Accompanied by the USSR State Symphony Orchestra, one of the greatest violinists of the 20th century, Leonid Kogan performs Carmen Fantasie, a virtuoso showpiece for violin and orchestra that built upon various themes from Georges Bizet’s opera Carmen. The piece is part of Franz Waxman’s score for the 1946 movie Humoresque.

Accompanied by the USSR State Symphony Orchestra, one of the greatest violinists of the 20th century, Leonid Kogan performs Carmen Fantasie, a virtuoso showpiece for violin and orchestra. The piece is part of Franz Waxman’s score for the 1946 movie Humoresque.

Waxman’s Carmen Fantasie

Carmen Fantasie is a dazzling virtuoso showpiece for violin and orchestra composed by Franz Waxman. Originally part of Waxman’s score for the 1946 film Humoresque, this piece earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture. The composition is built upon various themes from Georges Bizet’s opera Carmen and is distinct from the similarly titled Carmen Fantasy by Pablo de Sarasate.

Waxman initially intended the piece to be played by the legendary violinist Jascha Heifetz. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, Heifetz was replaced by a young Isaac Stern, whose hands are prominently featured in the close-up shots during the film’s violin scenes.

After viewing the film, Heifetz was so impressed with the piece that he requested Waxman to expand it for his own performance on the radio program, The Bell Telephone Hour. The expanded work premiered on September 9, 1946, and has since become a beloved piece among virtuoso violinists, frequently performed in concert halls around the world.

Carmen Fantasie is celebrated for its technical demands and emotional intensity. Violinists appreciate the piece for its intricate passages, which require exceptional skill and dexterity. The work brilliantly showcases the violin’s expressive range, moving through a series of moods that capture the drama and passion of Bizet’s original opera themes.

The piece has been adapted for various arrangements beyond the original violin and orchestra setting. These adaptations include versions for trumpet and orchestra, violin and piano, and viola with either piano or orchestra. Each arrangement retains the fiery spirit and virtuosic flair that defines the original composition.

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M. Özgür Nevres

Published by M. Özgür Nevres

I am Özgür Nevres, a software engineer, a former road racing cyclist, and also an amateur musician. I opened andantemoderato.com to share my favorite music. I also take care of stray cats & dogs. This website's all income goes directly to our furry friends. Please consider supporting me on Patreon, so I can help more animals!

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