Georges Bizet (1838 - 1875)
Carmen Suite No. 1
Georges Bizet was just three years younger than Saint-Saens; like Saint-Saens he was born and brought up in Paris, and was very talented as a youngster. He was admitted to the Paris conservatoire before he was 10 years old, and at 17 wrote a Symphony in C which is just as good as anything Mozart or Mendelssohn produced at that age. His great opera Carmen came out in 1875, and after initial criticism for its realistic low-life subject matter, soon became one of the world's best loved operas. It is one of music's great tragedies that he died aged only 37, a few months after the premiere of Carmen: what might he have written had he lived until 60?
The first suite from the opera comprises six sections - a short dramatic Prelude, a lively Aragonaise in triple time, a charming Intermezzo for the flute and harp, a Seguidille, a march for the Dragoons Les Dragons d'AIcala which features the bassoons prominently, and the famous March of the Toreadors.