Op. 45 no. 1 Dryaden (The Dryad), symphonic poem Completed 1910; first performance in Oslo, 8th October 1910 (Musikforeningen, conducted by Jean Sibelius). Piano arrangement (Die Dryade) 1910.
The Dryad, which only lasts about five minutes, is one of Sibelius's shortest and most original orchestral works. He completed it in the sunny February of 1910, in between skiing trips. The first public performance took place in Kristiania (now Oslo) in October, at the same concert as the first public performance of In Memoriam.
The Dryad involves a major change in style from Night Ride and Sunrise or In Memoriam. The impressionist miniature depicting the tree nymphs proceeds proceeds through varied tone colours and fragments so that the fragments gradually form a more solid, dance-like theme. The chamber music character of the piece anticipates the fourth symphony, and the approach is very similar to that of The Bard in 1913.
To quote Elmer Diktonius: "The Dryad is like "a leaf quivering briskly in the woods". Erik Tawaststjerna called it
"a fascinating image of nature". The musicologist Erkki Salmenhaara has been more dismissive, suggesting that the waltz-like theme is too salonesque, and that the materials remain "somewhat disconnected and uncharacteristic". In Salmenhaara's opinion Sibelius should have reduced the number of motifs, concentrated on the best of them and developed them into something more complex.