Most of the music takes the form of interludes, conjuring up the magical and fantastical nature of the play and the claustrophobic atmosphere of the love triangle of Golaud, Melisande and Pelleas. Sibelius almost immediately produced a concert suite. It opens with an imposing evocation of a castle, broadly drawn and epic in style. The darkness of the drama is already evident in the second movement, a portrait of Melisande. With 'At the seashore', Melisande and Pelleas see the departure of the ship in which she arrived. 'By a spring in the park' acts as a prelude to the two lovers walking together but hints at the darker turn of events to come. 'The three blind sisters' is a song, sung by Melisande in the play, and takes the form of a medieval ballad. The 'Pastorale' conjures up a scene of colourful harvesting. The music of 'Melisande at the spinning-wheel' is very graphic but it also, in its dark obsessive way, portends tragedy to come. The 'Entr’acte' acts as a prelude in the play to a scene where Pelleas and Melisande plan a secret meeting but once again there is dark undercurrent. The suite ends with 'The death of Melisande'—the longest and most substantial movement, a remarkably touching prelude to the last act—as Melisande lies dying from childbirth, Golaud is left with the unresolved question of her relationship with Pelleas.
from notes by Rob McEwan © 2003
|Sibelius: Pelleas and Melisande & other works|
This album presents his theatre music from two distinct periods—the 1900s (contemporary with his Violin Concerto, and the Second and Third Symphonies) and the 1920s, including some of the last works of his to survive.» More