Carmen Fantasy (Sarasate)
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The Carmen Fantasy, Op. 25, by Pablo de Sarasate is a violin fantasy on themes from the opera Carmen by Georges Bizet. Sarasate composed it in 1883, just as the opera was beginning to gain in popularity.
The Carmen Fantasy is one of Sarasate's most well known works and is often performed in violin competitions. Because of its delicate techniques and sanguineous passion inspired by the opera, it is considered to be one of the most challenging and technically demanding pieces for the violin. In technical terms, this composition is slightly more difficult than Sarasate's other popular virtuoso work Zigeunerweisen (Gypsy Airs).
The work consists of five movements.
- Allegro moderato
- After a short introduction by the orchestra, the violin plays material from the Aragonaise, the entr'acte to act 4. Techiques include glissando, flageolet and pizzicato.
- This movement uses material, extensively ornamented, from the Habanera from act 1 ("L'amour est un oiseau rebelle").
- Lento assai
- Carmen's mocking treatment of Zuniga in act 1 ("Tra la la ... Coupe-moi, brûle-moi") is the theme for this movement; it ends in a flageolet.
- Allegro moderato
- The Seguidilla from act 1 ("Près des remparts de Séville") is here with ornaments including pizzicato, trill, glissando.
- This movement is based on the scene at the beginning of act 2 where Carmen and her friends Frasquita and Mercédès are entertaining Zuniga and other officers ("Les tringles des sistres tintaient"); it ends with virtuoso tempo acceleration.
The work is scored for 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, timpani, tambourine, harp and strings. There is also an adaptation of the Carmen Fantasy with piano accompaniment.
- Carmen Fantasy: Free scores at the International Music Score Library Project
- Carmen Fantasy on YouTube with Sarah Chang (violin), Plácido Domingo (conductor), Berlin Philharmonic
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