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 […]

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 […]