily on instinct, a feel for a piece, and whether it would work in transcription for folk instruments; but beyond any intellectual justification was the overriding sense of playing music we love. While the common theme is lullabies and dances, we did get sidetracked occasionally, when we simply wanted to play a particular piece. And then there was coincidence. Julianne knew Senfl's Ach Elslein; I knew Die beiden Königskinder, Brahms's arrangement of the same melody. Someone said, “Why not do both? Just segue into the Brahms on the third verse.” We tried it, and it was so haunting—a wonderful spontaneous happening, which is after all what a great deal of creative music making is all about. For some songs, such as Fauré's Les Berceaux, Jim Cowdery wanted to make a string trio transcription of the piano part with muted banjo and guitar. As with most everything else on this recording, we didn't know whether it would work or not until we tried it. We arrived at this whole recording by trial and error, returning if necessary again and again to record new approaches, different transcriptions, and fresh ideas, and we kept going back until we were happy.

On most of these pieces you will be hearing a banjo, but you will be hearing a wide variety of sounds from it. I have spent the last fifteen years experimenting with different gauge strings, differing tension on the stretched membrane that covers the rim, and various mutes, mostly antique metal practice mutes—those that were invented to enable one to practice the violin without disturbing the neighbors, In pieces such as the first bourée of Bach's English Suite I have also used a capo, a little device which stops the strings to raise the overall pitch of the instrument, in this case a full octave above written pitch. For the second bourée I switched to a traditional country banjo played in bluegrass style without a mute.

Much of what makes this recording so special is the variety of musical backgrounds of the member of the Crofut consort. Jim Cowdery comes from a background of performance and scholarship in traditional Irish music. Joel Brown is not only a great classical guitar player, but also performs and records with his own rock band. Carver Blanchard has been resident lutenist at the Smithsonian Institution. And I have been singing folk songs for thirty years, having started out as a student of Pete Seeger. Most of the arrangements were created in rehearsal, each member of the group bringing his own background and musical vocabulary to bear on a particular question. Thus, with the exception of Jim Cowdery's cello and string trio arrangements, the final versions were arrived at through the pains and inefficiencies of a democratic process.

Special mention should be made of our producers, Joanna Nickrez and Marc Aubort. In a recording of this nature, where so much is innovative, an unusual responsibility falls on the producers. They were unrelenting in demanding proper balance, mixture of texture, and lovely sound. They thus became very much a part of the explorations in new sounds and ideas which make this recording unique.

Bill Crofut

Sandisfield, Massachusetts, USA

Can Ye Sew Cushions (Traditional Scottish)

O can ye sew cushions and can ye sew sheets,

And can ye sing ballulow when the bairn greets?*

And hie and baw, birdie, and hie and baw, lamb,

And hee and baw, birdie, my bonnie wee lamb.

*when the bairn greets = when the baby cries. Bal-lu-low, hie and baw, etc. = nonsense words for soothing the baby

The Christ Child's Lullaby (Traditional Scottish)

(V. 1 is in Scots Gaelic; v. 2 is the English translation.)

Mo ghaol, mo gradh, is m'eudail thu,

gur m'iunntas ur is m'eibhneas thu,

Mo mhaca alainn, ceutach thu,

cha'n fhiu mi fhein a bhi ad dhail.


My joy, my love, my darling thou,

my treasure new, my rapture thou,

My comely, beauteous baby now,

unworthy I to tend to thee.


Dandling Songs (Traditional Irish)

Dance for your daddy-o, dace for your mommy-o,

dance for your daddy-o, my own pretty child.

I'll buy my child a saucepan, I'll buy my child a spoon,

I'll buy my child a writing-desk and he will go to school.

Cucanandy, nandy, cucanandy-o…*

Throw him over, over, throw him o'er the sea,

throw him over, over, he'll be here today.

He didn't dance, `n' dance, `n' he didn't dance today,

he didn't dance, `n' dance, `n' no, nor yesterday.

Throw him up, up, throw him up high,

throw him up, up, `n' he'll be here by `n' by.

*cucanandy, etc. = nonsense words for dandling the baby

Nana (de Falla)

Dueermete niño, duerme

Duerme mi alma, duérmete

Lucerito de la manñana

Nanita, nana

Duérmete lucerito de la mañana

Sleep little one, sleep

Sleep my soul, sleep

Little light of the morning

Sing a little song

Sleep little light of the morning.

Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring (J.S. Bach)

Wohl mir, dass ich Jesum habe,

O wie feste halt' ich ihn,

Dass er mir mein Herze labe,

Wenn ich kran untraurig bin.

Jesum hab' ich, der mich liebet

Und sich mir zu eigen gibet;

Ach drum lass' ich Jesum nicht,

Wenn mir gleich mein Herze bricht.

Happy I who have my Saviour;

from Him never will I part,

He restores my drooping spirit,

be I sad and sick at heart.

Cares may vex and troubles grieve me,

yet will Jesus never leave me;

Him I never will forsake,

even tho' my heart should break.

Ach Elslein, liebes Elslein (Senfl)

Ach Elslein, liebes, Elselein mein,

Wie gern warich bei dir;

So sein zwei tie fe Was ser Wohl zwischen dir und mir,

So sein zwei tie fe Was ser Wohl zwischen dir und mir.

Das bringt mir gro Ben Schmerzen, Herz al ler liebster G'sell;

Redich von ganzem Herzen, Hab's fur groß Ungefall,

Redich von ganzem Herzen, Hab's fur groß Ungefall.

Die Beinden Königskinder (Brahms)

Ach lieb, das schrecket mich allein,

dass ich nicht fahren kann,

dass ich nicht fahren Kann,

und wenn dann brach das Schiffelein, musst ich bald untergehn,

und wenn dann brach des Schiffelein, musst ich bald untergehn.

O Elsa, my dear little Elsa,

I wish I were with you,

but two deep waters are between you and me,

but two deep waters are between you and me.

Will you let yourself be deterred

because there are two waters?

After all, many another proud boy goes through much trouble;

after all, many another proud boy goes through much trouble.

Ah, darling the only thing that frightens me

is that I can't row,

and if the boat were to break I would quickly sink,

and if the boat were to break I would quickly sink.

Sandmannchen (Brahms)

Die Blumelein sie schlafen schon langst im Mondenschein,

sie micken mit den Köpfen auf ihren Stengelein.

Es ruttelt sich der Blutenbaum, es sauselt wie im Traum:

Schlafe, schlafe, schlaf du, mein Kinderlein!

Vogelein sie sangen so suss im Sonnenschein,

sie sind zur Ruh gegangen in ihre Nestchen klein.

Das Heimchen in dem Ahrengrund, es tut allein sich kind:

Schlafe, schlafe, schlaf du, mein Kinderlein!

The Sandman

The little flowers have long been sleeping in the moonlight;

they nod their heads on their little stems.

The blossoming tree shakes and rustles dreamily:

Go to sleep, go to sleep, go to sleep, my child!

The little birds sang so sweetly in the sunlight;

they have gone to rest in their little nests.

The cricket in the grain field is the only creature making a sound;

Go to sleep, go to sleep, my child!

Wiegenlied (Strauss)

Träume, träume, du, mein süsses Leben,

Von dem Himmel, der die Blumen bringt.

Blüten schimmern da, die beben

Von dem Lied, das deine Mutter singt.

Träume, träume, Knospe meiner Sorgen,

Von dem Tage, da die Blume spross;

Von dem hellen Blütenmorgen,

Da dein Seelchen sich der Welt erschloss.

Träume, träume, Blüte meiner Liebe,

Von der stillen, von der heil'gen Nacht,

Da die Blume seiner Liebe Diese Welt zum Himmel mir gemacht.

Words: Richard Dehmel


Dream dear, dream dear, for the earth is darkening.

Dream of heaven and the flowers it brings.

Blossoms quiver there, while hearkening

To the song thy tender mother sings.

Dream dear, dream dear, ever since the dawning

Of the day that brought my blossom here,

Since that brightest happy morning,

Thy dear care is all my joy and fear.

Dream dear, dream dear, flower of my devotion,

Of that happy, of that holy night,

When the bud of his devotion,

Made my world as heaven through its light.

Ah, Vous Dirai-Je, Maman

Ah, vous dirai-je Maman

Ce qui cause mon tourment

Depuis que j'ai vu Sylvandre

Me regarder d'un air tender

Mon coeur dit a tout moment

Peut-on vivri sans amant.

Ah, shall I tell you, Mama

Wha't troubling me?

Since I saw Sylvandre

Look at me tenderly

My heart says at every moment

Can one live without a lover?

Da unten im Tale (Brahms)

Da unten im Talelauft's Wasser so trub

und I kan kir's nit sagen, I hab' di so lieb.

Sprichst allweil von Lieb', sprichst allweil von Treu'

und a bisse le Falschheit is au wohldabei!

Und wenn i dir's zehnmal sag', das i di lieb,

und du willst nit verstehen, muss i halt weiter gehn.

Fur die Zeit, wo do g'liebt mi has, dank i dir schon,

und i wunsch das dir's anderswo besser mag gehn.

Down in the valley there, the water in the river is troubled,

and I can't tell you how much I love you.

You always talk about love, you always talk about constancy,

but there's a bit of a falseness in you too!

And if I tell you ten times that I love you

and you refuse to understand, I'll just have to travel on.

I thank you kindly for the time that you loved me,

and I hope that things go better for you elsewhere.

Das Mädchen un der Tod (Brahms)

Es ging ein Maidlein zarte fruh in der Morgenstund

in einen Blumengarten, frisch, frohlich und gesund;

der Blumlein es viel brechen wollt,

daraus ein'n Kranz zu machen von Silber und von Gold.

Da kam herzubeschlichen ein gar erschrecklich Mann,

die Farb war ihm verblichen, kein Kleider hatt er an.

Er hat kein Fleisch, kein Blut, kein Haar,

es war an ihm verdorret, sein Fleisch und Flechsen gar.

O Tod, lass mich beim Leben, Nimm all mein Hausgesind!

mein Vater wird dirs geben, Wenn er mich lebend findt;

Ich bin sein einzig Tochterlein,

Er wurde mich nicht geben Um tansend Gulden fein.

Er nahm sie in der Mitten, Da sie am schwachsten war,

Es half an ihm kein Bitten, Er warf sie in das Gras,

Und ruhrte an ihr ungers Herz,

Da liehgt das Maidlein zarte Voll bittrer Angst und Schmerz.

A tender maiden, early in the morning,

went into a flower garden, young, happy and healthy;

she wanted to pick many flowers

in order to make a wreath from then, of silver and of gold.

There came slinking up to her a really frightening man;

his complexion was faded and he wore not clothes;

he had no flesh, no blood, no hair;

his flesh and sinews were all dried up.

O Death, let me live, take all my house servants!

My father will give them to you if he finds me alive;

I am his only daughter;

there lay the tender maiden, full of bitter anguish and pain.

Les Berceaux (Fauré)

Le long du quai, les grands vaisseaux,

Que la houle incline en silence,

Ne prennent pas garde aux berceaux

Que la main des femmes balance,

Mais viendra le jour des adieux

Car il faut que les femmes pleurent.

Et que les homes curieux

Tentent les horizons qui leurrent!

Et ce jour-là les grands vaisseaux,

Fuyant le port qui diminue,

Sentent leurs masse retenue

Par l'âme des lointains berceaux.

Words: Sully Prudhomme

Along the quays, the large ships,

Rocked silently by the surge

Do not heed the cradles

Which the hands of the women rock,

But the day of farewells will come,

For the women are bound to weep,

And the inquisitive men

Must dare the horizons that lure them!

And on that day the large ships,

Fleeing from the vanishing port,

feel their bulk held back

By the soul of the far away candles.

All the Pretty Little Horses (Traditional)

There is a lamby down in the meadow,

poor thing cries mammy,

the bees and the butterflies pecking at its eyes,

poor thing cries mammy.

Go to sleep, go to sleep,

go to sleep my little baby.

When you wake, you shall have

all the pretty little horses.

Blacks and bays, dapples and grays,

coach and six of little horses.

All Through the Night (Haydn)

Sleep my child and peace attend thee, all through the night.

Guardian angels God will send thee, all through the night.

Soft the drowsy hours are creeping, hill and dale in slumber sleeping,

I my loving vigil keeping, all through the night.


Carver Blanchard: guitar, 12-string guitar, lute; Joel Brown: guitar

Jim Cowdery: mandolin, pennywhistle, recorder; Bill Crofut: banjo, muted banjo, voice

Guest Artists

Lauren Cowdery: guitar, pennywhistle; Gary Fagin: bass, cello; Susan Follari: viola; Justin Kagin; cello; Loretta O'Sullivan: cello; Nancy Wilson: violin

String arrangements by Jim Cowdery

Recording Producer, Joanna Nickrenz

Recording Engineer, Marc Aubort

Executive Producer, Bill Crofut

Recorded at Rutgers Presbyterian church, New York City, 1989

Cover Art, Erika Crofut

Erika Crofut, resident of East Canaan, Connecticut, studied at Halifax College of Art and Design in Nova Scotia, The Cooper Union in New York City, and the Putney School in Putney, Vermont. A master of many forms, Ms. Crofut's drawings and prints have been exhibited at the Auburn Theological Seminary Gallery, the Spazie Fine Arts Gallery, the Welles Gallery and the Anna Leanowens Gallery. She has received commissions for her ceramics, furniture and stone carvings and is noted for her imaginative combination of color and texture to create functional art pieces evocative of the innocence of folk art.