Chaîne brisée (1936-37): Florent Schmitt’s posthumous tribute to his friend and fellow-composer Paul Dukas.

Living and working as he did throughout the entirety of France’s “Golden Age” of classical music, Florent Schmitt was well-acquainted with all of the significant composers of the day in Paris.  Among the most famous of them — Achille-Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, Albert Roussel and Paul Dukas — the latter three were particularly close friends […]

Florent Schmitt and the piano collection à l’Exposition: Musical vignettes of the Paris Exposition of 1937 (La Retardée).

For students of history, the International Exposition of Art and Technology in Modern Life — colloquially known as the Paris Exposition of 1937 — is one of those events that’s been the subject of much sociological dissection, seeing as how it was the last great transnational gathering held on the European continent prior to the […]

Israeli pianist and pedagogue Tomer Lev talks about planning and producing the new NAXOS recording of the Tombeau de Claude Debussy (1920) complete anthology.

“What stands out in Schmitt’s work is the hypnotic-impressionist atmosphere, verging on the surreal. Both the atmospherics and the piano writing … hint very strongly at Debussy’s own aesthetic world.  It creates a kind of spiritual dialogue that Schmitt conducts with his late older colleague.” — Tomer Lev, pianist and pedagogue In late 2020, NAXOS […]

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 […]

Florent Schmitt takes a breather: Petites musiques for solo piano (1906).

Within the extensive catalogue of compositions by Florent Schmitt are a great many works for piano – including solo, duet and duo-pianist pieces. Most of this output dates from the composer’s early years of creativity from about 1890 to the mid-1920s, although several additional sets of solo piano pieces would be published in the runup […]

Pièces romantiques (1900-08): Florent Schmitt’s “transitional” suite for solo piano.

Throughout his lengthy creative career which spanned more than seven decades from the 1890s to the 1950s, the French composer Florent Schmitt would create vast swaths of piano music. For a composer who possessed considerable pianistic talents of his own, it seems completely fitting that he would do so — and predictably, many of the […]

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 and performers. 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 […]

Simplicity, elegance and wit for the small fry: Florent Schmitt’s piano suite Small Gestures (1940).

Although he played the flute and the organ, French composer Florent Schmitt’s main instrument was the piano. So it should come as little surprise that when we look at Schmitt’s extensive catalogue of 138 opus numbers plus several additional creations, piano works comprise the largest single component of his output. On the other hand, Schmitt’s most […]

Infectious elegance and so much more: Florent Schmitt’s Trois valses nocturnes (1901).

French composer Florent Schmitt’s abilities as a pianist were considerable. Even so, he characterized the piano as “a convenient but disappointing substitute for the orchestra.” Taking a look at Schmitt’s piano scores, what’s immediately apparent are the technical demands that are required to do the music justice.  It’s akin to what the French pianist Alfred Cortot famously […]

French music specialist Michael Feingold talks about creating orchestrations of Maurice Ravel’s piano and vocal scores.

Regular readers of the Florent Schmitt Website + Blog know that sometimes we “relax the routine” and publish an article that focuses on a different composer – usually a contemporary of Schmitt. Of the many fellow composers who Schmitt interacted with during his lengthy career, one with whom he shared an enduring professional and personal bond […]

Musiques intimes (1891-1904): Captivating piano miniatures by Florent Schmitt that reveal the composer in his most introspective moods.

Florent Schmitt may be best-known for his opulent orchestral scores, most of which were written in the first three decades of the 20th century. But Schmitt’s compositional career, which spanned more than seven decades beginning in the late 1880s, contains so much more than just those creations. Taking a look at the composer’s extensive catalogue — […]

Feuillets de voyage: French composer Florent Schmitt’s musical travel diary (1903-5).

Often, composers “favor” instruments that they themselves know how to play.  Florent Schmitt’s own instruments were the piano, organ and flute, so it shouldn’t be too surprising that a significant number of this composer’s creations would feature these instruments. In particular, Schmitt was a highly proficient pianist, which helps explain the expressiveness and effectiveness of his piano compositions […]

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 […]

Exploring dance forms down through the ages: Florent Schmitt’s Trois danses (1935).

Florent Schmitt’s three instruments were the flute, the organ and the piano. Arguably the piano was the one he preferred most — at least based on the quantity of music he created — for within the catalogue of Schmitt’s compositions are vast swaths of music written for the piano solo, piano duet and duo. The […]

Enfants (1940): Florent Schmitt’s evocation of the world of childhood.

During his lengthy career, the French composer Florent Schmitt would periodically turn to the subject of children for musical inspiration – often involving pieces written for piano. In the early 1900s Schmitt composed four collections of piano duets featuring easy primo parts for young pupils. Sur cinq notes (1906); Trois pièces récréatives (1907); Huit courtes pieces […]