A short portion of The Tempest, incidental music by Jean Sibelius:
[about Jean Sibelius (December 8, 1865 – September 20, 1957)]
The blurb from YouTube:
"Now my charms are all o'erthrown,The Tempest (complete piece, not recorded in its entirety until 1992, when the Lahti Symphony Orchestra recorded the version below):
And what strength I have's mine own,
Which is most faint.
... Let me not ... dwell
In this bare island by your spell;
But release me from my bands
With the help of your good hands.
Gentle breath of yours my sails
Must fill, or else my project fails,
Which was to please. Now I want
Spirits to enforce, art to enchant;
And my ending is despair,
Unless I be relieved by prayer,
Which pierces so, that it assaults
Mercy itself, and frees all faults.
As you from crimes would pardoned be,
Let your indulgence set me free.
- "Prospero's Epilogue," The Tempest.
A legendary work shrouded in mystery and awe, Sibelius' Eighth Symphony occupied him during the 1930s to the mid-1940s. Increasingly pressured by conductors, supporters, musicians and most of all, his own self-criticism, Sibelius apparently suffered long to bring this work to the only conclusion he could accept: perfection.
But sadly, around 1945, Sibelius' wife Aino saw her octogenarian husband feeding a laundry basket full of manuscripts to the fire. "[A]fter this my husband became calmer and gradually lighter in mood. It was a happy time."
Sibelius released no more music of the calibre of his last masterpieces, the Seventh Symphony (1924) and the tone poem Tapiola (1926). This period until his death in 1957, is known as the Silence of Järvenpää.
In Shakespeare's final play, The Tempest, the great magician Prospero appears at the end, after the tale has ended, to deliver his famous epilogue. He pleads with the audience to set him free from his obligations, allow him to give up his powers. If he keeps the "art to enchant", his ending would only be despair.
Written between the Seventh Symphony and Tapiola, Sibelius' incidental music for the Royal Theatre of Copenhagen's staging of The Tempest, is a somewhat lesser-known collection of little masterpieces, which ends with the melancholy Ossia, accompanying Prospero's "Epilogue."
Breathtakingly brief, the Ossia is a powerful, poignant and perfectly fitting epilogue from one of the greatest symphonists of the 20th century, at the end of his symphonic journey - the farewell of Jean Sibelius.