First-ever recording of Florent Schmitt’s ballet Le petit elfe Ferme-l’oeil (1923) to be released.

Little Fairy Sleepy-Eyes, printed by Tolmer for Duffield (1923)

The English-language version of the children’s book, printed by A. Tolmer in Paris for Duffield Publishing Co. (1923).

Timpani, the French CD label that specializes in recording unfamiliar French repertoire of the romantic and modern eras, has just announced plans to release the first-ever recording of Florent Schmitt’s children’s ballet, Le petit elfe Ferme-l’oeil, Opus 73.

The Ferme-l’oeil score is quite interesting in that it began life in 1912 as a suite of seven movements for piano duet (Schmitt’s Opus 58).

In the early 1920s, the composer orchestrated and expanded the score, turning it into a 45-minute full-length ballet that was premiered at the Paris Opéra in 1924.

It’s infectious music that deserves pride of place next to Maurice Ravel’s Ma Mère l’Oye, another other French children’s ballet that also started out as a piano duet suite.

Jackes Mercier, French conductor

Passionate advocate for Florent Schmitt’s music: French conductor Jacques Mercier.

I wrote about this music a few months back, noting at that time the lack of a recording of the full ballet score.

Now Timpani is rectifying this yawning gap in Schmitt’s discography – and doing it in great style with a sparkling performance by Jacques Mercier directing L’Orchestre National de Lorraine.

Although the recording isn’t set for release until January 2014, Timpani is providing a great foretaste of this special disk by publishing an audio clip of the first number in the ballet, La noce des souris  (The Gathering of the Mice).

Florent Schmitt Le Petit elfe Ferme-l'oeil score Durand

A vintage copy of the score to Florent Schmitt’s ballet Le Petit elfe Ferme-l’oeil, first mounted at the Paris Opera in 1923.

We owe a debt of gratitude to Maestro Mercier, who has been an advocate of Florent Schmitt’s music and who has brought us fine recordings of such scores as Antoine et Cléopâtre, Mirages and Salammbó.

Timpani record label logo… And likewise to the Timpani label, which has been offering up brilliant recordings of these “exotic flowers of late romanticism” since 1990.

2 thoughts on “First-ever recording of Florent Schmitt’s ballet Le petit elfe Ferme-l’oeil (1923) to be released.

  1. Pingback: Forgotten Records: Resurrecting noteworthy recordings of Florent Schmitt’s music from the LP era. | Florent Schmitt

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