Music Composers

Georges Bizet-Part 4

The child was admitted to the piano classes of Mermontel, the renowned teacher of Paladilhe, Duvernoy, Wieniawsky and Dubois. Six months later he won the first prize for solfege. It was then that he was introduced to the old Professor Zimmerman, who for a long time had headed the courses of counterpoint and fugue; and, although Zimmerman had decided to retire from teaching, he made an exception in favor of young Bizet, and took him as his pupil in counterpoint. It was under this famous educator that Bizet had his first tuition in the pure science.  These wonderful chances are not given to every young musician. It must be owned, however, that this good fortune was brought about by the rare gifts of the boy.

Being, however, in poor health, Zimmerman often turned over his disciple to Charles Gounod, another inspiring teacher, who soon took the greatest affection for Bizet. He worked simultaneously for the two classes, and 1851 he captured again a prize for piano. The next year, being 14 years old, he divided the first prize with his colleague Savary.

A Remarkable Virtuoso

Marmontel in his book Symphonistes et Virtuoses writes about him: "Bizet was a remarkable virtuoso, a fearless reader and a model accompanist. His execution, always sure and brilliant, had acquired a broad sonority and a great variety of colors which imparted to his playing an unusual charm. He excelled in modulating the tone under the gentle or intense pressure of his fingers and in rendering luminous the melody, veiled however by the transparent harmonies. One was fascinated by the suavity and fluency of his touch."

The Etude Magazine July 1921





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