Symphony in C
Les Siècles/François Xavier Roth
Mirare MIR 036
Bizet wrote his songs in the days before they had been elevated to ‘high art’, but they are unfailingly charming and include such classics as the sultry ‘Adieux de l’hôtesse arabe’.
Ann Murray (mezzo-soprano), Graham Johnson (piano)
Hyperion CDA 66976
Best-known in its orchestral guise, the two piano version gives a more complete collection of these affectionate vignettes of children at play. Great fun.
Tamara Granat, Daniel Propper
Bizet’s incidental music to Daudet’s stage play, The Girl From Arles, perfectly captures its Provence setting; his imaginative orchestration includes an early pre-jazz use of saxophone.
Choeur de l’Opéra de Lyon; Les Musiciens du Louvre, Grenoble/Marc Minkowski
Naïve V 5130
Easily Bizet’s single most famous work, his deft characterisation and the sheer tunefulness of his opera sounds as fresh as ever.
Grace Bumbry, Jon Vickers; Orchestre de Paris/Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos
Classics for Pleasure 367 6962
Freya Parr is BBC Music Magazine's Digital Editor and Staff Writer. She has also written for titles including the Guardian, Circus Journal, Frankie and Suitcase Magazine, and runs The Noiseletter, a fortnightly arts and culture publication. Freya's main areas of interest and research lie in 20th-century and contemporary music.