Music for Sleep is among the very earliest stage works by Birtwistle, composed when he taught music at schools in Wiltshire and Dorset.The performing notes say that Music for Sleep was designed to be played and sung by children. Choices are offered among wind instruments, but instructions for Percussion instruments are very specific. It is a poetically evocative work in which Birtwistle is already playing with formal structures.The lullabye texts are extremely varied. Cradle Song uses text from the 16th century poet brothers James, John and Robert Wedderburn. Lullabye on a Ground was written by poet A P Graves, father of poet and classicist Robert Graves. Nocturne was written by Wordsworth.