Conductor Fabien Gabel talks about the strategy behind his October 2021 “Salome-centric” concert with the Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse.

Recently, French conductor Fabien Gabel returned to the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse to lead a concert of music by composers from the 19th and early 20th centuries.  The choice of repertoire was interesting in that it had a distinctly “Salome-centric” cast — featuring the music of Florent Schmitt and Richard Strauss.  But the […]

Quatre pièces (1901): Florent Schmitt’s early suite for violin and piano.

Like many composers who came of age during the late 1800s, French composer Florent Schmitt’s formative years were influenced by the prevailing musical currents of the day. In the case of Schmitt, Schumann was an early influence, as was Wagner. But by the time Schmitt entered the Paris Conservatoire in 1888, other influences were making […]

Pianist and musicologist Frank Cooper talks about discovering Florent Schmitt’s Trois rapsodies (1903-4) and preparing a pioneering recital performance of the piece with Martin Marks in 1967.

Among the most impressive music channels on YouTube are two that are run by Helen Moritz, who has uploaded a wealth of rare piano performances from yesteryear. Ms. Moritz has painstakingly searched for audio recordings of recitals given by some of classical music’s greatest pianists.  Among the artists are Jorge Bolet, Mieszyslaw Horszowski, Raymond Lewenthal, […]

Members of the Kebyart Ensemble talk about Florent Schmitt’s Quartet for Saxophones (1941) and its preeminent position in the saxophone repertoire.

The piece will serve as the centerpiece of Kebyart’s ECHO Rising Stars concert programs being presented in 13 European countries between September 2021 and May 2022. Formed in 2014, the Kebyart Ensemble is one of Europe’s most promising saxophone quartets. The group is making a name for itself on concert stages throughout Europe, and also […]

Chant du soir (1895): An early composition by Florent Schmitt comes into its own — 125 years after its creation.

Up until recently, familiarity with the earliest compositions of Florent Schmitt was rather scant.  The composer’s first works were created in the decade leading up to his winning the Prix de Rome first prize for composition in 1900. It was the period after Schmitt had completed his music studies at the conservatory in Nancy and […]

Håkan Hardenberger and Fabien Gabel talk about making their new orchestral recording featuring twentieth century French trumpet concertante works, including Florent Schmitt’s Suite en trois parties (1955).

In August 2021, the renowned trumpet virtuoso Håkan Hardenberger joined with conductor Fabien Gabel in Stockholm to make a recording of several gleaming jewels of twentieth century French trumpet concertante music. Together with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Hardenberger and Gabel have recorded a program that includes: Henri Tomasi: Trumpet Concerto (original version – 1948) […]

Pianist Biljana Urban talks about her new recording featuring world premiere renditions of works by Florent Schmitt.

Five premiere recordings are part of the new collection devoted to the solo piano music of the composer, scheduled for release in October 2021 on NAXOS’s Grand Piano label. Over his long career, French composer Florent Schmitt created many piano compositions — a body of work spanning more than a half-century from the early 1890s […]

Scènes de la vie moyenne (1950): Florent Schmitt’s late-career work for orchestra.

During the latter years of Florent Schmitt’s long and illustrious career, the composer turned his creative talents increasingly toward music for scored small instrumental forces.  Among the notable achievements of this late creative period are the fascinating (and challenging) String Trio (1944) and String Quartet (1948), as well as a group of compositions that showcase […]

Something borrowed, something new: Exploring the recurring musical themes and passages in Florent Schmitt’s catalogue of works.

It isn’t uncommon for classical composers to create alternate versions of their musical creations.  Many have prepared piano reductions of their orchestral works, or done the opposite by orchestrating pieces originally written for piano. We also have numerous examples of pieces that began life as chamber music that were later orchestrated by their creators; the […]

French author Emmanuel Jourquin-Bourgeois talks about the life of his grandfather, Pierre Bourgeois, and his consequential tenure as head of Pathé-Marconi during the 1950s.

Recently, several photos were uploaded to Twitter that had been taken at a social event in Paris celebrating the release of the first-ever commercial recording of Florent Schmitt’s stunning choral composition Psaume XLVII.  Held in February 1953 at Pathé-Marconi headquarters, the event was attended by tout Paris – at least in terms of the classical […]

Chaîne brisée (1936-37): Florent Schmitt’s posthumous tribute to his friend and fellow-composer Paul Dukas.

Living and working as he did throughout the entirety of France’s “Golden Age” of classical music, Florent Schmitt was well-acquainted with all of the significant composers of the day in Paris.  Among the most famous of them — Achille-Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, Albert Roussel and Paul Dukas — the latter three were particularly close friends […]

Nine important compositions of Florent Schmitt to be featured in the upcoming 2021-22 concert season by orchestras in Avignon, Berlin, Detroit, Geneva, Hamburg, Kyoto, La Coruña, Malmö, Metz, Osnabrück, Paris, Rochefort, Saratoga Springs, Tokyo, Toulouse and Urbana.

In a classical music world finally emerging from the COVID-19 crisis, orchestras are beginning again to program “large orchestra” works that had been embargoed due to social distancing requirements. It bodes well for French composer Florent Schmitt’s big, highly colorful scores. The year 2020 was one of several important anniversaries for classical music composers.  The […]

Simplicity meets virtuosity: Florent Schmitt’s a cappella vocal masterpiece En bonnes voix (1938).

Throughout his extraordinarily long and productive life, the French composer Florent Schmitt would return again and again to the human voice.  His earliest catalogued compositions dating from the 1880s were various mélodies, and his final work was the Messe en quatres parties for mixed chorus and organ, completed just a few months before his death […]

Members of the Prisma String Trio talk about preparing, performing and recording Florent Schmitt’s endlessly fascinating Trio à cordes (1944).

It was a dream come true for the three Prisma musicians, who prepared for nearly a decade before venturing into the recording hall to document their interpretation of Florent Schmitt’s stunning creation: “a string trio with sextet ambitions.”  Music-lovers who are familiar with Florent Schmitt’s artistry are most likely to know his big orchestral compositions, […]