The French composer Georges Bizet was born in 1838, the child of musical parents, who did a great deal to encourage his interest in music, distracting him from other pursuits by hiding books from him. In 1848 he entered the Conservatoire in Paris, where he became a pupil of the composer Gounod, while distinguishing himself as a pianist under Marmontel.
In 1857 Bizet won the Prix de Rome, the prize awarded to those young composers, painters and writers able to pass the rigorous scrutiny of the examining committee, and in accordance with the terms of the award was able to study in Rome. His return to Paris in 1860 was to bring disappointment. He had some success with earlier operas, but it was Carmen, a work that was enjoying its first run in Paris at the time of his death, that in the end had the profoundest effect on the public, arousing equal measures of enthusiasm and hostility.
Conductor: Alfred Scholz
Orchestra: London Festival Orchestra