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 […]

In Memoriam: Florent Schmitt’s tribute to his teacher and mentor Gabriel Fauré (1922-35).

During his time as a student at the Paris Conservatoire, Florent Schmitt had his share of esteemed teachers including Jules Massenet, Théodore Dubois, André Gédalge and Albert Lavignac. But Gabriel Fauré, who along with Massenet were Schmitt’s two instructors in composition, was his favorite teacher and also arguably the most influential one. Time and again, we can hear […]

Florent Schmitt Goes to Germany: Reflets d’Allemagne (1902-05).

For music-lovers who aren’t very familiar with the music of Florent Schmitt, they may well think that the composer is German. Or at the very least, they might assume that the music bears a strong resemblance to Germanic musical style. Of course, for those who know Schmitt and his artistry, they realize that any “German” musical influence falls well-behind French influence […]

Florent Schmitt’s Best-Known Early Composition: Soirs (1890-96)

Generally speaking, music lovers who know the works of French composer Florent Schmitt are most familiar with his compositions dating from the early 1900s onward. Far less known are the numerous works the composer created in the years before the appearance of the startling and celebrated Psaume XLVII, which Schmitt composed in 1904 in Rome and which received its premiered in […]

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 […]

Just announced: The premiere recording of Florent Schmitt’s own version of Ombres for piano and orchestra, featuring French pianist Vincent Larderet, soon to be released.

  While the French composer Florent Schmitt wrote vast quantities of music for solo and duo-pianists, the concertante pieces he composed for piano and orchestra are few. In fact, there are just two of them. One is the Symphonie Concertante, a daringly modern work Schmitt composed in 1931 on commission from Serge Koussevitzky and the […]

Spirit of the Dance: Florent Schmitt’s Suite sans esprit de suite (1937-38)

In the last two decades of his long life and extensive musical career, the composer Florent Schmitt would devote much of his energies to creating instrumental music and pieces for voice and choir. Indeed, by and large Schmitt’s later-career output eschewed the full orchestra — with a number of notable exceptions, among them the Introït, récit et congé […]

French Pianist Vincent Larderet Talks about Performing and Recording the Music of Florent Schmitt

To say that Vincent Larderet is one of the most accomplished of the younger generation of classical pianists would be an understatement. As a Steinway Artist, Mr. Larderet has attracted international recognition by virtue of the exceptional intensity of his performances and commercial recordings, praised by critics not only in his native France but also in Continental […]

Florent Schmitt and Ralph Vaughan Williams: A Friendship Over Five Decades

The cover story in the Ralph Vaughan Williams Society Journal, published in October 2014, focuses on the half-century friendship between the French composer Florent Schmitt and his English counterpart. The two composers were near contemporaries of one another — Schmitt was older by two years — and they died within mere days of each other in […]

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 […]

A Surprising Collaboration and Friendship: Florent Schmitt and Frederick Delius (1894-1934)

One interesting yet virtually unknown early chapter in Florent Schmitt’s musical life involved the work he did in creating the piano/vocal reduction scores of the first four operas of the English composer Frederick Delius (1862-1934). These efforts began around 1894 when Schmitt was not yet 25 years old, with the transcription of Delius’ opera Irmelin.  The […]

Brilliance and Sophistication: Florent Schmitt’s Trois Rapsodies for Two Pianos (1903-04)

One of the most satisfying of Florent Schmitt’s extensive trove of music for piano duet and duo – and the one that is my personal favorite of all of them – is Trois Rapsodies, Op. 53, a work he composed in 1903-4. Made up of three movements titled Française, Polonaise and Viennoise, it is a work that fully engages […]

Florent Schmitt’s Crépuscules (1898-1911): Richly evocative tone painting in the finest French pianistic tradition.

Composed between 1898 and 1911, Florent Schmitt’s Crépuscules, Op. 56 is a set of four pieces for solo piano that was published in 1913. It’s one of the most compelling French piano works of the period.  It also looks forward to Ombres which came along just a few years later — and which is probably the composer’s ultimate […]

L’Eventail de Jeanne: When Florent Schmitt teamed up with his compatriots to create an “omnibus” ballet (1927).

Throughout classical music history, “omnibus” compositions have been rather rare – and for the most part, they’ve been forgotten shortly after their celebrated premieres. Perhaps the earliest one of these interesting concoctions that has at least remained on the fringes of the repertoire is Hexameron — a morceau de concert put together in the late […]

The Invencia Piano Duo Completes its Florent Schmitt Series on the Grand Piano Label

“[Florent Schmitt’s four-hand piano works are] probably the finest in the whole modern repertoire. Sanely modern and splendidly constructed (they are a joy to play), his large output — in quality and inspiration — stands alone, and his genius finds full expression in this form.” — Alec Rowley, English composer and keyboard artist One of […]