Bizet, (Alexandre Césare Léopold)

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Bizet, [Alexandre Césare Léopold], known as Georges Bizet (b Paris, 1838; d Bougival, 1875). Fr. composer. Studied Paris Cons., pupil of Zimmerman and then of Halévy (whose daughter he married). Won Grand Prix de Rome 1857, in which year his Docteur Miracle was perf. In Rome comp. an opéra-bouffe Don Procopio (prod. Monte Carlo 1906) and a choral sym. Vasco da Gama, also his Te Deum (1858). On return to Paris comp. several operas, none of which had much success. They were Les Pêcheurs de perles (The Pearl Fishers) (1863), La Jolie Fille de Perth (The Fair Maid of Perth) (1866), and Djamileh (1871). In the early 1860s, comp. a 5-act opera Ivan IV which he later abandoned, using some of the mus. in other works, but which was prod. in a mutilated edn. after World War II as Ivan le Terrible. Other operas which exist either in incomplete or fragmentary form are La Coupe du Roi de Thule (1868), Grisélidis (1870–1), which incl. mus. later used in L'Arlésienne and Carmen (Flower Song), and Don Rodrigue (1873). Had more success in his lifetime with non-operatic works such as Souvenirs de Rome (perf. 1869, pubd. 1880 as suite Roma), the Petite Suite, Jeux d'enfants (1871), and incidental music to L'Arlésienne (1872). In 1873 began work on an opéra-comique Carmen, prod. Paris 1875 and coolly received, though it has since become one of the most popular operas ever written.

A brilliant pianist, Bizet also comp. for that instr. and his songs and church mus. are of high quality. A Sym. in C, 1855, of felicitous youthful charm, was disinterred in 1933 and f.p. in Basle cond. Weingartner, 26 Feb. 1935. If Bizet's fame rests largely on Carmen, all his pubd. work has colour, melody, and brilliant aptness of orchestration. But in practically all of Bizet's work, incl. Carmen, there are musicological pitfalls for the unwary writer who has not consulted the work of authorities such as Winton Dean concerning spurious edns., additions, and interpolations. Prin. works:OPERAS: Le Docteur Miracle (1856); Don Procopio (1858–9); La Prêtesse (?1861); Ivan IV (?1862–3, rev. 1864–5); Les Pêcheurs de perles (The Pearl Fishers) (1863); La Jolie Fille de Perth (The Fair Maid of Perth) (1866); Djamileh (1871); Carmen (1873–4).INCIDENTAL MUSIC: L'Arlésienne (play by A. Daudet) (1872).ORCH.: Overture (c.1855); sym. in C (1855); Scherzo et Marche funèbre (1860–1); Roma, sym. (1860–8, rev. 1871); Marche funèbre (1868–9); Petite Suite (1871, orch. of Nos. 2, 3, 6, 11, and 12 from Jeux d'enfants, pf. duet 1871); L'Arlésienne, suite No.1 (1872; suite No.2 is by Guiraud); Patrie, ov. (1873).CHORAL: Valse in G, 4 vv., orch. (1855); La Chanson du Rouet, solo v., 4 vv., pf. (1857); Clovis et Clotilde, cantata (1857); Te Deum, sop., ten., 4 vv., orch. (1858); Vasco de Gama, ode-symphony (1859–60); La Mort s'avance, 4 vv., orch. (1869).PIANO: Grande Valse de Concert in E♭, Nocturne in F (1854); 3 Esquisses Musicales (1858); Chants du Rhin (1865); Variations Chromatiques de Concert (1868); Nocturne in D (1868); Jeux d'enfants (Children's Games), 12 pieces, pf. duet (1871).SONGS: Vieille Chanson (1865); Après l'hiver (1866); Feuilles d'Album, 6 songs (1866); Chants des Pyrénees, 6 folk-songs (1867); Berceuse (1868); La Coccinelle (1868); Absence (1872); Chant d'Amour (1872); Sérénade: O, quand je dors (1870); 12 extracts from unperf. stage works all fitted with new words (pubd. 1886).