Courtesy of several audio archives in Paris, music-lovers now have access to several interviews of Florent Schmitt, conducted towards the end of his long career as a composer.
Since the interviews were conducted in French, the major points Schmitt made are summarized in the articles below for the benefit of non-French language speakers. The articles also provide YouTube links to hear the audio of the actual interviews.
These first-person documents, which provide direct historical links to France’s Golden Age of classical music, are extremely rare — which is what makes it even more gratifying when they come to light.
Of further interest is video footage of Florent Schmitt filmed at the composer’s home in St-Cloud, probably in the early or mid-1950s. This short clip is the only such documentation I have ever seen — and likewise represents a link with music history.
Rare color film footage of Schmitt in his later years also survives — some of which appears in a documentary film about the Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos, with whom Schmitt enjoyed a particularly long and fruitful professional and personal relationship. In that film, you can view a street scene of Schmitt and Villa-Lobos together, beginning at minute-marker 11:11:10.
Special thanks are due to Franco-American conductor David Grandis, musicologist and author Nicolas Southon, plus musician and audio specialist Peter Joelson for their efforts in finding, preparing and uploading these invaluable in-person interviews for the benefit of a new generation of music-lovers.