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The Valse triste
is part of the incidental music tin several movements of Kuolema op. 44, which Sibelius composed in 1903. Kuolema has remained almost unknown until today, although Valse triste is one of the most frequently played pieces by the Finnish composer. The original publisher Breitkopf & Härtel provided a major impulse to its popularity growth, for example by publishing the versions for piano (EB 2224) or string orchestra (MM 2355836), emanating from Sibelius himself.
Incidentally, the arrangements by Friedrich Hermann (for violin / viola / violoncello / flute and piano) and by Otto Taubmann (for piano duet) are authentic. They were commissioned by the publisher after Sibelius gave his agreement. In fact, the composer, who was not always mildly disposed towards such undertakings, even went over them, as can be seen in the composers copies.