Valse Triste Op. 44 No. 1(1904)
Jean Sibelius (1865 – 1957)
Finnish composer Jean Sibelius supported the rise of Finland’s national identity, a sense of which inhabits much of Sibelius’s music. In 1901 he was asked by his brother-in-law, playwright Arvid Järnfelt, to write the incidental music for his play Kuolema (Death). Although the play was a failure, Sibelius salvaged some of the music, including Valse Triste (Sad Waltz). This slow waltz accompanied a scene in which the dying mother awakes, and in her long white nightgown starts dancing a waltz. She is joined by imaginary visionary couples who gradually appear, only to suddenly vanish when there is a knock on the door. Death stands on the threshold.
Performed: 6 & 13 Sep 2015