Georges Bizet - Symphony No. 2 "Roma" (1871)

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Bartje Bartmans
Published at : 28 Jan 2021
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Georges Bizet (25 October 1838 – 3 June 1875), registered at birth as Alexandre César Léopold Bizet, was a French composer of the romantic era. Best known for his operas in a career cut short by his early death, Bizet achieved few successes before his final work, Carmen, which has become one of the most popular and frequently performed works in the entire opera repertoire.

Symphony No. 2 in C major, "Roma" (1861-1871)

1. Andante tranquillo, leading to an Allegro agitato (0:00)
2. Scherzo – Allegretto vivace (12:44)
3. Andante molto (17:54)
4. Allegro vivacissimo (Finale) (26:35)

Philharmonia orchestra conducted by Enrique Bátiz

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 a complete work and is fully scored. It has been recorded a number of times but is not often heard on the concert platform.

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.[
francesymphonyromanticism

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