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 […]

Clavecin obtempérant (1945), Florent Schmitt’s endlessly fascinating harpsichord suite created for Marcelle de Lacour.

Over a lengthy career spanning more than seven decades, the French composer Florent Schmitt created numerous works that showcased the special qualities of various different instruments — including some that are not so often the “featured celebrities” in scores. As an accomplished keyboard artist, it’s no surprise that the composer’s catalogue of works contains many […]

Pianist Alain Lefèvre reminisces about working with the great French violinist Christian Ferras, and together preparing Florent Schmitt’s Sonate libre (1918-19) for tour.

To younger music-lovers, the name Christian Ferras may not be well-recognized. But Ferras, who lived from 1933 to 1982, was one of the finest violinists of the 20th century. Unfortunately, it was a career cut short by suicide at the age of just 49 years, but during his 25 years on the stage, Christian Ferras established a reputation as an uncommonly fine […]

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 […]