Paul Paray: The conductor who popularized Florent Schmitt’s ballet La Tragédie de Salomé (1907/10) for half a century.

Music history tells us that the French conductor Paul Paray (1886-1979) gave more first performances of Florent Schmitt’s compositions than any other director. Indeed, Maestro Paray premiered nearly a dozen of the composer’s creations spanning more than a quarter-century, including the following works: Trois rapsodies, Op. 53, January 29, 1928 Cinq motets, Op. 60, January 21, 1934 In Memoriam, Op. 72, […]

French pianist Bruno Belthoise talks about keeping Florent Schmitt’s Une semaine du petit elfe Ferme-l’oeil (1912) part of his performing repertoire over the years.

In 2013, one of the earliest interviews I conducted for the Florent Schmitt Website + Blog was with the French pianist Bruno Belthoise.  I had discovered him from YouTube, where several movements of Florent Schmitt’s piano four-hand suite Une semaine du petit elfe Ferme-l’oeil, Opus 58 had been uploaded from a performance he gave at the […]

Music critics at France-Musique evaluate current recordings of Florent Schmitt’s ballet La Tragédie de Salomé (1907/10).

Their designation of Paul Paray’s classic reading with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra as the best overall recording is echoed by France-Musique’s listener audience. As part of its popular broadcast series La Tribune des critiques de disques, in October 2017 the French national public radio channel France-Musique aired a two-hour program in which a roundtable panel of eminent […]

Arts critic Steven Kruger talks about the music of Florent Schmitt and its place in France’s “Golden Age” of classical music.

One of my favorite critics on the international classical music scene today is Steven Kruger, who is a reviewer for New York Arts and Fanfare magazine.  What is particularly special is Kruger’s way of tying his music criticism to broader cultural and artistic undercurrents, often making fresh and novel connections that go unnoticed by others. […]

Musicologist Megan Varvir Coe talks about the Symbolist roots of Florent Schmitt’s ballet La Tragédie de Salomé (1907/10).

Along with his concert band masterpiece Dionysiaques, La Tragédie de Salomé, Op. 50 is French composer Florent Schmitt’s best-known score.  But most music-lovers know only the version that Schmitt prepared in 1910 for large orchestra.  Three years earlier, an original version twice as long had been created by Schmitt for the American dancer Loïe Fuller, who presented it at […]

French conductor Fabien Gabel talks about Florent Schmitt’s Ronde burlesque (1927) … and why he champions the music of this composer around the world.

Fabien Gabel is one of France’s leading conductors of the younger generation, with an international career. He has been music director of the Orchestre Symphonique de Québec since 2012, and this year was also named music director of the Orchestre Français des Jeunes, succeeding David Zinman.  In addition, he guest-conducts regularly in the United States and major […]

Bill Barclay, music director of Shakespeare’s Globe, talks about bringing Florent Schmitt’s Antony & Cleopatra (1920) to the Hollywood Bowl and the Barbican Centre.

Florent Schmitt’s incidental music to Antoine et Cléopâtre, Op. 69 is one of the composer’s most intriguing works – a bright star in the constellation of sumptuous “orientalist” compositions created by this French master. The music was composed for André Gide’s 1920 adaptation of Shakespeare’s play, with the role of Cleopatra performed by the celebrated […]