10 beautiful pieces of classical music for Mother’s Day

8 March 2024, 15:53

10 beautiful pieces of classical music for Mother’s Day
10 beautiful pieces of classical music for Mother’s Day. Picture: Alamy
Classic FM

By Classic FM

Whether it’s a gentle tribute or a song from a mother to her child, we explore some of the best pieces of classical music that capture motherhood.

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What’s the best classical music for Mother’s Day?

From lullabies to symphonies, here are some of the most beautiful pieces of classical music written with mothers in mind, to celebrate the maternal figure in your life.

Read more: 10 most beautiful and calming pieces of classical music for babies

  1. Antonin Dvořák – Songs My Mother Taught Me

    This beautiful little song features a slightly sad rhyme about a mother who often cried (‘Seldom from her eyelids were the teardrops banished’) but still passed her songs onto her children.

    Camille Thomas – Dvorák: Songs My Mother Taught Me (at Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle)

  2. Robert Schumann – Frauenliebe und Lieben

    Translating as ‘a woman’s love and life’, this song cycle from Robert Schumann details the whole life of a woman as she meets her suitor and has children of her own.

    Schumann: Frauenliebe und -leben Op. 42 - 1. Seit ich ihn gesehen

  3. Johannes Brahms – Lullaby

    Perhaps the most recognisable piece associated with mothers, this gentle little piece by Brahms has been soothing babies to sleep for hundreds of years now.

    Yo-Yo Ma, Kathryn Stott - Lullaby (Brahms)

  4. Rebecca Dale – Requiem for My Mother

    Rebecca Dale became the first female composer to sign to Decca in 2018 and later that year her debut album was released on the label. The centrepiece of the recording was her Materna Requiem – Requiem for My Mother. The work is a tribute to the composer’s mother, who died in 2010. Rebecca said her work “uses melodies I wrote when I was a child – so you could say I’ve been working on it for most of my life!”

    Read more: 21 of the greatest women composers in classical music

    Rebecca Dale - Kyrie (Requiem For My Mother)

  5. Edvard Grieg – Grandmother’s Minuet

    It may be Mother’s Day, but don’t forget Grandma. Grieg certainly didn’t with this piano piece. It’s unclear whether it was written for his grandmother in particular, but regardless of its dedicatee, it’s a jaunty, charming piece.

    Grandmother´s Minuet, Op. 68 No. 2 by Edvard Grieg - Magdalena Haubs

  6. Amy Beach – Empress of the Night

    Amy Beach was a real pioneer for female composers in 19th and 20th century America. Her song ‘Empress of the Night’ was dedicated to her mother Clara Cheney and uses a text by her husband, Henry Beach. She went on to use the melody as the basis for the Scherzo of her Piano Concerto, which she wrote in 1899.

    Empress of Night Op.2, No.3 by Amy Beach

  7. John Tavener – Hymn to the Mother of God

    Written in memory of his own mother, Tavener’s ethereal choral work “speaks of the almost cosmic power attributed to the Mother of God by the Orthodox Church”.

    Hymn to the Mother of God (John Tavener)

  8. Leopold Mozart – Toy Symphony

    This jovial symphony, supposed to have been penned by Mozart’s dad, is full of child-like themes, with parts written for toy instruments, including toy trumpet, ratchet, bird calls (cuckoo, nightingale and quail), mark tree, triangle, drum and glockenspiel. A playful choice, for a playful parent.

    Leopold Mozart - Toy Symphony, G-major

  9. Richard Strauss – Muttertändelei

    A light-hearted, uplifting little tune for proud mums everywhere, this comic song sees a mother telling everyone just how precious her baby boy is. “Just look at my pretty child! With his golden tassels of hair, Blue eyes, red cheeks, Well, folks, do you have such a child? No, folks, you don’t!”

    3 Gesänge älterer deutscher Dichter, Op. 43: No. 2, Muttertändelei

  10. Gershwin – Summertime

    Any musical mother’s secret weapon, a lullaby is the perfect setting to soothe little ones to sleep. And nothing does it quite like ‘Summertime’ from Gershwin’s opera Porgy and Bess.

    Porgy and Bess: “Summertime”

Soothe your little one with Classic FM’s Baby Bedtime, our non-stop stream on Global Player. Just tell Alexa to ‘ask Global Player to play Classic FM’s Baby Bedtime’.