Valse Triste is taken from the music that Sibelius wrote for a drama called "Kuolema" or "Death". The shortened version of the story goes something like this:
It is nighttime and a dying Mother is being watched over by her son who eventually falls asleep and dreams. In the dream, the Mother, dressed in a ballroom gown begins to dance a very slow dance. More and more people enter the ballroom to dance with the Mother, but they will not look her in the eye. The dancing becomes more and more animated, with all gyrating around the room in a wild rhythm. Suddenly the doors fling wide open, the Mother cries out, the guests vanish and Death stands on the threshold.
Mr. Sauer has arranged this work to bring out the subtleties of the colors of this strange, but enchanting music. This work is about six minutes in length and can be performed by moderately advanced performers.
Treble and bass clef parts are included.