Music Composers

Georges Bizet-Part 7

Returned home Bizet found himself in the usual condition of all young musicians, trying to meet the cost of living through piano lessons, piano transcriptions, orchestrating dance music and waiting for an opportunity. This opportunity presented itself quite unexpectedly. Count Walewsky, minister of fine arts, preparing to retire from his office, made a gift of 100,000 francs to the Theatre Lyric. Bizet was the first to benefit by the ministerial generosity, receiving the commission to compose to the Libretto, The Pearl Fishers, which however did not meet with an over enthusiastic reception.

To the Oriental hues of the Pecheurs des Perles and of his later opera Diamileh followed the poetically perfumed Arlesienne, on a Drama of Daudet. The first performance of this work took place in 1872.

Bizet's Masterpiece

To Carmen, however, Bizet owes the greatest part of his fame. It was performed in 1878 and received rather indifferently. The prelude of the second act was encored, the Toreador aria and the quintet applauded; but that was all. Bizet was deeply depressed; but at the fifth performance the public commenced to show more appreciation. The most ridiculous accusation against the work was that of immorality. Also a number of minor indictments were expressed. Some found his harmonic combinations too daring, some his concessions to the popular taste to vulgar.

The Etude Magazine July 1921





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