Florent Schmitt: Biographies, Dissertations and Other Information Resources on the Composer

Florent Schmitt French Composer

Florent Schmitt, photographed in the early 1920s. (Photo: Lipnitzki/Roger-Viollet)

For many decades, anyone who might have been interested in exploring the artistry of French composer Florent Schmitt was confronted by a scarcity of resources.

It started with recordings; until the early 1970s, the number of commercial recordings of Schmitt’s music totaled fewer than 25 — and some of those dated back to the 78-rpm era.

Circumstances would begin to change in the decades to follow.  Thanks to steady progress, we are now blessed to have well more than half of Florent Schmitt’s extensive catalogue of compositions available for us to hear, whether in physical media or in download form.

As for access to Schmitt’s music scores, thanks to the composer’s long and fruitful relationship with Durand, his main publisher, the composer’s music has remained in the catalogue more or less continuously throughout the six decades following his death. Thus, musicians interested in exploring his works have found this to be a relatively easy endeavor.

Not so with biographies or other books devoted to the composer. Considering his universally acknowledged importance during what was arguably France’s “Golden Age” of classical music (the period from 1890 to 1950), the paucity of written material on Florent Schmitt is as surprising as it is disappointing.

Moreover, most books about Schmitt have been published in French only, making scholarly research on the part of non-native speakers even more of a challenge.

[The lack of information about Florent Schmitt that was available in the English language was one of the key motivations behind the launch of the Florent Schmitt Website + Blog in 2012 — and which has undoubtedly contributed to its positive reception in the years since.]

Despite these challenges, a number of significant books devoted in whole or in part to the artistry Florent Schmitt have been published. Most of them date back many decades and are long out-of-print.  But in the era of the Internet and “e-commerce everywhere,” I’ve found that many of them are easy to track down and purchase from online antiquarian booksellers.  Moreover, some of the volumes have been digitally scanned and are available to download (free or at a nominal charge).

For those who are interested in delving further into the composer’s life and artistry, I recommend exploring the resources below (listed in chronological order by their original date of publication):

Musique francaise moderne Andre CoeuroyLa Musique française moderne: Quinze musiciens français

Author: André Coeuroy

Librairie Delagrave, Paris

1922

In French

 

LPierre0Octave Ferroud Autour de Florent Schmitt 1927‘Autour de Florent Schmitt

Author: Pierre-Octave Ferroud

Durand & Cie., Paris

1927

In French

 

Alfred Cortot La Musique Francaise de Piano Vol. 2 1932La Musique française de piano, Vol. 2

Author: Alfred Cortot

Les Éditeurs Rieder

1932

In French

 

Florent Schmitt

Authors: Louis Aubert; Henry Barraud; Hélène Pignari-Salles

L’Art Musical, Paris

1937

In French

 

La musique en France entre les deux guerres Rene Dumesnil 1946La Musique en France entre les deux guerres: 1919-1939

Author: René Dumesnil

Éditions du Milieu du Monde, Genève – Paris – Montréal

1946

In French

 

Musiciens de mon temps Gustave Samazueilh1947Musiciens de mon temps: Chroniques et souvenirs

Author: Gustave Samazeuilh

Editions Marcel Daubin, Paris

1947

In French

 

Yves Hucher Florent Schmitt biography 1953Florent Schmitt: L’Homme et l’artiste … son epoque et son oeuvre

Author: Yves Hucher

Éditions le Bon Plaiser, Paris

1953

In French

 

Mes Amis Musiciens Helene Jourdan-Morhange 1955Mes Amis musiciens

Author: Hélène Jourdan-Morhange

Les Éditeurs Français Réunis, Paris

1955

In French

 

Florent Schmitt Madeleine Marceron 1959Florent Schmitt

Author: Madeleine Marceron

Éditions Vantadour, Paris

1959

In French

 

Emmanuel Bondeville Florent Schmitt Academie des Beaux Arts

Notice sur la vie et les travaux de Florent Schmitt

Author: M. Emmanuel Bondeville

Académie des Beaux-Arts, Institute de France, Paris

1959

In French

 

Yves Hucher L'oeuvre de Florent SchmittL’Oeuvre de Florent Schmitt

Author: Yves Hucher

Durand & Cie., Paris

1960

In French with partial English translation by Raymond Berthier

 

Florent Schmitt Precurseur et contestataire Emmanuel Bondeville 1970Florent Schmitt: Précurseur et contestataire

Author: M. Emmanuel Bondeville

Académie des Beaux-Arts, Institute de France, Paris

1970

In French

 

Delius: Music, Art & Literature (edited by Lionel Carley)Delius: Music, Art and Literature

Authors: Lionel Carley [Ed.]; David Eccott

Ashgate Publishing, Farnham, UK

1998

In English

 

Florent Schmit biography Catherine Lorent 2012Florent Schmitt

Author: Catherine Lorent

Bleu Nuit Éditeur, Paris

2012

In French

 

A Fragile Consensus Music and Ultra-Modernism in France 1913-1939 Barbara Kelly 2013A Fragile Consensus: Music and Ultra-Modernism in France, 1913-1939

Author: Barbara L. Kelly

Boydell Press, Woodbridge, Suffolk UK – Rochester, NY

2013

In English

 

Felix Aprahamian Diaries 2015Felix Aprahamian: Diaries and Selected Writings on Music

Authors:  Lewis Foreman; Susan Foremen [Eds.]

Boydell Press, Woodbridge, Suffolk UK

2015

In English

__________________

In addition to the volumes listed above, we are witnessing an increasing number of PhD and Masters dissertations being published that focus on particular compositions of Florent Schmitt or other aspects of his artistry. Below is a partial listing of such documents listed alphabetically by author, along with links to view or download them:

Christophe Bennet, French Musical Broadcasting from 1925 to 1939 (2015)

Nathan Bancroft Bogert, Le Saxophone: La Voix de la musique moderne (2008)

Megan Varvir Cole, Composing Symbolism’s Musicality of Language in fin-de-siècle France (2016)

Roxanne C. Copping, Composers and the Ballets Russes — Convention, Innovation and Evolution as Seen Through the Lesser-Known Works  (2016)

Jesse G. Deane, A Comparative Study of Selected Saxophone Quartet Repertoire from the Mule, Rascher and Apollo Saxophone Quartets Between 1928 and 1995  (2011)

Laura Ann Hamer, Musiciennes: Women Musicians in France during the Interwar Years, 1919-1939  (2009)

Jane Ellen Harrison, Fashionable Innovation: Debussysme in Early Twentieth Century France  (2011)

Susan Nanette Hayes, Chamber Music in France Featuring Flute and Soprano (1850-1950) and a Study of the Interactions Among the Leading Flutists, Sopranos, Composers, Artists and Literary Figures of the Time (2006)

Thomas B. Keck, A Critical Edition Full Score of Florent Schmitt’s Hymne funèbre for Contemporary Wind Band, Four-Part Mixed Ensemble and Tenor Solo  (2011)

David Keith, The Sacred Choral Music of Gian Francesco Malipiero and Florent Schmitt  (1992)

Cesar A. Leal, Re-Thinking Paris at the fin-de-siècle: A New Vision of Parisian Musical Culture from the Perspective of Gabriel Astruc (1854-1938) (2014)

Lloyd Rodney Maes, The Choral Style of Florent Schmitt  (1983)

Scott McCarrey, Florent Schmitt and Maurice Ravel: Measured Time from the Turn of the Century  (2014)

Arun Rao, Pierrots fâchés avec la lune: Debussy, Fauré and Ravel during World War I  (2013)

Jerry Edwin Rife, A Study of the Early Twentieth Century Compositional Style of Florent Schmitt Based on an Examination of Psaume XLVII and La Tragédie de Salomé (1986)

Jillian Corinne Rogers, Grieving Through Music in Interwar France: Maurice Ravel and His Circle, 1914-1934 (2014)

Heather de Savage, The American Reception of Gabriel Fauré, from Francophile Boston (1892-1945) to the Broader Postwar Mainstream  (2015)

Mark Seto, Symphonic Culture in Paris, 1880-1900: The Bande à Franck and Beyond (2012)

Eric Christopher Shannon, Florent Schmitt and the Lied et scherzo  (2015)

Chris Sharp, A Study of Orchestration Techniques for the Wind Ensemble/Wind Band as Demonstrated in Seminal Works  (2011)

Virginia Gayle Smith, Impressionism in French Piano Music (1948)

Helena Tyrväinen, ‘Excellent pupil, much future’: The Paris Conservatoire Teachers’ Remarks on their Pupils, End of the 19th Century  (2017)

Timothy D. Wiggins: Analytical Research of Wind Band Core Repertoire (1985)

Note:  Additions or corrections to the resources listed above are welcomed.