The Romantic Composer Georges Bizet Essay Research

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The Romantic Composer Georges Bizet Essay, Research Paper Georges Bizet, who is best known for his opera, Carmen, has remained somewhat of a mystery as far as his musical education, social life, and personal life. He is not like so many other composers and musicians of the Romantic Period who led a highly publicized life like Hector Berlioz, Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, or Johannes Brahms. He spent his short life devoted to music and he did not quite make it into the limelight like these other Romantic composers. The most believable explanation for his obscurity would be the lack of scandal in his life. He had a happy childhood, was well awarded with musical scholarships, and a happy marriage. Georges Bizet grew up in a musical house. His father was a singing teacher and his

mother was a well-known pianist who had attended the Paris Conservatory. His parents encouraged him in music. His father was confident that his son would become a great musician. His father was actually too supportive of his musical education. He had been known to hide young Georges? other school books so he would not be distracted from his musical studies. He received his first music lesson from his mother when he was just four years old. She was teaching him to read music at the same time she was teaching him his alphabet. Bizet was enrolled in the Paris Conservatory when he was nine years old. This was a special exception arranged by his uncle who taught at the Conservatory, since Bizet was still a year younger than the minimum age requirement. Here he studied piano, organ,

singing, harp, strings, woodwinds, and composition. His instructors were the composers Charles Gounod, who is known for his opera Faust, and who is considered the greatest musical influence in Bizet?s life. And Jacque Halevy, who wrote the opera LaJuive, is also considered an important musical influence. He had a unique, unstructured teaching style. Halevy would listen to and correct his students but he would never require them to do any specific types of composition. This was to affect Bizet throughout his life as he would be known to start and abandon work after work. This was blamed directly on Halevy?s lack of discipline. At age fifteen, Halevy tried to convince Bizet to go and compete for the Prix de Rome. Bizet refused sighting his immaturity and need for additional

background. During his time as a student he wrote Symphony in C Major (1855), which was not performed during Bizet?s lifetime, but from it?s first performance in 1935 it has become an established symphony in a standard repertoire. Bizet won a number of awards during his time at the Conservatory including First prize in piano when he was fourteen. He also won a First Prize in fugue and organ when he was seventeen; the year of his Symphony in C Major. Bizet remained at the Conservatory until he was eighteen. Bizet first competed for the Prix de Rome when he was eighteen. The competition ended in a tie and the judges decided not to award a first prize but two second prizes instead. Second prize was free tickets to all of the lyric theaters in Paris. This in itself would have been a

nice prize but not in comparison to spending four years in Rome studying music. None the less, the prize proved to be useful as Bizet?s next composition turned out to be a theater piece. Finally on his second attempt at the coveted prize he was awarded the Prix de Rome when he was nineteen. This prize entitled him to four years at the Villa Medici in Rome with all expenses paid. It was in this same year that he tied for first place in a contest sponsored by Jacques Offenbach who was trying to raise awareness of the operetta, then very popular in Paris. All contestants were given the same libretto, Le Docteur Miracle. Bizet?s winning composition was produced at a small Paris theater. Ten days after his arrival in Rome Bizet was asked to play at one of the Villa Medici?s Sunday