A Short Video Just for You — George Bizet


It is short! It is dynamic! It is informal! Join me for short stories behind wonderful pieces of music that will lift up your spirit! I love to look for every details of circumstances and inspirations leading composers to create: why Beethoven wrote his symphony no. Six, why Tchaikovsky chose to compose Eugene Onegin, Dvorak his Stabat Mater or Rimsky-Korsakov Sheherazade.

I am curious and so I set to read composers's letters, biographies, analyses of their own music, reviews....Equally I am fascinated by the stories of instruments, their origin, their journey of development, how they travelled the world to end up in the hands of instrument makers who made out of them treasures producing unforgettable sounds.

All my findings are translated into these short videos that will be coupled with a video featuring the actual music I introduce. For each blogpost there will be one video.

My first choice is a French composer George Bizet (1838-1875) and his incidental music for a play by a playwright

A. Daudet, "The Girl from Arles" ("L'Arlesienne"). The play premiered in Parisian Vaudeville Theater on 1 October, 1872, produced and commissioned by a wonderful director of the theater, Leon Carvalho. The play failed, closing after 21 performances, but it revived with a success in Odeon Theater in 1885, unfortunately ten years after Bizet's death.

Bizet was unhappy about the failure of the play, but very happy with that music, receiving excellent reviews and praise from his colleagues. To give the music a chance to be performed, he extracted from the 27 music numbers several and created a Suite "The Girl from Arles", and it became quite popular.! After George Bizet's death, his close friend and a composer Ernest Guiraud put together one more Suite "The Girl from Arles", called suite no 2 consisting form the mentioned incidental music and other Bizet's work. I chose to present you "Farandole", a last movement from this very Suite No 2.

And here is a disclaimer! It is my very first featured video, I just sat down and spoke what I learned, imagining that some of you may find it interesting enough to clap at the end! (A joke intended.)

It is not perfect as I am far from a perfect Youtuber! But! Every word I say to you is propelled by my love to share the beauty of music with you.

And here is the beauty of George Bizet 's music. Suite no. 2, "L'arlesienne", "Girl from Arles", last movement called "Farandole". Enjoy a wonderful Estonian conductor Paavi Jarvi!

Definition of some terms and background of several names:

Incidental music: music written for a function — a ballet, play, film, video games, opening ceremonies, special occasion... (As oppose to "absolute" music written art for art sake.)

Suite: the was first used in 16.century, but the form of a collection dances united by the same key appeared already in 14. century. The hight of this form came with G. F.Handel and J.S. Bach. Suite in 1800's lost the tradition of featuring standard dances, and instead featured either folk dances or excerpts from ballets, operas, film music, etc.. E.g. Nutcracker Suite or our featured music "The Girl from Arles" suite.

"Suite" may be also called partita or overture.

Farandole: a fast dynamic chain dance from Provance; dancers hold hands and walk into various formations.

Leon Carvalho (1825–97)— a wonderful director of various theaters, especially Theater Lyrique, giving chance to many French composers not favored by the Parisian Opera; he helped produced work of Berlioz, Bizet, Saint-Saens, Delibes; it is important to know that many times producers were crucial for a development of music!

Ernest Guiraud (1837-92, born in New Orleans to French parents) — a close friend of Bizet, after Bizet's death, he changed spoken dialogue of Carmen into recitatives, it has as many proponents as opponents. He also arranged twelve numbers from Bizet's Carmen into two Carmen Suites. He is especially famous for finishing Hoffmann's Tales for Offenbach who died before finishing his opera.

Thank you for watching and reading! Hope you will visit me again!