Florent Schmitt and Heitor Villa-Lobos: An enduring friendship anchored in music.

Throughout his lengthy career, the French composer Florent Schmitt maintained personal friendships with many of his counterparts.  He was at the center of musical life in Paris, having particularly close relationships with Maurice Ravel, Albert Roussel, Gabriel Pierné, Paul Dukas, Gabriel Fauré, and numerous other French composers, in addition to helping the careers of younger […]

Danse des Devadasis (1908): Florent Schmitt’s masterful evocation of the temple dancers of South India.

“What I find most astonishing about this piece is the fact that such heightened intensity and élan is achieved in record time … Florent Schmitt packs in the musical imagery required to make us imagine in our minds — and feel in our bodies — the dancing rites and rituals of the Devadasis. He makes […]

In Florent Schmitt’s 150th birthday anniversary year, a new recording featuring the composer’s vocal music is being prepared.

Funding from Florent Schmitt aficionados around the world is being sought to help underwrite the project. As we embark on the 150th birthday anniversary year of Florent Schmitt, who was born in 1870, it is particularly gratifying to discover that this milestone is being recognized in increased programming of Schmitt’s music in Europe, North America, […]

Pièces romantiques (1900-08): Florent Schmitt’s “transitional” suite for solo piano.

Throughout his lengthy creative career which spanned more than seven decades from the 1890s to the 1950s, the French composer Florent Schmitt would create vast swaths of piano music. For a composer who possessed considerable pianistic talents of his own, it seems completely fitting that he would do so — and predictably, many of the […]

Late bloomer? Florent Schmitt’s La Tragédie de Salomé (1907/10) is now making a splash with regional orchestras and student ensembles.

Of Florent Schmitt’s major compositions, undoubtedly the one that has achieved the greatest fame over the decades is the ballet La Tragédie de Salomé, which Schmitt created for the dancer Loïe Fuller who presented the hour-long “mimed drama” at the Théâtre des Arts (now the Théâtre Hébertot) in Paris in 1907. That original version of La […]

Musicologist and conductor César Leal talks about the impresario Gabriel Astruc and his consequential role in Parisian musical and artistic life in the early 1900s.

Not long ago, I compiled a listing of published biographies, other books and dissertations that cover music and the arts in Paris during the time of Florent Schmitt’s career as a composer (roughly the 70-year period from 1890 to 1960).  Among the many documents I discovered, one of the most interesting was one that focused […]

Florent Schmitt’s strikingly inventive Quartet for Trombones and Tuba (1946): Leaving the ‘oompah’ behind.

It’s quite likely that many music-lovers who know of French composer Florent Schmitt are most familiar with his “big” pieces scored for large orchestral forces, overlaid with sparkling orchestration in the grandest post-Rimsky tradition.  And it’s true that many of Schmitt’s best-known works are just those kinds of compositions — pieces like La Tragédie de Salomé, […]