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