Posted by ricardo marcenaro | Posted in Music: Georges Bizet - Symphony No. 2 Roma (1861) - Data - Links | Posted on 12:26
Georges Bizet - Symphony No. 2 Roma (1861)
I. Andante Tranquillo - Allegro Agitato - 00:00
II. Allegretto Vivace - 12:41
III. Andante Molto - 18:36
IV. Allegro - Vivacissimo - 26:34
The Symphony in C "Roma" is the second of Georges Bizet's symphonies. Unlike his first symphony, also in C major, which was written quickly at the age of 17, Roma was written over an eleven-year span, between the ages of 22 and 33 (he died at age 36). Bizet was never fully satisfied with it, subjecting it to a number of revisions, but died before finishing his definitive version. All four movements were performed in his lifetime, but never all on the same occasion. The full symphony in its latest revision was premiered in 1875, after his death. It is perhaps because of Bizet's dissatisfaction that the work is often said to be "unfinished". However, in the form in which it exists today, it is certainly finished and is fully scored. It has been recorded a number of times but is not often heard on the concert platform.
Bizet won the Prix de Rome in 1857, which required him to spend the following two years studying free of charge at the French Academy in Rome, followed by a year studying in Germany. He never went to Germany, but stayed in Rome until July 1860. Rather than returning to Paris straight away, he did some touring through Italy, seeing places he had not visited in his earlier travels in 1858 and 1859. In Rimini he first planned a symphony with each of the four movements dedicated to a different Italian city – Rome (opening movement), Venice (Andante), Florence (Scherzo) and Naples (finale). He may have made some early sketches at this time. When he got to Venice he learned that his mother was seriously ill, so he returned home immediately.
By 1861 he had written the Scherzo, still generally considered the best movement of the work. It was performed privately in November 1861, and received a public performance on 11 January 1863, conducted by Jules Pasdeloup at the Cirque Napoléon, at which Camille Saint-Saëns was present. It was poorly performed and provoked a hostile reaction from many concert subscribers. Nevertheless, it was given another performance on 18 January at the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, and this time received a much more positive reaction.
By 1866 he had written his first version of the complete work, in which the first movement was a Theme and Variations, but he was dissatisfied and set about undertaking a total revision. In 1868 he revised it yet again. Three movements of the revised score, minus the Scherzo, were performed on 28 February 1869, under the title Fantaisie symphonique: Souvenirs de Rome, again conducted by Pasdeloup. The movements were given programmatic titles Une chasse dans la Forêt d'Ostie, Une Procession and Carnaval à Rome (this was the movement meant to depict Naples). But Bizet was still not happy, and proceeded to revise it once more. By 1871 he seems to have dropped work on his revisions, being focussed on other projects.
The full symphony in its latest known version was premiered after his death, in 1875. The work was published in 1880 as Roma, and it probably incorporates some of his changes made in 1871.
In form, the work stands somewhere between a symphony and a symphonic suite. Grove's Dictionary says: "It is not sufficiently explicit for programme music and too carelessly constructed for an abstract symphony". Despite Bizet's description of it as a "symphony", it has often been classified in reference works as a suite. In some sources, it is even numbered as "Symphonic Suite No. 3". Another reason for the alternative title is that his earlier symphony was in the same key, C major, and it was believed by some that calling his second symphonic venture a suite would be less confusing. However, this renaming could only have occurred after 1935 (60 years after Bizet's death), when the very existence of his first symphony, the Symphony in C, was made known to the world for the first time.
Roma is a very unequal work. The Scherzo is usually singled out as its best movement, full of liveliness and grace. The outer movements contain both brilliance and academic pedantry, and the slow movement is not generally well regarded, sometimes being described as "ponderous and boring". However, Gustav Mahler thought highly enough of Roma to conduct the Vienna premiere in 1898-99, and to expose American audiences to it on his 1910 tour. Its actual United States premiere was on 11 November 1880 at the Metropolitan Concert Hall, conducted by Theodore Thomas. The New York Times critic of the time said that, while there was much in the work to admire, it was crude in arrangement and had an air of incompleteness about it.
The four movements of Roma are:
Andante tranquillo, leading to an Allegro agitato (C major)
Scherzo - Allegretto vivace
Andante molto (F major)
Allegro vivacissimo (Finale).
The work takes about 31 minutes to play.
Georges Bizet photographed in about 1860
During a brilliant student career at the Conservatoire de Paris, Bizet won many prizes, including the prestigious Prix de Rome in 1857. He was recognised as an outstanding pianist, though he chose not to capitalise on this skill and rarely performed in public. Returning to Paris after almost three years in Italy, he found that the main Parisian opera theatres preferred the established classical repertoire to the works of newcomers. His keyboard and orchestral compositions were likewise largely ignored; as a result, his career stalled, and he earned his living mainly by arranging and transcribing the music of others. Restless for success, he began many theatrical projects during the 1860s, most of which were abandoned. Neither of his two operas that reached the stage in this time—Les pêcheurs de perles and La jolie fille de Perth—were immediately successful.
After the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71, during which Bizet served in the National Guard, he had little success with his one-act opera Djamileh, though an orchestral suite derived from his incidental music to Alphonse Daudet's play L'Arlésienne was instantly popular. The production of Bizet's final opera, Carmen, was delayed because of fears that its themes of betrayal and murder would offend audiences. After its premiere on 3 March 1875, Bizet was convinced that the work was a failure; he died of a heart attack three months later, unaware that it would prove a spectacular and enduring success.
Bizet's marriage to Geneviève Halévy was intermittently happy and produced one son. After his death, his work, apart from Carmen, was generally neglected. Manuscripts were given away or lost, and published versions of his works were frequently revised and adapted by other hands. He 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 theatre.
Georges Bizet (pronunciado [ˈʒɔʁʒ biˈzɛ]), formalmente Alexandre César Léopold Bizet (París, 25 de octubre de 1838 - Bougival, 3 de junio de 1875), fue un compositor francés, principalmente de óperas. En una carrera cortada por su muerte prematura, alcanzó escasos éxitos hasta su última obra, Carmen, que se convirtió en una de las obras más populares e interpretadas de todo el repertorio operístico.
Bizet ganó varios premios a lo largo de su brillante carrera como estudiante en el Conservatorio de París, incluyendo el prestigioso Premio de Roma en 1857. Fue reconocido como un pianista excepcional, aunque prefirió no aprovechar su habilidad y en raras ocasiones tocó en público. Tras regresar a París después de pasar casi tres años en Italia, se dio cuenta de que en los principales teatros de ópera parisinos se prefería interpretar el repertorio clásico más arraigado antes que las obras de nuevos compositores. Sus composiciones orquestales y para teclado fueron asimismo ignoradas en su gran mayoría, lo que estancó su carrera por lo que tuvo que ganarse la vida principalmente mediante arreglos y transcripciones de la música de otros. En su busca del ansiado éxito, comenzó varios proyectos teatrales durante la década de 1860, muchos de los cuales abandonó. Ninguna de las dos óperas que se llegaron a escenificar —Los pescadores de perlas y La bella muchacha de Perth— tuvieron éxito de inmediato.
Tras la guerra franco-prusiana de 1870–71, en la que Bizet sirvió en la Guardia Nacional, tuvo algo de éxito con su ópera de un acto Djamileh, aunque la suite orquestal derivada de su música incidental de la pieza teatral L'Arlésienne de Alphonse Daudet tuvo un éxito instantáneo. La producción de la última ópera de Bizet Carmen fue retrasada debido al miedo de que sus temas de traición y asesinato pudieran ofender a la audiencia. Tras su estreno el 3 de marzo de 1875, Bizet estaba convencido de que la obra iba a ser un fracaso; murió de un ataque al corazón tres meses más tarde, sin saber que resultaría un éxito espectacular y duradero.
El matrimonio de Bizet con Geneviève Halévy fue feliz de manera intermitente y fruto del cual tuvieron un hijo. Tras su muerte, sus composiciones, excepto Carmen, estuvieron en general desatendidas. Regalaron o se perdieron los manuscritos y las versiones publicadas de sus obras a menudo eran revisadas y adaptadas por terceros. No creó escuela ni tuvo discípulos ni sucesores evidentes. Tras años de abandono, sus obras se empezaron a interpretar de nuevo con más frecuencia en el siglo XX. Críticos posteriores lo han proclamado como un compositor de gran brillantez y originalidad cuya muerte prematura significó una gran pérdida para la música teatral francesa.
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