Music Composers

Georges Bizet-Part 5

He soon acquired great reputation as a wonderful reader. Nobody, indeed, understood as he did how to arrange at sight for piano the most intricate orchestra scores. Berlioz was one of the first to recognize the exceptional talent of the young artist.

After the death of Zimmermann, Bizet entered the composition classes of Halevy. The author of La Juive received him with open arms and declared that he was already fit to take part at the contest for the Grand Prix. Bizet however did not try until 1856. After long hesitation the jury decided that the first prize could not be awarded; and Bizet was given only a second prize, probably on account of his tender age.

In 1857 he won, together with his classmate, Leqoecq, a prize offered by Offenbach for an opera buffa. Bizet, however, did not persist in this frivolous direction, but began in the same year a lyric scene, Clovis and Clotilde, which won him the honor of laureate of the Academy. The cantata was performed by the Institute and had a decided success. Bizet went to Rome full of enthusiasm and hope for the future, carrying with him a letter of recommendation by the Italian maestro Carafa to Mereadante in Naples. Although many considered in that time the prescribed travel to Rome nearly useless for musicians, who could not find in the Eternal City the same inspiration as the painters and sculptors sent by the French government, Bizet was happy to find himself transplanted in the country of the azure sky and of joyous life. There he wrote an opera buffa, Don Procopio, whose libretto had been formerly put to music by Fioravanti. Auber, one of the judges of the Institute, laid is aside, and it was discovered only thirty-five years later by Malherbe, the librarian of the opera and performed after another eleven years at the theatre in Monte Carlo with great success.

The Etude Magazine July 1921





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