Just after turning 17, French composer Georges Bizet began writing a Symphony apparently as an assignment while a student at the Paris Conservatory. He finished it roughly a month later then forgot about it for the rest of his life, probably considering it just a student’s exercise. He never wrote about the symphony in any letters or papers, and its very existence remained unknown. That is, until after his death when his widow gave an archive of the composer’s papers to the Paris Conservatory library, where many years after the donation, it was discovered in 1933.
Eighty years after it was written and sixty years after the composer’s death the Symphony in C had its premiere in 1935 and caused a sensation. It was immediately hailed as a youthful masterpiece the equal of Felix Mendelssohn’s early music and additionally compared to Haydn, Mozart, Schumann and even Beethoven. Within a short time the previously unknown symphony was performed widely and has since become a standard in the concert repertoire. The legendary George Balanchine even choreographed it into a ballet in 1947. Hear this masterpiece that Bizet humbly suppressed today at 2:00pm on CapRadio Music.
December 17, 2021