Carmen Fantasie

George Bizet is principally known for his masterpiece, the opera Carmen. He also wrote a Symphony which is occasionally performed. As is so often the case with famous compositions, a musician comes along who composes a Fantasy or a set of Variations on famous tunes from the opera, and scores it for either orchestra, or for a solo instrument with orchestral accompaniment. (Ravel did so by orchestrating the piano piece called Pictures at an Exhibition by Modest Mussorgsky.) On this CD you’ll hear Pablo de Sarasate’s Carmen Fantasy, which provides the whole disc with its title.

Anne Sophie Mutter’s playing is spectacular! First of all, Ms. Mutter is – in my view – the Queen of the living violinists. Her ability to present a wide variety of repertoire, coupled with her amazing way of playing pianissimos, is nothing but astounding. And she’s always the complete, sensitive musician…

While the CD contains 7 different selections by different composers, the Sarasate Fantasy is selection #6:

Concert Fantasy on themes from Bizet’s “Carmen,” for violin & orchestra (or piano), Op 25

For those of you who know the opera, Carmen, you’ll probably hum along as Ms. Mutter performs these bravura selections. James Levine and the Vienna Philharmonic provide Mutter with outstanding orchestral accompaniment and support. I have been a long-term admirer of Ms. Mutter’s performances. This CD is no exception. Enjoy!

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