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Sibelius, Jean Jean Sibelius

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Sibelius, Jean: Kuolema (Death), Incidental Music for Orchestra for Winds & Strings

Kuolema (Death), Incidental Music for Orchestra for Winds & Strings
Op. 44 No. 1
Jean Sibelius

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Composer :Jean SibeliusSibelius, Jean
Instrumentation :

Winds & String Orchestra

Style :


Arranger :
Publisher :
Jean SibeliusMagatagan, Mike (1960 - )
Date :1904
Copyright :Public Domain
Finland's Jean Sibelius is perhaps the most important composer associated with nationalism in music and one of the most influential in the development of the symphony and symphonic poem.

Sibelius was born in southern Finland, the second of three children. His physician father left the family bankrupt, owing to his financial extravagance, a trait that, along with heavy drinking, he would pass on to Jean. Jean showed talent on the violin and at age nine composed his first work for it, Rain Drops. In 1885 Sibelius entered the University of Helsinki to study law, but after only a year found himself drawn back to music. He took up composition studies with Martin Wegelius and violin with Mitrofan Wasiliev, then Hermann Csillag. During this time he also became a close friend of Busoni. Though Sibelius auditioned for the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, he would come to realize he was not suited to a career as a violinist.

During the early years of the twentieth century, Jean Sibelius' reputation outside his home country of Finland rested almost exclusively on the widespread fame of just a single piece: the "Valse Triste" from his incidental music to the play Kuolema (Death). Sibelius was keenly interested in the theater, and when asked in 1903 by his brother-in-law Arvid Järnefelt, the author of Kuolema, to supply some music to support the drama, he happily responded with six numbers scored for strings and percussion. Over the next few years, two pieces were extracted from the original six and published as Op. 44; two additional numbers, published as Op. 62, date from 1911.

"Valse Triste," a 1904 reworking of the first musical scene, has the dubious honor of being one of the most truly overplayed pieces in musical history; yet it is still rather easy to imagine the seductive, sparkling effect that this five-minute piece must have had on European coffee-house audiences of the day. The work, cast in the traditional three-part dance form, paints a striking picture. Paavali waits at the bed-side of his dying mother, who dreams of having gone to the ball. As Paavali goes to sleep himself, Death comes to take his mother, who, believing the figure to be her own dead husband, proceeds to dance the "Valse Triste" with him; the mother has expired by the time Paavali wakes up again. The interplay of melancholy, nostalgia, and resignation in the music of the outer two sections of this miniature tone-poem remains fresh even a hundred years after it first appeared; the middle portion, admittedly somewhat less outstanding, allows for some appropriately heated dance.

In 1906 Sibelius recomposed the third and fourth musical scenes into a single number, called "Scen med tranor" (Scene with Cranes) and published as Op. 44/2. For the new version Sibelius augmented the original string ensemble with two clarinets and thoroughly rewrote much of the musical material. The result is a tender portrayal of the bird-life that Sibelius loved so dearly and was so deeply influenced by in later works.

The two numbers published as Op. 62 were not put together until almost a decade after the original composition of the Kuolema music (added for a new production of the play in 1911). The Canzonetta, Op. 62/1, retains the original scoring for muted strings; it is a delicate -- one might even say fragile -- piece that far outshines the rather disappointing "Valse Romantique," Op. 62/2, the scoring of which -- although supplemented by flutes, clarinet, horns and timpani -- still somehow manages to come across as bland. The primary idea is promising enough, however, and in the hands of a skilled ensemble the work makes a lush impression.

Source: Allmusic ( idental-music-for-orchestra-i-op-44-mc0002360580).

Although originally composed for Piano (4 Hands), I created this interpretation of the Kuolema (Death), Incidental Music for Orchestra (Op. 44 No. 1) for Winds (Flute, Oboe, Bb Clarinet, French Horn & Bassoon) & Strings (2 Violins, Viola, Cello & Bass).
Source / Web :MuseScore
Added by magataganm the 2019-05-15

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