Scottish composer Alistair Hinton talks about the influential artistry of Florent Schmitt.

“Florent Schmitt’s artistic legacy is of such importance that his work deserves all the exposure it can get. Once it has done so, it’s no exaggeration to say that the history of French music in the 20th century will have been rewritten.” — Alistair Hinton, composer and music scholar One of Florent Schmitt’s most ardent […]

Just Announced: Prisma String Trio to make a new recording of Florent Schmitt’s extraordinary Trio a cordes (1944).

It will be just the third time the work has been commercially recorded — and the first one in more than three decades. Among French composer Florent Schmitt’s extensive chamber music creations are a string trio and string quartet that he composed during the waning days of World War II and immediately following. It was […]

Florent Schmitt’s strikingly inventive Quartet for Trombones and Tuba (1946): Leaving the ‘oompah’ behind.

It’s quite likely that many music-lovers who know of French composer Florent Schmitt are most familiar with his “big” pieces scored for large orchestral forces, overlaid with sparkling orchestration in the grandest post-Rimsky tradition.  And it’s true that many of Schmitt’s best-known works are just those kinds of compositions — pieces like La Tragédie de Salomé, […]

French-American conductor David Grandis talks about discovering the music of French composer Max d’Ollone and championing his repertoire in the concert hall.

Regular readers of the Florent Schmitt Website + Blog know that occasionally we “relax the routine” a bit and delve into the artistry of other composers — particularly ones who lived and worked in the same time period as Schmitt.  (See, for example, these articles about Stravinsky, Ravel and Zandonai.) Another such person is Max […]

Canadian pianist Linda Ippolito talks about discovering and performing Pupazzi (1907), Florent Schmitt’s whimsical tribute to Commedia dell’Arte characters.

Over the past 20 years, the vast majority of Florent Schmitt’s music for piano solo has been rediscovered by a new generation of music-lovers. Moreover, nearly all of this music has been commercially recorded at least one time. However, one piano composition, Pupazzi, Opus 36 (Puppets), hasn’t been part of the revival, and the work […]

Diverse winds: Florent Schmitt’s late-career quintet Chants alizés (1951-55).

In his later period of creation, French composer Florent Schmitt would turn to the sonorities of wind instruments for a goodly number of his creations. This may seem surprising for an artist who had made his reputation on his numerous “big orchestra” compositions along with a noteworthy collection of “orientalist” creations.  But if we recall […]

Andantino (Vocalise): Florent Schmitt’s most versatile composition (1906).

The French composer Florent Schmitt was known for creating multiple versions of many of his compositions. Throughout his lengthy career, time and again the composer would produce additional arrangements of his works featuring different sets of instruments. To illustrate, many of Schmitt’s orchestral works were also published in piano reduction scores (solo, duet and/or piano […]

Keyboard musician Emmanuel Pélaprat talks about Florent Schmitt’s Chant de guerre (1914) and preparing transcriptions for the Musiciens et la Grande Guerre series of recordings (Editions Hortus).

One of the most artistically significant and vital projects to come out of the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of World War I is a group of 35 recordings published by Editions Hortus in its Musiciens et la Grande Guerre series.  These recordings have been issued over a five-year span – each one based on […]

Musicians of the Scarab Club Chamber Music Series Talk About Preparing and Performing Florent Schmitt’s Quartet Pour presque tous les temps (1956).

On October 7, 2018, Detroit’s Scarab Club Chamber Music Series launched its 21st season with a performance of Florent Schmitt’s quartet Pour presque tous les temps, Op. 134 (“Quartet for Almost All the Time”), a late-career work for flute, violin, cello and piano created by Schmitt in 1956 when the composer was 86 years old. […]

American cellist Elisa Kohanski talks about Florent Schmitt’s Chant élégiaque (1899-1903) and its debt to Gabriel Fauré’s Élégie.

Over a composing career of seven decades, Florent Schmitt would pen music featuring nearly every instrument of the symphony orchestra in a solo capacity. The cello was no exception. In fact, Schmitt composed three concertante pieces featuring the cello — one each during his early, middle and late period of creativity.  The earliest of the […]

Fascinating, complex sonorities: Florent Schmitt’s String Trio (1944).

“So dense, so many notes, so many double-stops. So hard to play in tune together, so tricky to balance and to make it sound natural.  But what special notes they are!”    — Michiel Weidner, Prisma String Trio In the latter part of his career, the French composer Florent Schmitt turned his attention to musical […]

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 […]

Habeyssée (1947): Florent Schmitt’s rich and colorful suite for violin.

Even though he is justly famous for his highly colorful and opulent orchestrations, Florent Schmitt’s own instrument was the piano mainly (although he also played the organ and flute). And during his early years as a composer, much of what he created was a vast quantity of music for piano, as well as for voice […]

Substance as well as style: The Quartet for Strings (1948) of Florent Schmitt.

During the extraordinarily long musical career of Florent Schmitt — which spanned 70 years from the late 1880s to the late 1950s — the composer created works for many combinations of instruments. Early on, there were vast swaths of piano music. Then came the sumptuous orchestral creations between 1900 and the onset of World War […]

Members of the Mélomanie chamber ensemble talk about the music of Florent Schmitt and preparing his Sonatine en trio (1936) for performance.

In April 2017, the Delaware-based chamber group Mélomanie presented Florent Schmitt’s Sonatine en trio, Opus 85, an intimate and engaging piece for flute, clarinet and harpsichord the composer created in 1936. The Schmitt Sonatine was part of a fascinating program that featured seven works stretching from the 1600s (Marin Marais) through to contemporary pieces by Nicolas Bacri, Shulamit […]