A Sumptuous Bizet Package

A superb combination of music, packaging and information make this a 'must-own'.

Composer: Bizet
Repertoire: L’Arlésienne Suite; Carmen Suite
Artists: Les Musiciens de Louvre-Grenoble/Marc Minkowski
Rating: 5/5

Genre: Orchestral
Label: Naïve V5130

Naïve has really gone to town with this release. Enclosing the recording is a hardbound, richly illustrated, limited-edition 120-page book that charts the background to Bizet’s work in compelling detail. All of which would have gone for nothing if it hadn’t been for the exceptional quality of French conductor Marc Minkowski’s readings. Opening with the famous Prelude and three entr’actes from Carmen, Minkowski goes on to give an enchanting account of Bizet’s incidental music to Daudet’s play L’Arlésienne (literally translated as ‘The Girl from Arles’), which gains considerably from being performed on an appropriate theatre-orchestra scale. Played like this, these miraculous scores emerge with an engaging freshness to have one falling in love with them all over again.