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A Play about Death, but the Music lives on

Sibelius’s music for the play Kuolema

Eija Kurki

In the nineteenth century Conrad Greve, Axel Gabriel Ingelius and Fredrik Pacius had all written theatre music in Finland, but it is not really possible to speak of a Finnish tradition in this genre before Sibelius, who was ‘the pioneer of theatre and tableau music in Finland’.[1]

Sibelius’s collaboration with the Finnish National Theatre had begun as early as 1895, when he was 29, with the composition of a melodrama, Skogsrået (The Wood-Nymph), to a text by Viktor Rydberg, for a lottery evening. For the inauguration of the Theatre’s new building in 1902 he wrote the cantata Tulen synty (The Origin of Fire)

His theatre music for Arvid Järnefelt’s play Kuolema (Death) was first performed at the National Theatre in 1903. The first version of the play was completed that year; a second, revised version followed in 1911 (this was published in 1927). It is one of the few Finnish Symbolist plays from the turn of the century, and has been called both a dream play and a fairy tale. The 1903 version does indeed have more of a fairy-tale atmosphere than the 1911 version, but both contain autobiographical material. Järnefelt’s biographer Pekka Häkli explains that Järnefelt himself approached his brother-in-law Sibelius for incidental music.[2]

Sibelius supplied six musical numbers for small orchestra – mostly for strings, though the fifth movement includes bass drum and the last number features church bells. The music follows the demands of the play text and plot: music for a dance scene (revised as Valse triste), two songs, descending intervals imitating the calls of cranes, and numbers depicting a burning and collapsing house.

Death arrives to claim Paavali’s Mother to the accompaniment of Sibelius’s Valse triste. The 1911 performance of Arvid Järnefelt’s Kuolema at the Finnish National Theatre, with Axel Ahlberg as Death and Katri Rautio as the Mother.
Photo: © Finnish National Theatre

Music in the play

Act I

At the beginning of the play a sick woman is asleep in bed, and her small son Paavali is sitting at her bedside. In her dream, the Mother sees dancers, and then Death knocks at the door. In the guise of her deceased husband, he has arrived to claim the Mother. Järnefelt’s stage directions indicate:

In the darkness we start to discern a mysterious reddish light, which keeps growing stronger. At the same time we start to hear the quiet playing of orchestral violins which, as the lights go up, becomes clearer and finally becomes a graceful waltz.

MOTHER: (Has meanwhile eerily risen up. She is wearing a white dance costume. She moves lightly and inaudibly to the middle of the room, nods her head in different directions in time with the music.)
DANCE: (From the direction indicated, dancers appear… Finally she tires, owing to her inner agitation, and leans almost unconscious against the wall. The music then calms down as well, the lighting grows dim… Horrified, she makes a strong effort and, when the music recommences, starts to dance again. In a moment the entire room is filled with dancers.) (Knocking at the door, three times, slowly.)

As the above extract shows, Järnefelt specifies that the music should be played by a string orchestra. Sibelius followed this instruction in his score.

The music begins pizzicato. The chromaticism of the main theme creates a dreamy, unreal mood. Dream and death are also reflected in the harmonies of the music. The mention of a ‘waltz tune’ in Järnefelt’s text clearly influenced Sibelius’s decision to make this piece a waltz. Both on stage and in Sibelius’s score the waltz stops and restarts, and the number ends when Death knocks at the door. This piece was later reworked as Valse triste.

One of the many editions of Valse triste

Act II

In the second act, Paavali has grown into a young man. Outside a winter storm is raging, and he arrives at the cottage of an old witch, who is lying ill in bed. Paavali approaches the cottage, singing all the while.

The orchestral violins have joined in the storm, at first indistinctly, just imitating the howling of the wind, but then ever more clearly, forming the accompaniment to Paavali’s song as he approaches from afar.

The music begins with a string introduction, the texture of which imitates the howling of the wind. When Paavali begins to sing, the strings switch over to a syncopated accompaniment.

In the witch’s cottage, Paavali does good deeds: he lights the fire, bakes bread, and so on. As a token of gratitude, the witch gives him a ring, through which he can see his future bride. The scene then immediately changes to a forest scene in summer, with the young maiden Elsa singing to herself. The play contains the following directions:

As soon as Paavali looks through the ring towards the back wall, the howling wind calms down and gives way to gentle music, ending up like the song of mosquitos in a summer grove. The whole cottage disappears from sight. The baking oven turns into a big rock, the chimney becoming a tree trunk. The weather brightens up, becoming a summer evening. We see a hill covered by birch forest, rising up in the back of the stage. A broad path runs through it, uphill. To the left of the path, on a hillock surrounded by a mossy fence, the young, beautiful, proud Elsa is sitting, plaiting her hair. Smiling contentedly and humming to the accompaniment of music, she looks at her reflection in a spring amid high-growing bracken.

Sibelius’s music is divided into three sections: Moderato assai – Moderato – Poco adagio. The first section consists of smoothly flowing harmonies from the muted strings. The middle section contains Elsa’s song, to the syllables ‘eilaa, eilaa’ . As far as we know, Sibelius chose this ‘text’ at the suggestion of Arvid Järnefelt, but he had used it before in his Rakastava suite for male choir and baritone soloist, which had been premièred in 1894. The world that this song represents and the image of Elsa in the forest contained in Järnefelt’s play are closely related to Finnish national romanticism. After Elsa’s song, the reprise of the opening material also features a prominent solo violin.

Paavali and Elsa fall asleep side by side in the forest. When they wake up Paavali intends to continue his journey, but Elsa asks him to stay with her. Elsa cries out: ‘Look, look, there’s a flock of cranes! Do you hear their call?’ A single bird detaches itself from the flock and brings a baby to Elsa and Paavali.

The manuscript of the play also contains a second version in which the cranes acquire a darker meaning: in the call of the cranes, Paavali recognizes the voice of his deceased mother:

ELSA: Do you hear that…?
PAAVALI: Mother, mother! It’s my mother!
ELSA: Look, they [the cranes] are flying this way.
PAAVALI: Oh, mother, hear my prayer!
ELSA: Now one [crane] is breaking away from the flock, the others are turning southwards. It’s coming this way…

The music Sibelius provided for this scene is short, a mere nine bars; in it, the descending violin motifs imitate the calls of the cranes.


The events of the third act take place some years later. Paavali’s idealistic principles are in conflict with his family life with Elsa and the children. He spends his savings establishing a nursery school. Paavali’s and Elsa’s house catches fire. Paavali remains in the house where, amid the flames, he reflects on his past deeds. In the flames the ghost of his mother can be seen, with a scythe in her hand. She has come to fetch Paavali, in the same way that Paavali’s father had come to fetch his mother at the beginning of the play.

The crackling of the fire is replaced by music with despondent, intensifying minor chords, repeating Paavali’s song of freedom from the beginning of Act II… Then we catch a glimpse of blue sky; and before him stands his mother, all white, with a scythe of death in her hand. Harps play quietly and gently, like the morning breeze.

Sibelius composed this musical number for strings with the addition of bass drum. The music is characterized by the strings’ insistent rapid triplets, heard throughout the movement; fragments of a cello theme are heard against this dramatic texture.

The burning house eventually collapses, with Paavali still in it. The text says that ‘the whole house crashes down with a roar. When, after a moment, the dust has settled and the air gradually clears, a distant church bell is heard, following on from the sound of the harps. ’ Sibelius’s music at this point is brief, a mere eight bars (plus repeat). The harps are represented by arpeggio figurations from muted violins, violas and cellos, and pizzicati from the double basses, and when the house has fallen into ruins, Sibelius asks for church bells (campanelli di chiesa).

In the final scene of the play, the villagers address Elsa and the children with kindness, returning the goodwill that Paavali had accorded them when he was alive. Elsa’s final lines indicate that Paavali is not dead, but lives on in people’s hearts. The text of the play does not specify music for the final scene, and nor did Sibelius write any.

Kuolema at the National Theatre

The Finnish National Theatre in 1906
(Public Domain)

The première of Kuolema with Sibelius’s music took place on 2 December 1903 at the Finnish National Theatre.[3]  At the beginning of the twentieth century the theatre collaborated with a wide range of artists, for example using scenery painted by Pekka Halonen and music by Sibelius, Erkki Melartin (e.g. for Topelius’s Sleeping Beauty [1904] and Wilde’s Salome [1905]) and Selim Palmgren (e.g. for Larin-Kyösti’s Cinderella [1903]). At the time of the Kuolema première, the theatre’s director was Jalmari Finne, who complemented and continued the work of Kaarlo Bergbom in areas such as electric lighting, scenery, stage machinery and crowd scenes.

Rehearsals began in late October 1903.[4]  The first night was originally planned for November, but was postponed because Sibelius’s music was not ready in time. At the première the composer himself conducted members of the Philharmonic Society Orchestra behind the scenes, but at rehearsals the theatre’s director Jalmari Finne had to play the music on the piano:

The next production was another success for me. Arvid Järnefelt’s Kuolema. Sibelius had composed music for it, which arrived at the theatre in dribs and drabs and, naturally, at the very last moment. At rehearsals the music had to be played on the piano. Who would do that? Me, of course. What I had learned from Melartin about orchestral scores helped to the extent that I could play straight from the score. The only piece I arranged for piano, for practical reasons, was Valse triste.[5]

When music was involved, theatres’ ticket prices were higher than usual. They had to pay the composers for their works and also the costs of hiring musicians. A further expenditure was the copying of orchestral parts. In the case of Järnefelt’s Kuolema, however, the tickets were priced at normal rates, implying that the costs of mounting the performance (including the music) were not excessive. According to the Hufvudstadsbladet reviewer Hjalmar Lenning, expectations were high for the first night specifically because there was music by Sibelius: ‘Therefore musical Helsinki as well as friends of Finnish theatre gathered in such numbers yesterday in the light and beautiful auditorium of the Finnish National Theatre.’ [6]

The reviews pointed out that the play had a fairy-tale atmosphere. Eino Leino wrote about Act II, when Paavali is in the witch’s hut and the crane brings a child to him and Elsa:

As the reader will observe, sudden unpredictable joy has here consumed a writer who is otherwise so serious. He has grown tired of the solemn atmosphere in which the first tableau began, and of the majesty of death. Against this he has set the sweet morning of life, making it so naïve in a charming way that it would be a sin to encroach more closely upon it. After this act, we have no interest other than the curiosity to see how the author again intends to redress the lost majesty of death. The following tableaux [go] further and further away from the scope of artistic criticism. ’[7]

Scene with Cranes

In 1906 Sibelius fashioned another independent piece from the Kuolema music: Kurkikohtaus (Scene with Cranes). In this piece Sibelius combined the string passages which frame Elsa’s ‘eilaa, eilaa’ song (No. 3) with the calls of the cranes (No. 4). The violins which imitated the cries of the cranes in the original fourth movement are replaced in the revised piece by clarinets, the tone quality of which is closer to the sound of cranes.

Courting cranes in the Finnish countryside
Photo: Hemmob (Public Domain)

New play, new music

In 1911 a new version of Järnefelt’s play was performed at the Finnish National Theatre. In late December 1910, the playwright sent the revised version to the director Adolf Lindfors.[8]  In January the theatre’s board decided to put the play on, and terms were agreed ‘on the condition that we can come to a satisfactory arrangement with the composer ’.[9]  Sibelius started to compose two new musical numbers for it in January 1911 According to his biographer Erik Tawaststjerna, they were written ‘in one fell swoop’.[10]

In the revised version the first act was almost identical to the 1903 original, and the performances used Sibelius’s revised version of Valse triste – longer than the original, and for a larger orchestra including, for example, some wind instruments.

The second act was almost entirely new, with changes to the plot, some of the characters and the locations. There were also significant changes in Act III. This meant that Sibelius’s music for the 1903 production could no longer be used. Act II of the revised version includes a maidens’ dance scene for which Sibelius composed Valse romantique (Op. 62b). Järnefelt’s text specifies: ‘On the terrace we hear the cheerful beginnings of a waltz’ . In character, it is like a major-key version of Valse triste.

At the end of the act there is a second dance number: the maidens dance around their lovers on the veranda. For this scene Sibelius wrote Rondino der Liebenden, later known as Canzonetta (Op. 62a). Here Järnefelt asks for ‘quiet, indistinct playing on the terrace… The maidens perform a dance step to the same faint melody’. Sibelius succeeded in creating Järnefelt’s twilight atmosphere with a melody, within the compass of a single octave, played by muted strings.

The revised version of Kuolema was premièred at the National Theatre on 8 March 1911.[11]  Eino Leino commented:

Let us say straight away that Kuolema is now far better than it was before… The second tableau is entirely new. In the profundity of its feelings it is not comparable [with the first act], but otherwise it is quite neatly drawn. Nonetheless, in this sort of play everything depends on the atmosphere, because it is generally the only way in which we can approach the metaphysical depths. We cannot approach them by thought, but only by way of intuition… But third time lucky, as they say, and if Järnefelt reworks his play one more time, it will surely become a dream drama comparable with Maeterlinck’s finest.[12]

This review draws attention to central elements of the Symbolist movement: atmosphere and intuition. The reviewers also mentioned the stage effects in the performance, especially the final scene with the burning house. Unlike Leino, however, Maila Talvio in Uusi Suometar did not find the new version an improvement, regarding the original as ‘more ascetic, more naïve and more artistic. It has now acquired so many trinkets and effects.’[13]

Unlike at the 1903 performance, when Sibelius’s music did not attract attention in its own right, this time two reviews of the music appeared. The already familiar Valse triste was well liked, but the two new numbers – Canzonetta and Valse romantique – were described as unassuming pieces.[14]

In Hufvudstadsbladet, Karl Fredrik Wasenius (pseudonym Bis) wrote that the whole world knew Valse triste, but that the new Valse romantique ‘strikes me as insignificant’, whereas the Canzonetta, ‘after Valse triste, will make its victorious way through the world of music’.[15]  But in fact the Canzonetta did not match the popularity of Valse triste. Interestingly, however, Igor Stravinsky arranged it for two clarinets, four horns, harp and double bass in 1963.

From the Finnish stage to world fame

Järnefelt’s Kuolema has not been performed at the Finnish National Theatre since 1911, and Sibelius’s Valse triste has moved from the world of spoken drama to that of dance. It has been choreographed on numerous occasions, including as an ice dance with choreography by Jorma Uotinen.

Sibelius himself used a chord progression from Valse triste several decades later in the closing bars of his Seventh Symphony. Listeners to the symphony might have recognized this, as Valse triste had been published and was performed widely, and Sibelius himself may have associated the death theme in Valse triste with the symphony. It is well known that he was surprised by the great popularity enjoyed by Valse triste, especially as he had handed over the rights to his publisher for a ridiculously low price. Moreover, the piece’s popularity detracted from his reputation as a symphonic composer. By choosing a recognizable element from a popular piece as part of his Seventh Symphony, Sibelius may have wished to point out to his audiences that even this small-scale piece contained music of symphonic potential.

In the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Paul Griffiths writes about theatre music from the turn of the century. Sibelius’s role in this is significant. Discussing the scores for Maeterlinck’s Pelléas et Mélisande by Gabriel Fauré and Sibelius, Griffiths emphasizes that they are ‘among the finest examples of incidental music of any period’.[16]  Many pieces composed for theatre use have lived on in orchestral concert programmes, even if the original plays have disappeared entirely from the stage. Järnefelt’s play has not stood the test of time but, among the pieces that Sibelius wrote for it, Valse triste remains a favourite all over the world.


1. Dance

Valse triste made its way from the theatre to the dance stage and also into films as background music. In the early twentieth century it was part of many dancers’ repertoire – among them the Russian ballerinas Anna Pavlova, Olga Preobrayenska and Lyubov Egorova, and the Germans Lil Dagover and Mary Wigman. Dagover also performed in a number of silent movies. Valse triste was also performed by the Norwegian dancer Lillebil Ibsen, the Estonian Ella Ilbak, and in Finland by Maggie Gripenberg. Sibelius himself conducted the piece in 1918 at a charity event in the Finnish National Theatre, with 21 dancers – 20 women and one man.

Ballet companies, too, have performed Valse triste, among them the Royal Danish Ballet in 1949 and New York City Ballet in 1985 (and again in 2000 and 2008). At the Finnish National Ballet it has been choreographed six times. The first, by Elsa Sylvestersson and Margaretha von Bahr, was performed on a visit to Leningrad in 1957 and thereafter in Stuttgart (1958) and at the Edinburgh Festival (1959), on those occasions with Sylvestersson as the sole choreographer. In all these performances von Bahr danced alongside either Uno Onkinen or Jaakko Lätti. Von Bahr had previously danced Valse triste as early as 1949 in a short film directed by Marius Raichi, with choreography by Julian Algo; the film also included footage of Jean and Aino Sibelius. Later von Bahr choreographed Valse triste in the Soviet Union, broadcast in Leningrad television in 1969. The most recent version at the Finnish National Ballet dates from 2017, when Jyrki Karttunen based his choreography on Järnefelt’s play and the music’s original context. Various dance companies and choreographers have also included Valse triste as part of larger works on the theme of death and renunciation.

2. Valse triste on screen

in shorter or longer form

1925    The Gold Rush, dir. Charlie Chaplin, USA
1931    Erämaan turvissa, dir. von Maydell-Kaarna-von Haartman, Finland
1934    Death Takes a Holiday, dir. Mitchell Leisen, USA
1945    Jean Sibelius (documentary short), dir. Holger Harrivirta, Finland
1949    Jean Sibelius – sävelten mestari (documentary short), dir. Marius Raichi, Finland
1953    Ambiciosa, dir. Ernesto Cortázar, Mexico
1955    Pieśni nad Wisłą (Songs Over the Vistula), dir. R. Grigoriev-Ilja Kopalin, Soviet Union, Poland
1972    Salomè, dir. Carmelo Bene, Italy
1976    Allegro non troppo, dir. Bruno Bozzetto, Italy
1978    Fedora, dir. Billy Wilder, France, West Germany
1978    Valse triste (5-minute short film), dir. Bruce Conner, USA
1980    Making ‘The Shining’ (TV short documentary), Vivian Kubrick, UK
1989    Herääminen [deals with Arvid Järnefelt], dir. Eeva Vuorenpää, Finland
1994    Radioland Murders, dir. Mel Smith, USA
2000    Staffan Snellin suojelusenkeli, dir. Jussi Parviainen, Finland
2000    Dark Angel (TV Series: S1, Ep7: Blah Blah Woof Woof), dir. Paul Shapiro, USA
2001    Kahakka, dir. Asko Apajalahti, Finland
2003    Sibelius, dir. Timo Koivusalo, Finland
2005    Unknown White Male (documentary), dir. Rupert Murray, USA
2006    Sibelius-Finlandia (video), dir. Jari Anttonen, Finland
2006    Lady Chatterley, dir. Pascale Ferran, Belgium-France
2010    Into Eternity: A Film for the Future, dir. Michael Madsen, Denmark-Finland-Sweden-Italy
2010    La solitudine dei numeri primi, dir. Saverio Costanzo, Italy-Germany-France
2012    Dead Season, dir. Adam Deyoe, USA
2012    No, dir. Pablo Larrain, Chile-France-Mexico-USA
2014    Grace of Monaco, dir. Olivier Dahan, Switzerland-France-Italy-Belgium
2015    Blood Reunion 2: Madeline, dir. Jim DeVault, USA
2015    En Équilibre, dir. Denis Dercourt, France
2017    The Last Revenants, dir. Jim DeVault, USA

© Eija Kurki 2020

Eija Kurki D. Phil. published her dissertation Satua, kuolemaa ja eksotiikkaa. Jean Sibeliuksen vuosisadan alun näyttämömusiikkiteokset (Fairy-tale, Death and Exoticism. Jean Sibelius’s Theatre Music from the Beginning of the 20th Century) in 1997. She has written numerous articles in various specialist publications both in Finland and internationally (e.g. Sibelius Studies, Cambridge University Press 2001). This article is a revised version of one published in Finnish in Niin muuttuu maailma, Eskoni – Tulkintoja kansallisnäyttämöstä, ed. Pirkko Koski, Helsinki University Press 1999.
English version published in Sibelius One Magazine, July 2020. Translation: Sibelius One.

[1] Erkki Salmenhaara: Suomen musiikin historia 2. Kansallisromantiikan valtavirta 1885–1918. WSOY, Porvoo–Helsinki–Juva 1996, p. 173

[2] Pekka Häkli: Arvid Järnefelt ja hänen lähimaailmansa. WSOY, Porvoo–Helsinki 1955, p. 336

[3] Olga Salo played Paavali as a boy, Knut Weckman played him as an adult, and his song was performed by the opera singer Abraham Ojanperä. Hanna Granfelt (then an actor, later a full-time singer) played Elsa and also sang her song. Katri Rautio played the Mother and Benjamin Leino played Death.

[4] Häkli 1955, p. 338

[5] ‘Seuraava ohjelma oli jälleen voittoni. Arvid Järnefeltin Kuolema. Sibelius oli siihen säveltänyt musiikin, joka saapui teatterille palasittain ja tietysti aivan viime hetkessä. Harjoituksissa täytyi musiikkia soittaa pianolla. Kuka sen tekisi? Minä tietysti. Melartinin antamat opetukset orkesteripartituurista auttoivat sen verran, että voin soittaa suoraan partituurista. Ainoa numero, jonka sovitin käytännöllisyyden vuoksi pianolle oli Valse triste.’ Jalmari Finne: Ihmeellinen seikkailu. Ihmisiä, elämyksiä, mietteitä. Edited for publication by Yrjö Kivimies from surviving documents. K. J. Gummerus Oy, Jyväskylä–Helsinki 1939, pp. 126–127

[6] ‘Det var därför att det musikaliska Helsinkfors tillsammans med den inhemska dramatikens vänner i går så talrikt stämt möte i finska nationalteaterns ljusa och vackra salong’ . Hjalmar Lenning, ‘Finska teatern’ , Hufvudstadsbladet, 3 December 1903

[7] ‘Kuten lukija huomaa, on äkkiarvaamaton iloisuus tässä vallanut muuten niin totisen tekijän. Hän on väsynyt siihen juhlalliseen tunnelmaan jolla ensimmäinen kuvaelma alkoi, samoin myöskin kuoleman majesteettiin. Hän on asettanut sen vastakohdaksi elämän herttaisen aamun, tehden sen niin naivin herttaisella tavalla, että olisi synti siihen lähemmin kajota. Tämän kuvaelman jälkeen ei enää muu meidän mieltämme kiinnitä kuin uteliaisuus nähdä, miten tekijä aikoo jälleen kuoleman kadonneen majesteetin jälleen hyvittää. Seuraavat kuvaelmat [menevät] yhä kauemmaksi taiteellisen arvostelun piiristä’ . Eino Leino, ‘Kirjallisuutta ja taidetta. Kansallisteatteri. Arvid Järnefelt: Kuolema näytelmä 3:ssa kuvaelmassa. ’ Päivälehti, 4 December 1904

[8] Letter from Järnefelt to Lindfors, 26 December 1910. Archives of the Finnish Literature Society.

[9] Minutes of the Finnish National Theatre board meeting, 4 January 1911. Minutes 1909–11, Finnish National Theatre archives. See also Häkli 1955, p. 410

[10] Erik Tawaststjerna, Jean Sibelius III. Second Edition, Otava, Helsinki 1989 (1971), p. 227

[11] Urho Somersalmi played Paavali, Lilli Tulenheimo played Elsa, Katri Rautio played the Mother and Axel Ahlberg played Death. The music was performed by the Apostol Concert Orchestra.

[12] ‘Sanottakoon heti, että Kuolema on suuresti entisestään paran­tunut. [—] Toinen kuvaelma on kokonaan uusi, ei tunnelmansa syvyydeltä edelliseen [ensimmäiseen näytökseen] verrattava, mutta muuten sangen näppärästi hahmoteltu. Kuitenkin riippuu juuri tunnelmasta kaikki tämäntapaisissa näytelmissä, sillä se on yleensä ainoa muoto, missä me voimme metafysiikan syvyyksiä lähestyä. Me emme pääse niitä lähemmä ajatusten vaan aavistuksen tietä. [—] Mutta kolmas kerta toden sanoo, ja jos Järnefelt vielä kerran näytelmänsä uudesta muovailee, on siitä varmaan tuleva unelma­draama, joka voi vetää vertoja Maeterlinckin parhaimmille. ’ Eino Leino, ‘Kirjalllisuutta ja taidetta. Kansallisteatteri. Kuolema. ’ Helsingin Sanomat, 10 March 1911

[13] ‘koruttomampi, naivisempi ja taiteellisempi. Siihen on tullut niin paljon helyä ja efektiä. ’  Maila Talvio, ‘Kirjallisuutta ja taidetta, Kansallisteatteri. Kuolema’ . Uusi Suometar, 10 March 1911

[14] ‘Jean Sibeliuksen musiikki näytelmään Kuolema’ , Helsingin Sanomat, 15 March 1911, reviewed by ‘L’ .

[15] ‘Jean Sibelius musik till Arvid Järnefelts “Kuolema” ’, Karl Fredrik Wasenius (Bis), Hufvudstadsbladet, 21 March 1911

[16] Griffiths, Paul: ‘Incidental Music. 20th century’. The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Vol. 9, ed. Stanley Sadie, Macmillan, London 1980, pp. 62–63