The Aragonaise – Carmen Suite No 1 – Bizet

The Carmen Suites are two suites of orchestral music drawn from the music of Georges Bizet’s 1875 opera Carmen and compiled posthumously by his friend Ernest Guiraud. They adhere very closely to Bizet’s orchestration.

Today in the music library project we look at The Aragonaise (literally a person or thing from Aragon, a region in Spain) is a “dance of Aragon” which appears as the Interlude (entr’acte) before the Opera’s fourth act.

This is a delightful piece; a highly animated and whimsical Spanish dance number. It certainly got me into a good headspace this morning when I played it loud. James Reel at described The Aragonaise as ‘full of colorful woodwind writing over sharply accented, percussion-splashed rhythms‘.

A failure at its premiere, Bizet’s Carmen began to find its enormous success only a few months later- and sadly a few months after its composer’s death. More music will feature from the Carmen Suites where we will explore further Carmen – the Opera as well as composer Georges Bizet.

The information above was extrapolated from two sources: namely Wikipedia – Carmen Suites (Bizet/Guiraud) and – Carmen Suite for orchestra No. 1 (assembled by Ernest Guirard).

“The more I live, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realize, the less I know.”- Michel Legrand

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18 comments on “The Aragonaise – Carmen Suite No 1 – Bizet
  1. badfinger20 says:

    I closed my eyes and got some privacy and listened to this with headphones. I loved it…there is so much going on that you have to listen close to hear it all. Beautiful piece Matt.

    • That’s a great way of listening to it. I kind of meditated on it one morning and as I mentioned it just made feel really bright and chirpy. You’re right.. there is just so much going on with it especially with the percussions.

      Did you watch the MLB game last night? Spectacular. To see Chapman and Altuve lined up against each other.. Wow.

  2. macalder02 says:

    Although this opera is rejected in 1875 because its protagonists were townspeople and gypsies, it was later the most represented in the entire world. This suite No. I is a delight to listen to on a calm Sunday. Thanks for sharing.

  3. selizabryangmailcom says:

    One of my favorites.
    So sad that the success came after his death, probably spurred on, in fact, by his passing.
    This reminds me of how Jim Carrey was struggling to make it and his father died right before he really hit it big (Dumb and Dumber).
    Not an even comparison, I know, but stirs up the same bittersweet feelings…..

  4. selizabryangmailcom says:

    I had to look up both sets of artists. Why am I so out of the loop, lol ??! Thanks for enlightening me, tho. One always has to wonder at talented, youthful people who die young and what does it mean? The father/son situation was incredibly sad. I can’t believe I’ve never heard of them! And when you look at the pictures–wow. It’s like they were twins. He looked exactly like his father. And then to drown………? A stupid accident? *sigh*

    In Jim Carrey’s case, his family fell into financial hardships and everyone in the family had to get a job at one point while Jim was still a teenager. Later, his father was extremely supportive of Jim’s stand-up and would drive him to gigs and whatnot. But the money troubles continued and at one point Jim Carrey says they were homeless and all living in some kind of motor vehicle, maybe a van. It was rough!

    But Bizet’s Carmen… complete a work like that and on a whim people decide “Eh” and it’s just complete BS, people’s whims, and he died before the tide turned. But if he was confident in what he’d created, on the other hand, he wouldn’t need the mob to give him accolades, I guess. He would know deep down it was something good and be proud of it regardless of public opinion.

    • Speaking of the father Tim Buckley, I wrote about his beautiful song ‘Song to the Siren’ which featured in Heath Ledger’s standout Australian movie ‘Candy’. You can hear his version and read about the movie here:

      I don’t know much about his son Jeff who achieved more fame in his lifetime than his dad. His cover of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ received much acclaim although I personally prefer Rufus Wainright’s version which featured in the concert-doco about Leonard – ‘I’m Your Man’.

      Although I have always admired Jim Carrey since his Ace Ventura days I didn’t know the extent of his family’s hardships. It sounds as though his father was his biggest fan and enabled him to get where he needed to be to strut his unbelievable talent. You can’t put a price on that.

      I like your reflections about how Bizet may have felt about his own creation. I’m sure there were many like him in the classical world that knew how good their stuff was, but died so destitute or young without seeing the fruits of their labor. Mozart and Puccini come to mind.

  5. selizabryangmailcom says:

    That is a very sad clip and although the movie itself is probably a downer, from your telling it’s well worth it. Just looking at that clip made ME sad all over again about Heath’s passing.
    Thanks for the clip. Song to the Siren is very beautiful and moving. And, boy, what a curly fro he had, huh?! It was impressive. 🙂

    • Yes, Tim Buckley had some set of hair on him! My god I love that song, especially the version made for the movie.I’m glad you were moved by it.
      I’ll never forget Daniel Day Lewis’ words about Heath’s performance in Brokeback Mountain. Not many actors has his command of the English language.

  6. selizabryangmailcom says:

    Wow, yeah, having Mr. Lewis compliment another actor period–what an honor. I’m sure Heath heard him, somehow.

  7. selizabryangmailcom says:

    Yeah, that’s true. He was amazing on Brokeback. More self-contained and quietly tortured compared to Gyllenhaal who was able to emote more, which I think is easier. But a difficult role for two straight guys, I would think! A challenge, I imagine. The short story was beautiful.
    Annie Proulx is one of my favorite writers.

  8. See, your description about both their roles is exemplary. That’s what makes you a great writer. I couldn’t do that in a thousand years.
    I haven’t read the short story which the movie is based on, but you make it feel compulsory reading. I hope I read it one day.

  9. selizabryangmailcom says:

    Whoa, thanks a lot, Matthew! That’s one of the nicest things I’ve heard in a long, long time, and I appreciate it. In general, not just about writing, ha.
    I have seen your writing, though, and I don’t believe you, but that’s okay. Still a nice compliment! 🙂

  10. selizabryangmailcom says:

    🙂 🙂 🙂

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