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 two instruments were the flute 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 large majority of these […]

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 […]