Poems for daughters
The tone poem Pohjola's Daughter, Op. 49, was composed by the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius in 1906. Originally, Sibelius intended to title the work Väinämöinen, after the character in the Kalevala (the Finnish national epic). The publisher Robert Lienau insisted on the title Pohjola's Daughter, which Sibelius then countered with the new title L'aventure d'un héros. He also considered the title Luonnotar. However, Lienau's suggestion eventually became the work's published title. (The title Luonnotar was given to a later work.) This was Sibelius' first work that he wrote directly for a German music publisher. The first performance was in Saint Petersburg, Russia in December 1906, with the composer himself conducting the Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre.
The passage in the Kalevala that inspired this work is from the 8th Runo, known in various English translations as "The Wound" or "Väinämöinen and the maiden of North Farm". The tone poem depicts the "steadfast, old," white-bearded Väinämöinen who spots the beautiful "daughter of the North (Pohjola)", seated on a rainbow, weaving a cloth of gold while he is riding a sleigh through the dusky landscape.