Conductor JoAnn Falletta talks about performing In Memoriam (1935), Florent Schmitt’s fervent tribute to his teacher and mentor Gabriel Fauré.

On November 12 and 13, 2022, JoAnn Falletta and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra presented one of the most significant entries in the catalogue of Florent Schmitt’s orchestral works — the first part of In Memoriam, Op. 72 (Cippus Feralis). Composed in 1935, it is an extraordinarily beautiful composition, replete with “passion and pathos.” Even though […]

Violinist John McLaughlin Williams and pianist Matthew Bengtson talk about the challenges and rewards of performing Florent Schmitt’s Sonate libre (1918-19).

On October 22, 2022, violinist John McLaughlin Williams and pianist Matthew Bengtson presented an intriguing program of music at a Steinway Society of Michigan event in Detroit. Featured were two rarities — the Frühlings-Sonate by Joseph Marx and the Tallahassee Suite by Cyril Scott — along with Florent Schmitt’s formidable Sonate libre en deux parties […]

From clamorous outsider to consummate insider: Florent Schmitt’s consequential involvement with Parisian artistic organizations (Société des Apaches, Société musicale indépendante, Société nationale de musique, Association de musique contemporaine), 1902-1941.

The music world owes a debt of gratitude to two rival organizations that were at the center of the Parisian arts scene during France’s “Golden Age” of music.   Well into the latter part of the nineteenth century, the symphonic tradition continued to be regarded as the near-exclusive domain of the Austro-German school of music. There […]

Musiques de plein air (1900-04): An orchestral rarity from Florent Schmitt’s early compositional period.

As Florent Schmitt’s star has continued to rise in recent decades, one happy result has been the growing number of recordings helping to fill gaps in the composer’s discography. The trajectory has been real: At the turn of this century, only about half of Florent Schmitt’s compositions had been commercially recorded, but that number is […]

Murky polychromatic worlds: Florent Schmitt’s Trois poèmes de Robert Ganzo (1949)

“It’s as if someone said to you: ‘Throw yourself from a fourth-floor window — and mind you, fall gracefully.’” — Claire Croiza, French mezzo-soprano, on Florent Schmitt’s vocal music Music-lovers who are familiar with Florent Schmitt’s catalogue of works know that vocal compositions comprised an important part of his creative output over a seven-decade creative […]

A seductive austerity: Florent Schmitt’s Quinque cantus (1952)

Recently, an upload appeared on American composer George ‘Nick’ Gianopoulos‘ estimable YouTube music channel that features Florent Schmitt’s late-career choral work Quinque cantus, Op. 121, presented along with the score. It’s one of more than 2,300 score-with-audio uploads that Mr. Gianopoulos has assiduously prepared for the benefit of performing artists and music-lovers the world over […]

Conductor Fabien Gabel is interviewed by Crescendo Magazine about his new recording with Håkan Hardenberger, featuring French music for trumpet and orchestra including Florent Schmitt’s Suite en trois parties (1955).

In June 2022, the BIS label is releasing an important new recording that features French trumpet repertoire performed by the noted soloist Håkan Hardenberger along with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Fabien Gabel.  The recording is the realization of Mr. Hardenberger’s goal to record the trumpet concertante works of Henri Tomasi, André Jolivet, […]

Two rarities are among the compositions of Florent Schmitt to be featured in the upcoming 2022-23 concert season, presented by orchestras in Amsterdam, Berlin, Buffalo, Indianapolis, Lübeck, Saint Louis, Stockholm, Tokyo, Warsaw and Wuppertal.

In addition to multiple presentations of Schmitt’s best-known composition La Tragédie de Salomé, music-lovers will be treated to two mid-career works — In Memoriam and the Symphonie concertante. It comes as no surprise that in the upcoming 2022-23 concert season, various conductors and orchestras will be presenting Florent Schmitt’s ballet La Tragédie de Salomé. Not […]

The first-ever video performance of Florent Schmitt’s Psaume XLVII (1904) is now available to view, courtesy of France Télévisions.

On the evening of May 12, 2022, an unforgettable performance of Florent Schmitt’s monumental Psaume XLVII, Op. 38 was presented at Maison de la Radio in Paris.  For those of us who were lucky enough to attend the concert, it was a performance that will long stay in our memories — so fine was the […]

Conductor Fabien Gabel talks about his musical journey with French composer Florent Schmitt.

On May 12, 2022, the French conductor Fabien Gabel stepped up to the podium in the auditorium of Maison de la Radio in Paris to lead the Orchestre National de France in two works by Florent Schmitt:  the symphonic picture Rêves, Op. 65 (dating from 1915) and the large-scale choral work Psaume XLVII, Op. 38 (composed […]

Hymne à l’eté: Florent Schmitt’s deliriously ecstatic a cappella choral composition for eight-part mixed choir and soloists (1913).

Vocal music comprises an important component of Florent Schmitt’s catalogue of works.  Throughout his long career the composer would return again and again to the human voice, creating many sets of songs along with a wide range of secular and sacred choral music. One of the most intriguing of these works is the a cappella […]

Stretching tonality to the breaking point: Florent Schmitt’s weird and daring Kérob-Shal (1919-24).

Even before the onset of World War I, Florent Schmitt was already known as a pathfinding composer.  Indeed, such works as Psaume XLVII (1904), La Tragédie de Salomé (1907) and the Piano Quintet (1908) had already cemented his reputation as one of the most influential voices among his generation of French composers. But it was during […]

“White-haired, bearded and thoroughly charming”: American contralto Rita Sebastian’s remembrances of performing with Florent Schmitt at Town Hall in New York City (1932).

One of the serendipitous aspects of music history is coming across rare and precious documents that have remained hidden for decades.  Such an occurrence happened this past summer when JoAnn Falletta, music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, received a package in the mail containing a collection of documents pertaining to a recital given by […]

Florent Schmitt’s Quatre lieds (1912): Dark colors and wistful sonorities depicting cryptic, fathomless poetry.

Throughout his lengthy career as a composer, Florent Schmitt would return again and again to the human voice when creating his compositions.  Although Schmitt distanced himself from operatic projects (he created no operas of his own although he  prepared piano-reduction scores of several of Frederick Delius’ operatic scores), Schmitt lavished attention on sorts of other […]

Discovering the man behind the musician: The personal remembrances of French composer Florent Schmitt’s biographer, Yves Hucher (1958).

When the composer Florent Schmitt died in August 1958 at the age of nearly 88 years, many prominent musicians, scholars and journalists wrote words of tribute honoring the last of the “grand generation” of French composers that had included, among others, Debussy, Dukas, Ravel, Roussel, Koechlin, Pierné, Cras, Rabaud, Ropartz and Tournemire. Along those lines, […]