Carmen Fantasie (1946) is a virtuoso showpiece for violin and orchestra. It is considered by many to be one of the hardest pieces in the violin repertoire. The piece is part of Franz Waxman’s score to the movie Humoresque. The music, based on various themes from Georges Bizet’s opera Carmen (and an adaptation from the similarly titled work of Pablo de Sarasate), was initially meant to be played by Jascha Heifetz. However, he was replaced by a young Isaac Stern for the first recording of the score. Stern’s hands can be seen in the close-up shots from the movie.
The piece was immediately popular, and was recorded commercially by Stern and Heifetz the year of its release. As the violin edition of the work was composed and first recorded in 1946 it is under copyright.