Welcome news in that Florent Schmitt’s Suite for Flute & Orchestra, Opus 129, is receiving its world premiere recording by flautist James Strauss, with Laercio Diniz conducting the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra.
The Suite was composed in 1954 when Schmitt was 84 years old. It was dedicated to the great French flautist Jean-Pierre Rampal — who however, did not perform the work, considering it “atrociously difficult.” Instead, the Suite was premiered in April 1959 as part of a posthumous concert tribute to the composer, who had died the previous August, presented by the Friends of Chamber Music.
The second public performance of the Suite happened in October of the same year, featuring flautist Max Larrieu and pianist Jean Arnaud.
The four movement suite is a good example of Schmitt’s late style — with a nice blend of contemporary and neo-Romantic elements. This YouTube clip contains brief excerpts from each movement: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0xS37o1K6k, and the entire recording of the Suite can be heard here.
The balance of the recording consists of music by Darius Milhaud and Heitor Villa-Lobos.