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Music with Ease > Classical Music > Concert Guide: Romantic Era > Suite No. 1, L'Arlésienne (Bizet)


Little Suite, "Children's Games". Op. 22

(French title: Jeux d'enfants)

Georges Bizet
(1838-75)



The "Little Suite" ("Jeux d'Enfants") is a slight and dainty composition in five movements which has achieved great popularity in spite of its miniature nature. It was first performed in 1880, after the composer's death. The first movement ("Trumpeter and Drummer"), with its crescendo and decrescendo, pierced with brisk trumpet calls and accompanied by the rattle of drums in the distance, clearly describes the approach and gradual dissapearance of a troop of soldiers. The second movement ("The Doll") is a dainty, gentle little melody for the muted strings with responses in the woodwinds over a berceuse accompaniment in a 'cellos, also muted. The third movement ("The Top") is described as an imitation of the spinning of that toy, is whizzing being depicted in the violins, accompanied by a dance melody given out now by the wood winds and again by the strings pizzicato. The Fourth movement ("Little Husband, Little Wife") is a subdued domestic dialogue between the first violins ("Husband") and 'cellos ("Wife"), the nature of which may be left to the imagination of the hearer. That is an agreeable one is sufficiently evident. In the last movement ("The Ball") this charming suite comes to its close with a picturesque and lively dance by full orchestra. Daintiness, delicacy, and piquant melodic charm are its most salient features.





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