Breakfast Jams: Classical Music for Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all mothers, mother-like figures, and the children who love them! 

Composers have been inspired by mothers throughout the years and have written some pretty amazing pieces. We'll listen to two of those compositions today, both by the composer, Richard Strauss. 

The first song we'll listen to, Muttertandelei, is written from the perspective of a new mother bragging about how wonderful her new baby is.

This song is: 

  • Light

  • Playful

  • Happy

The next song, Wiegenlied, is a lullaby a mother sings to her child. In contrast, this song is 

  • Lyrical

  • Sensitive

  • Introspective

Together these songs make the perfect background music for a Mother's Day breakfast or brunch. 


Richard Strauss lived from 1825 to 1899 and is one of the most well-known composers of the Romantic era. At the time that Strauss wrote this first song, Muttertandelei, he was the principal conductor of the Berlin court opera where he stayed very busy. 

One reason he might have been busy - besides the fact that he lead 75 performances in his first season (including Wagner's 15 hour Ring Cycle) - is that he and his wife, Pauline, had recently had a baby. Pauline was an excellent soprano and Strauss wrote songs for her to sing all the time. 

Strauss liked to program these two songs together - Muttertandelei and Wiegenlied - for Pauline to sing. 

Let's listen: 


Here is the text to Muttertandelei. Listen and follow along. 

Just look at my beautiful child,
With long, golden locks,
Blue eyes and rosy cheeks
People, do you also have one like it? People, no you have not!

Just look at my beautiful child,
Plump as a plump snail,
sweet as a sugar treat
People do you also have one like it? People, no you have not!

Just look at my sweet child,
Not too sullen, not too picky.
Always friendly, always glad.
People do you also have one like it? People, no you have not! 

Just look at my good child!
No beastly brat
Would love his mother so well.
People would you want to have one like it? Well you shall not have mine!

If a merchant were to come, 
Counting out a thousand coins -
All the coins in the world! 
He surely would not have mine - he can buy someone else's.

These lyrics make me laugh. If you listen to the song you'll hear the playful words shine through, even though its in a different language. 


"Wiegenlied" translates to lullaby. You'll notice that this song sounds much calmer in comparison to Muttertandelei. 

Here are the lyrics: 

Dream, dream, my sweet life, 
of the heaven that brings flowers. 
Shimmering there are blossoms that live on
the song that your mother is singing.

Dream, dream, bud of my worries,
of the day the flower bloomed;
of the bright morning of blossoming,
when your little soul opened up to the world.

Muttertandelei: Let's Write a Poem

Notice how almost every stanza (group of words) in Muttertandelei ended with "People do you also have one like it? People no you have not!". 

Let's write our own poem about our moms or another woman who takes care of us.

Use this worksheet to help you. When you're done, read it to your mom. She'll love it!