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Sleep My Child

Sleep My Child is a piece from my work for music theater Paradise Lost: Shadows and Wings. In the show it appears midway through Act II and is performed by three angels – two sopranos and a mezzo. For years the American choir Chanticleer and I have been looking for something on which we could collaborate, and an arrangement of Sleep My Child was the project we finally settled upon. Chanticleer is an all-male group (12 men), but they insisted that I write it ‘pure SATB’. The purity of tone that the ensemble (and especially those legendary male sopranos) brought to the music matched perfectly with the delicate, ethereal sounds I had in my head. What a thrill it has been to write for them; I can only hope it will be the first of many collaborations.

Sleep My Child

When you dream of Paradise, and the paradise it brings, Remember: O, your heart is full of wings. Remember to listen for the lark, and sleep. You’ll awaken tomorrow and spread your wings, And you’ll grow, come to know all the shadows and joy that it brings, When your heart aches, my heart aches and this is the song it sings: Ah! Ah! In your dreams you’re not alone, Though mother’s child has flown, And if the night that follows should be dark Just listen for the lark, and sleep my child. I can see in your eyes that the day is long, And the pain and the rain and the wind make you feel that you’re wrong, Out of sorrow tomorrow will bring you a brighter song: Ah! Ah! In your dreams you’re not alone, Though mother’s child has flown, And if the night that follows should be dark Just listen for the lark, and sleep my child. Sleep my child. Sleep my child And dream. David Norona & Eric Whitacre

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  • Brad Sampson

    Is this sheet music yet available for purchase? I can't seem to find it online.

  • Joachim Cassel

    I noticed you only had an excerpt of this from the NYCGB rehearsal at Southwark. I have a recording of when we performed it in the concert if you want a full version with no children crying in the background?

    Hope all is well. Looking forward to seeing you again when you come to Cambridge later in the year.

  • j taylor

    Hila's voice is sooooo beautiful!

  • Wesley Hotzfeld

    Ha. I appreciate the nod to "Sleep" in line 4 of the SATB version. Clever clever clever, you are.

    • Miggy Torres

      Haha, yeah. That was beast.

      • Jose Clavell

        Eric Whitacre is amazing at intertwining his own motifs and phrases from one piece to another and making these into new pieces of art! He's truly an inspiration to all new composers and to the new generation of choral conductors!

  • Suzi Rozga

    When did Chanticleer perform this (if they have already)? I'd love to hear them sing it :)

  • Hayley

    I first heard this piece at a Chanticleer performance at Brevard College on Thursday, March 26, 2009 when I was a junior in high school. I had already fallen in love with "Lux Aurumque" and "When David Heard", so you can imagine how excited I was to hear yet another Whitacre work that I just knew would be beautiful. But to hear something like this for the first time…performed by Chanticleer…it was an experience like no other. I cried for almost the entire duration of the piece; and I sat in complete silence for the whole 90 minute trip home, thinking about what beauty I had just witnessed.

    I searched the internet for what seems like hours, trying to find a recording of "Sleep, My Child." But I haven't heard that piece again until today. Oh the memories music can bring back.

  • T Allison

    This is absolutely one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard. Is it on any CD that is available for purchase? If not, are there any plans for it to be released for purchase?

  • Zshael

    I'm in love with this song! I am singing this for chior, it will be sing in a cathedral. It gives off the most beautiful sound you could ever imagine. I'm looking forward to this event. Eric you are a mastermind of music! This is my favorite song of all time. would you have any hints on how to sing this piece so that our tone could be as beautiful as we would like it in the cathedral?

    Thanks for all the beautiful music. i love it.

  • Mike

    The nod to sleep makes my spine tingle and my skin crawl for reasons I can't explain. I love this piece so much.

  • Erin

    wow. just wow. I happened upon this song by chance when I needed it most. Thank you. I love your use of dissonance. I myself try to write music with dissonance, yet still have it be beautiful, and that sir, is what you have accomplished. amazing.

  • Jentry

    Breath-taking and beautiful, as always.

  • Jacob Moreno

    I heard the SATB version and noticed a part that sounds like the end of your song ” Sleep”….. I waited a few seconds to let it sink in. (Mind Blown) Haha I love everything you do Eric. It’s just absolutely amazing.

    • Eric

      THANKS YOU, Jakob.

  • Sarah

    First time hearing this, absolutely beautiful.

  • Brian Gruenewald

    Hey Eric!

    If you read my comment on “Leonardo Dreams Of His Flying Machine”, I’d like to add this piece to my “list” of songs that saved my life.
    This is a reminder to me that I’m never alone (never was or ever will be). If days are dark, the sun always rises in the morning, meaning the morrow will be brighter and more beautiful than the day before. It also reminds me that God loves me, that He’s in everything I see, and wants me to be happy. This world can be paradise, and because of you, Eric, this world can be a paradise for me! Thank you so much!

    I can’t wait to see the VC4 video! :D

  • Jay Nelsestuen

    Great song, lovely melody and great harmonies to go along with it. It is too bad that I had no idea who you were when both productions of Paradise Lost were going on… In ’07 I was 9 years old and was not yet a part of a choir, and in 2010 I was just starting to discover composers like yourself, Eric, and also Morten Lauridsen, Stephen Paulus, and Ola Gjeilo. Anyway, thank God for people like you to brighten our lives with such beautiful music! I’m so glad I found out who you were last year. :)


  • Stephen

    wow i love everything youve ever made Eric. I love how the ending of Sleep comes in here. Simply brilliant.