The composer talks about his new piano trio that sounds far from soporific.

My second piano trio A Book of Lullabiesbegan life as a song for mother and child, a setting of a well-known folk tune from Tokyo, known as Lullaby in Edo(Edo eventually grew into modern Tokyo), for a young Japanese friend, Tomoe Kawabata-Ito, who had recently been blessed with a lovely little boy. Contemplating its haunting simplicity gave me great pleasure, so I kept writing, selecting six further lullaby-like melodies from around the world. Soon, I had a virtual ‘lullaby odyssey’ that began in Australia with the indigenous Maranoa Lullaby, made famous by the extraordinary aboriginal tenor Harold Blair, followed by Lullaby in Edo, then Nina Bobokfrom Indonesia, Kun Mun Kultani Tulisifrom the epic Finnish poetic collection, the Kanteletar, The Skye Boat Songfrom the Scottish Highlands (the ancestral home of clan Munro), Iesus Ahatonnia, otherwise known as The Huron Carolfrom North America and the Zulu lullaby Thula Mama.

Each of the songs tells a fascinating story, and more than one involves an expression of great sorrow and pain. The author of the Huron Carol, for example, was a Jesuit missionary, Jean...

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