Sibelius’ “The Dryad”: A Fleeting, Impressionistic Tone Poem

Jean Sibelius’ impressionistic tone poem, The Dryad (Dryaden), Op. 45, No. 1, is magical and fleeting. It begins with hushed, searching melodic strands which seem to drift over a dark, desolate, and frigid nordic landscape before coalescing into a high-spirited dance. At moments, the woodwinds erupt in cackling laughter and shrieks of merriment. Tonal colors capture the shimmering brilliance of sunlight on snow. The wood nymphs, upon which the piece is based, come out to play and then dissolve into the landscape as apparitions.

Sibelius composed this music in between skiing trips in February of 1910. It was premiered eight months later in Oslo. This 2002 recording features the Finnish conductor, Osmo Vänskä, and the Lahti Symphony Orchestra:


  • Sibelius: Dryaden (the Dryad) , Op. 45, No. 1, Osmo Vänskä, Lahti Symphony Orchestra Amazon

Featured Image: a birch forest in Finland, photograph by SeppVei

About Timothy Judd

A native of Upstate New York, Timothy Judd has been a member of the Richmond Symphony violin section since 2001. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he earned the degrees Bachelor of Music and Master of Music, studying with world renowned Ukrainian-American violinist Oleh Krysa.

The son of public school music educators, Timothy Judd began violin lessons at the age of four through Eastman’s Community Education Division. He was a student of Anastasia Jempelis, one of the earliest champions of the Suzuki method in the United States.

A passionate teacher, Mr. Judd has maintained a private violin studio in the Richmond area since 2002 and has been active coaching chamber music and numerous youth orchestra sectionals.

In his free time, Timothy Judd enjoys working out with Richmond’s popular SEAL Team Physical Training program.

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