The vitality, rich color, abundant and varied melody, and masterly orchestration of Bizet's Carmen also enliven his incidental music for Alphonse Daudet's play L'Arlésienne (The Woman of Arles). Despite hostile reviews at its premiere, one critic proclaimed the score a masterpiece and urged all young musicians to study it.
L'Arlésienne Suites Nos. 1 and 2 consist of selections from Bizet's incidental music. For Suite No. 1, Bizet chose four sections from the original score of 27 episodes, extensively modifying and rescoring the music in the process. The pieces for Suite No. 2 were selected and reorchestrated by Bizet's close friend Ernest Guiraud following the composer's death in 1875. Reproduced here from the authoritative Breitkopf & Hartel editions, they will delight musicians and music lovers.