Florent Schmitt: Listing of Premiere Performances of Orchestral Works (1904-1958)

By Phillip Nones

Florent Schmitt, French Composer, commemorative postage stamp

A commemorative postage stamp honoring French composer Florent Schmitt, issued in 1992.

When it came to premiere performances of Florent Schmitt’s orchestral music, the composer was fortunate to have the best conductors in France eager to introduce these new works to the public.

Indeed, Schmitt appears to have fared better than many other composers in this regard.

Beginning in 1904 and stretching out more than a half-century beyond – all the way to the last few months of the composer’s life in 1958 – nearly 40 world premieres were led by a baker’s dozen of the world’s best-known conductors, ranging chronologically from Camille Chevillard to André Cluytens.

All of the premieres happened in France with the exception of the Symphonie Concertante, Op. 82, which was composed by Schmitt for the Boston Symphony’s 50th anniversary — and was premiered in that city by Serge Koussevitzky, with the composer at the keyboard.

Paul Paray, French Conductor

Passionate advocate: Paul Paray (1886-1979) led more world premiere performances of Florent Schmitt’s orchestral music than any other conductor.

The conductor who led the most premiere performances was the great orchestra leader Paul Paray, who introduced eleven Schmitt compositions in the concert hall between 1924 and 1951.

And Maestro Paray would continue to program Florent Schmitt’s music throughout his long conducting career — all the way up until the end of his life in 1979 at age 93.

Listed below are the premiere performances of Schmitt’s orchestral music, grouped alphabetically by conductor and by opus number within.  (Note:  Changes, enhancements or additions to this listing are welcomed.)

Eugène Bigot (1888-1965)

  • Fête de la lumière, Op. 89, June 1937
  • Enfants, Op. 94, May 9, 1943
  • Quatre poems de Ronsard for Soprano & Orchestra, Op. 100, March 15, 1942
  • Habeyssée, Suite for Violin & Orchestra, Op. 110, March 12, 1948

Camille Chevillard (1859-1923)

  • Le Palais hanté, Op. 49, January 8, 1905
  • Rapsodie Viennoise, Op. 53, No. 3, November 29, 1911
  • Chant de guerre, Op. 63, May 1916
  • Rêves, Op. 65, November 1918 *
  • Antoine et Cléopâtre, Op. 69, October 17, 1920

André Cluytens (1905-1967)

  • Le chant de la nuit for Chorus & Orchestra, Op. 120, February 4, 1951

Jane Evrard (1893-1984)

  • ‘Janiana’ Symphony for String Orchestra, Op. 101, May 1, 1941

Philippe Gaubert (1879-1941)

  • Oriane et le Prince d’amour, Op. 83 (complete ballet), January 7, 1938

George Georgescu (Georges Georgesco) (1887-1964)

  • Ronde burlesque, Op. 79, April 4, 1936

Désiré-Émile Inghelbrecht (1880-1965)

  • Psaume XLVII for Soprano, Organ, Chorus & Orchestra, Op. 38, December 27, 1906
  • La Tragédie de Salomé, Op. 50 (original version), November 9, 1907
  • Danse d’Abisag, Op. 75 (choreographic version), June 17, 1925

Serge Koussevitzky (1874-1951)

  • Mirages, Op. 70, May 29, 1924
  • Symphonie Concertante for Piano & Orchestra, Op. 82, November 24, 1932

Charles Munch (1891-1968)

  • Oriane et le Prince d’amour, Opus 83b (ballet suite), February 12, 1937
  • Chaine brisée, Op. 87, December 18, 1938
  • Symphony No. 2, Op. 137, June 15, 1958
Florent Schmitt French composer 1953 photo

Florent Schmitt, photographed in 1953 at the age of 83. The composer had yet to pen ten more published works in the remaining five years of his life. (Photo: Boris Lipnitzki/Roger-Viollet)

Paul Paray (1886-1979)

  • Trois rapsodies, Op. 53, January 29, 1928
  • Cinq motets, Op. 60, January 21, 1934
  • In Memoriam, Op. 72, November 3, 1935
  • Fonctionnaire MCMXII, Op. 74, January 16, 1924
  • Danse d’Abisag, Op. 75 (concert hall version), January 24, 1926
  • Kermesse-Valse, Op. 80, April 4, 1936
  • Six Choeurs for Female Voices & Orchestra, Op. 81, February 19, 1933
  • Trois Danses for Piano & Orchestra, Op. 86, February 18, 1939
  • Suite sans esprit de suite, Op. 88, January 29, 1938
  • Introït, récit et congé for Cello & Orchestra, Op. 113, December 16, 1951
  • Scènes de la vie moyenne, Op. 124, October 2, 1950

Gabriel Pierné (1863-1937)

  • La Tragédie de Salomé, Op. 50 (revised version), January 8, 1911
  • Tristisse au jardin, Op. 52, January 24, 1931
  • Ombres for Piano & Orchestra, Op. 64, No. 1 (J’entends dans le lointain), February 15, 1930
  • Le petit elfe Ferme-l’oeil, Op. 73, November 20, 1927

Gaston Poulet (1892-1974)

  • Cançunik, Op. 79, February 16, 1930
  • Trois Chants for Chorus & Orchestra, Op. 98, April 18, 1943

Albert Wolff (1884-1970)

  • Final for Cello & Orchestra, Op. 77, January 3, 1932
  • L’arbre entre tous for Chorus & Orchestra, Op. 95, 1939

*  Note:  BBC Proms archivists claim that Sir Henry Wood’s New Queen’s Hall Orchestra concert on October 16, 1919 in London was the world premiere performance of Rêves, but the Chevillard/Paris performance came nearly a year earlier.

Source:  Florent Schmitt:  L’homme et l’artiste, Yves Hucher, Éditions Le Bon Plaisir, Paris, 1955 … with edits/updates by Phillip Nones.

2 thoughts on “Florent Schmitt: Listing of Premiere Performances of Orchestral Works (1904-1958)

  1. Pingback: Originality, Eclecticism … and Female Voices: Florent Schmitt’s Six Chœurs (1931). | Florent Schmitt

  2. Pingback: Introït, récit & congé: Florent Schmitt’s tour de force for cello and orchestra (1948). | Florent Schmitt

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