A service of Cincinnati Public Radio  

Georges Bizet:
Christmas Carols in Classical Music

In celebration of the Christmas season, some classical compositions that have Christmas carols in them.

Music heard in this episode:
Vaughan Williams: Vaughan Williams: Fantasy on Greensleeves
Bach: Bach: Von Himmel Hoch Variations
Nicolai: Nicolai: Christmas Overture
Brahms: Brahms: Viola Song #2
Charpentier: Charpentier: Noels sur les Instruments
Mendelssohn: Mendelssohn: Hark the Herald Angels Sing
Respighi: Respighi: Three Botticellian Pictures
Bizet: Bizet: Farandole from L’Arlesienne Suite

Other shows about Georges Bizet:
About Georges Bizet
Jewish Composers (for Chanukah)
Harmonic Texture in the Farandole
Firsts for the New Year

Download this month's activity sheet

About Georges Bizet
10/25/1838 - 6/3/1875
Born in France

Georges Bizet was born in Paris, France. Both his parents were musicians, and they actually wanted their son to become a composer when he grew up! Bizet loved music, but he also loved to read books. His parents wound up hiding his books so that he would spend more time on his music.

When Georges was 10 years old, his father enrolled him in the Paris Conservatory. While he was there, he wrote his only symphony, but it wasn't performed until many years after he died. Bizet graduated from the Conservatory with awards in both composition and piano.

Bizet also composed operas. His most famous opera is Carmen. When Carmen first opened in Paris, the reviews were terrible. Many critics said there were no good tunes in it, so audiences stayed away.

In the middle of the night during the first round of Carmen performances, Bizet died. He was only 36. Four months later, Carmen opened in Vienna, Austria, and was a smash hit. It is now one of the most popular operas ever written. Bizet never knew that audiences would come to consider it his masterpiece.

Bizet was also very good at writing dramatic music. The music he wrote for the play L'Arlesienne (The Girl from Arles) is still enjoyed today.

See other composers born in France


This Week's Quiz:

1. Who wrote the Fantasia on Greensleeves?

Edward Elgar

Ralph Vaughan Williams

Gustav Holst

Georges Bizet

2.Who wrote the music for the Christmas carol Hark the Herald Angels Sing?

Johann Sebastian Bach

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Felix Mendelssohn

Johannes Brahms

3. The Farandole from the L'Arlesienne Suites opens with a French carol called

The March of the Kings

Silent Night

O Come All Ye Faithful

Away in a Manger


Georges Bizet
L'Arlésienne Suite

Composed in 1872
Performed by Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra
Anthony Bramall, conductor

Talk to us
We love to hear your comments on Classics for Kids.

Get the Classics for Kids Volume 1 & 2 CD set for your family

Home | This Week's Show | Past Shows | Composers | Games | Music | More | For Grownups
On the Radio | Events | Links | Contact Us
Teachers | Parents | About Classics for Kids | Privacy Policy
©2017, Cincinnati Public Radio, Inc.