Music Composers

Georges Bizet-Part 6

A Humiliating Letter

In 1859 young Bizet was on his way to Naples to bring to Mercadante the letter of Carafa. Curious to see the contents of the missive, he opened it and - oh disillusion! - he read, "Il giovae che ti ci mettera - questa lettera ha fatto ottimi studii. Ha avato la prima ricompensa del nostro conservatorio, Ma secondo la mia debole opinione non sara mai un compositore teatrale, perche non ha estro per un...."(here an untranslatable word).

"The youth who will bring you this letter has had a thorough musical training. He won first prize at our conservatory, but, according to my modest opinion, he never will success as a composer of opera as he has not genius for a fig."

"Old idiot," exclaimed Bizet, "I will write thy biography and give this autograph at the end." How he was glad of his indiscretion. "I decided," he wrote, "never to give out of my hands a closed letter of introduction."

I am tempted to relate here, as a kind of intermezzo, a similar case, although it has nothing to do with Bizet. A waelthy Russian lady, whom I happened to know in St. Petersburg, was sent to Carlsbad with a closed letter of recommendation of her doctor to another doctor in Carlsbad. She was alos curious to read the content of the letter, and having opened it, she read: "I send you a golden goose. I have plucked her for a long time, now you may pluck her in turn." Flattering! Is it not?

Some of the older French musicians remember having seen old Carafa at the conservatory. He died 1872.

The Etude Magazine July 1921





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