International trumpet soloist and pedagogue Reinhold Friedrich talks about the release of his new recording L’Amour française – ten French compositions including the Suite en trois parties by Florent Schmitt (1955).

In March 2017, the German ARS Produktion label will release a new recording consisting of works for trumpet and piano created by ten Francophone composers, featuring the esteemed international soloist and pedagogue Reinhold Friedrich. Titled L’Amour française, the recording is particularly noteworthy in that much of the repertoire is relatively unfamiliar – even to trumpet […]

Horn soloist Corbin Wagner talks about performing Lied et scherzo (1910), Florent Schmitt’s extraordinary double wind quintet composition featuring the French horn.

One of the most fascinating pieces of music featuring the French horn is Florent Schmitt’s Lied et scherzo, Op. 54.  Originally composed in 1910 for double wind quintet in which one of the horns plays an important solo role, subsequently the composer prepared three other versions of this music:  one for horn and piano; another […]

Canadian saxophonist Louis-Philippe Bonin talks about Florent Schmitt’s Saxophone Quartet (1941) and its pride of place in the saxophone repertoire.

Florent Schmitt composed just three works for the saxophone, but all three of them hold a place of prominence in the repertoire. Soloists frequently play the Légende (1918) as well as the Songe de Coppélius (1908).  Both of these are works that are Impressionistic and Romantic in style — with more than a hint of Schmitt’s […]

Julien Columeau, noted French novelist in the Urdu language, talks about the music of Florent Schmitt and how it inspires his writing.

“I’ve learned a good deal in terms of structure by listening to classical music — and particularly to music created by a person like Florent Schmitt.  In fact, I think that a well-structured text, including a share of the predictable and unpredictable, should be modeled on a piece of Schmitt’s music!” — Julien Columeau, novelist […]

Members of the Garth Newel Piano Quartet talk about preparing Florent Schmitt’s Hasards (1943) for performance.

In April 2016, the Garth Newel Piano Quartet presented Florent Schmitt’s piano quartet Hasards, Op. 96 as part of a chamber music program of French music that also included compositions by Ernest Chausson and Maurice Ravel. I was fortunate enough to attend this concert, played in the aesthetically and acoustically pleasing Herter Hall, a former […]

Timpani Records announces its newest Florent Schmitt recording project, featuring a half-century of compositions for wind instruments performed by the Initium Ensemble.

The new recording is scheduled for release in fall 2016. Word has just been received from Stéphane Topakian, head of Timpani Records, that his enterprising label will release its latest Florent Schmitt recording later this year. The new release will include six works composed by Schmitt featuring wind instrumentation. The generously filled recording will contain the following pieces, spanning […]

Musicians Beata Halska and Claudio Chaiquin talk about researching and recording French composer Florent Schmitt’s music for violin and piano.

The new NAXOS recording includes several discographic world premieres, along with the monumental Sonate libre. In mid-2015, NAXOS released a recording devoted to Florent Schmitt’s music for violin and piano.  It contains several world premieres, along with the Sonate libre en deux parties enchainées, Opus 68, a half hour-long stylistically advanced tour de force composed by Schmitt […]

World-premiere recording featuring Florent Schmitt’s works for violin and piano to be released by NAXOS this month (May 2015).

The NAXOS family of labels (NAXOS, Marco Polo, Grand Piano, etc.) has been one of the most active in bringing the music of Florent Schmitt to the microphones.  In fact, its catalogue of Schmitt compositions includes numerous world premiere commercial recordings. And this month, NAXOS is doing it again with the release of a new […]

In the cross-currents of history: An interview with musician and author Alberto Nones about the life and work of Italian composer Riccardo Zandonai.

Faithful readers of this blog know that its focus is nearly 100% on the life and music of French composer Florent Schmitt.  However, occasionally we “relax the routine” to present a different sort of musical topic. Back in 2013, one of those articles was an interview with the Italian pianist and author Alberto Nones about his newly published […]

Delightful Discourses: Florent Schmitt’s A Tour d’anches for Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon and Piano (1939-43)

In his later career, the French composer Florent Schmitt would devote more of his energies to composing works for chamber wind ensemble.  Among those works are his quartets for saxophones, flutes, trombones and tuba, and a sextet for clarinets. But Schmitt also composed two highly engaging chamber pieces for diverse winds: A Tour d’anches, Opus 97 […]

Winsome Winds: Florent Schmitt’s Clarinet Sextet (1953)

While he may be far better known for his lush orchestral scores, French composer Florent Schmitt also explored the emotional range of solo instrumental and chamber ensembles. In addition to a vast trove of music written for solo and duo-pianists, much of which was composed relatively early in his career, in later years Schmitt would turn […]

American violinist John McLaughlin Williams talks about the music of Florent Schmitt and the Sonate libre (1918-19).

“In the 20th century, France was unusually blessed with composers who can be called ‘great’ without question or compromise. It’s arguable that they could be listed with a certain linearity. Debussy, Schmitt, Ravel, Messiaen, Dutilleux; when I think of their music it seems clear to me that they were listening to each other, and those […]

Freshness and vitality win the day: An award-winning performance of Florent Schmitt’s 1956 quartet Pour presque tous les temps at the 2014 NZCT Chamber Music Contest in New Zealand.

One of the most charming late works of Florent Schmitt is his quartet for flute, violin, cello and piano he titled Pour presque tous les temps, Opus 134 (“Quartet for Almost All the Time”). Composed in 1956 for the Quatuor Instrumental de Paris, this four-movement work lasts barely 12 minutes, but is one of the most engaging pieces […]

Shimmering Brilliance: Florent Schmitt’s Andante et Scherzo for Harp and String Quartet (1903-6)

In the early years of the 20th Century, several French composers would pen some highly interesting compositions that have given harp players some great repertoire items in the ensuing decades. The composers in question were Claude Debussy, André Caplet, Maurice Ravel … and Florent Schmitt.  And the instigation was the arrival of the chromatic harp on […]

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

There’s no question that in the past two decades, the breadth and depth of French composer Florent Schmitt’s music that has made it to the microphones has increased dramatically. Nearly every year, we are treated to world premiere recordings of more Schmitt works. The most recent examples are the complete works for piano duo and duet as […]