Arrangements of Bizet’s masterpiece are so common that I expect one soon in American Sign Language. In 1967 the Russian composer Rodion Shchedrin (born 1932) arranged a suite from Carmen as a one act ballet for his wife the incomparable Maya Plisetskaya. The instrumentation is very unusual – strings and percussion. When the first recording of the work was released shortly after its premiere it garnered a lot of attention. This 2002 rendition is performed by the Chamber Orchestra Kremlin under the direction of Misha Rachlevsky.
Shchedrin achieves a dazzling effect with his clever orchestration. When listened to on a very good audio system with the sound turned way up it sweeps the listener away. Here’s part of the piece’s sixth number titled Scene.
The suite lasts a little more than half an hour. The remainder of the disc contains Schedrin’s Four Moscow Photographs and his Glorification.
For a complete list of his work go here.