The Oceanides

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The Finnish composer Jean Sibelius wrote the tone poem The Oceanides, Op. 73, in 1914 immediately before his Fifth Symphony. It was commissioned for the Norfolk Festival in Connecticut, at which Sibelius conducted the premiere performance.

The Oceanides of the title refer to the feminine spirits who animated the waters in Greek mythology. However, the Finnish title Aallottaret ("Spirits of the Waves") provides an added nuance. The work was originally planned in three movements, and unfolds in three cyclical "waves". The composer uses a large orchestra to present the work's two brief themes in a rich variety of instrumental colours.

A typical performance runs 9 to 11 minutes.