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L’Arlésienne – Powerful, Dramatic Music by Bizet

Bizet - L'Arlésienne - Painting

L’Arlésienne is a dramatic two part suite that achieves great effect with the most economic of means. Written by Bizet as incidental music to Alphonse Daudet’s play L’Arlésienne (“The Girl from Arles“),  L’Arlésienne was composed for the first performance of the play in 1872. Bizet himself played the harmonium backstage at the premiere performance.

The L’Arlésienne suites contain 27 individual numbers (some only a few bars) for voice, chorus, and small orchestra.

Bizet - L'Arlésienne Album
L’Arlésianne Suites 1 & 2
Carmen Suites 1 & 2



Georges Bizet
Georges Bizet

. Encyclopedia Britannica
. Wikipedia


Georges Bizet was a French composer of the romantic era. Bizet was a prodigy and entered the Conservatoire de Paris at age 9.  Liszt declared Bizet as one of the three greatest pianists in Europe.

Despite the distracting temptation to seek his fortune as a travelling virtuoso, Bizet’s sights remained firmly set on a composing career. Bizet’s music is filled with brilliant melody and color. He instinctively composed with the dramatic conciseness of his idols – Beethoven, Mozart and Mendelssohn.

Bizet is best known for his operatic masterpiece, Carmen, which was his final work. Carmen has become one of the most popular and frequently performed works in the entire opera repertoire. Bizet died when he was 36, from a massive heart attack, just three months after the premiere of Carmen. His prediction that “in order to succeed today you have to be either German or dead” turned out, in one respect, to be tragically prophetic.

Bizet founded no school and had no obvious disciples or successors. After years of neglect, his works began to be performed more frequently in the 20th century. Later commentators have acclaimed him as a composer of brilliance and originality whose premature death was a significant loss to French musical theater.

L’Arlésienne Suites 1 & 2 by Bizet — Conducted by Nathalie Stutzman

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