Author Topic: Georges Bizet  (Read 3338 times)

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Offline Pierre

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Georges Bizet
« on: November 02, 2008, 01:23:14 PM »
Has there really not been a thread on this composer yet? I'm just playing through in my mind the second movement of his L'Arlesienne suite No. 1, enjoying its plain vigour (at least in my imagined performance) but now wondering whether this was actually taken from his incidental music to Daudet's play: or was this lifted from another work of his? Does anyone here know?

Offline OzRadio

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Re: Georges Bizet
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2011, 09:16:22 AM »
Any must-have pieces by Bizet other than Carmen?

Offline springrite

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Re: Georges Bizet
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2011, 09:19:42 AM »
Any must-have pieces by Bizet other than Carmen?

The Pearl Fisher, of course.  ;D
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Georges Bizet
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2011, 09:23:48 AM »
Any must-have pieces by Bizet other than Carmen?

Not sure about "must-haves," but I really enjoy his Symphony In C, the suites to L'Arlesienne, and the Petite Suite.
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Offline Guido

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Re: Georges Bizet
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2011, 07:21:21 PM »
Nietzsche promoted the music of Mendelssohn and Bizet as joy-affirming classical alternatives to Wagnerian romanticism. This does allow us to situate Bizet in the history of music, I would say.

Bizet married Genevieve Halevy, the daughter of his teacher, the (forgotten) Opera composer Fromenthal Halevy. Fromenthal Halevy was the uncle of Ludovic Halevy, who wrote the libretto of Carmen (an adaptation of Prosper Merime's novella).

Ludovic Halevy was the father of Elie Halevy, historian of the English labor movement, and of Daniel Halevy, who started out as a Dreyfusard friend and ally of Charles Peguy and ended up a critique of the IIIrd Republic and suporter of Old Regime aristocracy. Daniel Halevy was father-in-law of the diplomat Louis Joxe (cabinet minister under Charles de Gaulle) and the grand-father of Pierre Joxe, Francois Mitterand's first minister of the Interior.

After Bizet's death his widow Genevieve married the banker (and Rothschild business partner) Emile Strauss. She is best remembered as the Madame Strauss who inspired the Madame Verdurin character in Marcel Proust's Remembrance of Things Past.

Thank you for this! Didn't know that at all!


On Bizet recommendations. Pearl Fishers is good. So is La Jolie Fille De Perth - the latter very rarely done and again crammed with gorgeous numbers.
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Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: Georges Bizet
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2011, 01:05:59 AM »
And don't forget jeux d'enfants. It's probably more often known through the suite performed for orchestra.
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Offline The new erato

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Re: Georges Bizet
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2011, 11:14:38 AM »
The Pearl Fisher, of course.  ;D
I think it is plural (Pearl Fishers).

Else there would be no duet.  ;D

Offline vers la flamme

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Re: Georges Bizet
« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2020, 07:47:58 AM »
Bump for Bizet...

Surprised there has been so little discussion on this composer over the years. What gives?

I just got a CD of Thomas Beecham conducting the Symphony in C and the L'Arlésienne suites. Good stuff. I would like to hear Carmen in full, too. I like what I've heard of it and not being much of an opera guy, I suspect it would be nice, easily digestible fare. Might make more sense than diving in headfirst to Wagner, etc.

Offline Biffo

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Re: Georges Bizet
« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2020, 08:03:17 AM »
Bump for Bizet...

Surprised there has been so little discussion on this composer over the years. What gives?

I just got a CD of Thomas Beecham conducting the Symphony in C and the L'Arlésienne suites. Good stuff. I would like to hear Carmen in full, too. I like what I've heard of it and not being much of an opera guy, I suspect it would be nice, easily digestible fare. Might make more sense than diving in headfirst to Wagner, etc.

It is true that Carmen is full of tuneful and colourful music but it is also powerful and ultimately tragic. I am not sure nice is the right word.  By all means try it, it is gripping stuff.

Offline André

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Re: Georges Bizet
« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2020, 08:25:58 AM »
And the music for L’Arlésienne (the girl from Arles). Almost too tuneful... favourite version: Stokowski in resplendent stereo.

Offline vers la flamme

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Re: Georges Bizet
« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2020, 08:28:38 AM »
It is true that Carmen is full of tuneful and colourful music but it is also powerful and ultimately tragic. I am not sure nice is the right word.  By all means try it, it is gripping stuff.

I'm sorry to sound dismissive—which rereading that post, that is definitely how I came off. Nice may not be the right word at all, but it seems to certainly be accessible; I think it's a lot of folks' first opera.

What is a great recording of it out there? I see Beecham has recorded it for EMI. Any others to consider...?

Offline Biffo

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Re: Georges Bizet
« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2020, 08:44:33 AM »
My first opera was Madame Butterfly and I was bored to tears - Carmen is an excellent place to start. Not sure where to start, it was discussed extensively in the old Amazon UK forum with just about every version having its detractors. None of the versions I know (Bernstein, Fruhbeck de Burgos and a DVD with Domingo and Migenes) are very new.

Offline André

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Re: Georges Bizet
« Reply #12 on: March 28, 2020, 11:23:20 AM »
My first opera was Madame Butterfly and I was bored to tears - Carmen is an excellent place to start. Not sure where to start, it was discussed extensively in the old Amazon UK forum with just about every version having its detractors. None of the versions I know (Bernstein, Fruhbeck de Burgos and a DVD with Domingo and Migenes) are very new.

Yup. The Carmen curse...

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Georges Bizet
« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2020, 05:05:47 AM »
Yup. The Carmen curse...

The "problem" for Carmen remains that it was conceived as an "Opera Comique" - which of course simply refers to the fact that sung and spoken text are combined in away familiar/normal in operetta and or course modern day musicals but less common in 'serious' opera.  Which is why the spoken passages were rewritten/reconceived as recitatives.  But all that happened (as indeed did the premiere in any case) after Bizet's death so he had no say in the matter.  To my mind the issue remains with the listener not the work; it appears that people who like their opera big and sweeping and full of drama somehow baulk at the spoken dialogue.  I like it exactly as it is.  But then I also like the scale and sweep of Solti's Decca recording who chose a hybrid version!

Offline Scion7

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Re: Georges Bizet
« Reply #14 on: October 25, 2020, 01:29:31 PM »
Happy 182'nd birthday, Georges.   0:)
The Germans, who make doctrines out of everything, deal with music learnedly; the Italians, being voluptuous, seek in it lively, though fleeting, sensations; the French, more vain than perceptive, manage to speak of it wittily; and the English pay for it . . . - Stendhal

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Georges Bizet
« Reply #15 on: October 28, 2020, 11:23:54 AM »
There is a famous version of the Symphony by Stokowski (sorry - I don't know how to resize images!);



Apparently according to a colleague who played on the session; during the take of the slow movement, Stokowski fell asleep on the podium but when the leader looked across at the control box they indicated to keep going.... so everyone just followed the leader/1st oboe etc and Stoky woke up for the last few bars.  I think the disc won an award....... (it is VERY good!)

Offline vers la flamme

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Re: Georges Bizet
« Reply #16 on: October 28, 2020, 03:23:19 PM »
^I just got that recently and listened to it on Bizet's birthday. I agree, it's a damn good recording, so that's hilarious!  ;D

Offline Scion7

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Re: Georges Bizet
« Reply #17 on: November 03, 2020, 11:49:37 AM »
He must have been strapped to it, since he didn't fall down?
The Germans, who make doctrines out of everything, deal with music learnedly; the Italians, being voluptuous, seek in it lively, though fleeting, sensations; the French, more vain than perceptive, manage to speak of it wittily; and the English pay for it . . . - Stendhal

Offline OrchestralNut

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Re: Georges Bizet
« Reply #18 on: February 20, 2021, 05:57:25 AM »
402 pages of discussion on the Havergal Brian composer thread. While not even a full page on the Bizet........ Proof that life is still full of mysteries.  ;D

Anyhow, I discovered the Symphony in C just this past October during a livestream event put on by my local orchestra. What an utterly charming, exuberant and fun piece of music!

I'm only familiar with Bizet's suites for l'Arlesienne and Carmen, and now the Symphony in C.

What are some of your favourite recordings of the symphony? I do see a fair amount of mentions for the Stokowski and Bernstein.
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Offline Florestan

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Re: Georges Bizet
« Reply #19 on: February 20, 2021, 06:42:07 AM »
You want unkown Bizet?Take these then:

"Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent." - Victor Hugo