Celebrating 25 Years of Excellence

L’Arlésienne – Alphonse Daudet and Georges Bizet


Catalogue No: SOMMCD 0682
Release Date: 2024-02-09
Number of Discs: 1
EAN/UPC: 748871068223
Artists: , , , , ,
Liner Notes

SOMM RECORDINGS is delighted to announce a revelatory new perspective on Georges Bizet’s much-loved L’Arlésienne with the re-issue of his complete stage music for Alphonse Daudet’s play and a new dramatization of Daudet’s original short story by Jon Tolansky.

First staged in 1872, L’Arlésienne is, as Tolansky remarks in his illuminating notes, an “evocative and poignant tale about broken love set in a small Provençal community”. One that inspired Bizet “to compose some of the most heartrendingly poignant tones he ever created”.


More familiar in the two Suites extracted from the theatrical score, L’Arlésienne is heard here in its original, complete version, reconstructed by Dominique Riffaud in a rare, 1985 recording by Orféon Donostiarra and Orchestre national du Capitole de Toulouse conducted by Michel Plasson.

A bonus track features a new adaptation of Daudet’s short story, dramatized and narrated by Tolansky, and illustrated by musical excerpts from Bizet’s incidental music.

The Minuetto from L’Arlésienne was featured on SOMM’s Favourite Orchestral Classics by the Philharmonic Concert Orchestra and Iain Sutherland (ARIADNE 5012), hailed “an exquisite collection” by Classical Music Daily, while two pieces from Carmen were given a mischievous jazz treatment on the Art Deco Trio’s Classical Changes (SOMMCD 0663), declared by Gramophone as “exemplary”.

A noted, widely published and broadcast music commentator and documentary maker, Jon Tolansky’s previous SOMM collaborations include Mahler Pioneers (ARIADNE 5022-2), hailed as “a major addition to the catalogue” by OperaWire, and the International Classical Music Award-nominated Serge Koussevitzky Conducts the London Philharmonic –Live (ARIADNE 5017-2). More recently his exclusive interview with Ian Partridge was featured in the Gramophone Editor’s Choice release of the tenor’s Schubert songs accompanied by his sister, Jennifer Partridge, Stimme Der Liebe (SOMMCD 0670).



On This Recording

L’Arlésienne, Op. 23 Act I
  1. Prélude (6:34)a
  2. Trois Mélodrames (2:01)
  3. Chorus et Mélodrame – Mélodrame et Choral Finale (3:24)b
Act II
  1. Pastorale (Entracte et Chorus) (5:18)b
  2. Trois Mélodrames (1:53)
  3. Chorus – Deux Mélodrames – Finale (4:11)b
  1. Mélodrame Finale (3:34)a
Act IV
  1. Entr’acte (tempo di minuetto vivo) – Carillon (4:32)
  2. Mélodrame (6:47)
  3. Mélodrame – Choral Finale (2:19)b
Act V
  1. Entr’acte et Chorus – Deux Mélodrames – Finale (11:03)b
  1. L’Arlésienne – Dramatized adaption of Alphonse Daudet’s short story (21:28)c

aJacques Noureddine, saxophone
bOrféon Donostiarra, Antxon Ayestarán, chorus master
Orchestra national du Capitole de Toulouse
Michel Plasson, conductor
cJon Tolansky, narrator