Musicologist Megan Varvir Coe talks about the Symbolist roots of Florent Schmitt’s ballet La Tragédie de Salomé (1907/10).

Along with his concert band masterpiece Dionysiaques, La Tragédie de Salomé, Op. 50 is French composer Florent Schmitt’s best-known score.  But most music-lovers know only the version that Schmitt prepared in 1910 for large orchestra.  Three years earlier, an original version twice as long had been created by Schmitt for the American dancer Loïe Fuller, who presented it at […]

Beyond Salomé: Florent Schmitt’s Other Biblical Ballet (Danse d’Abisag — 1925)

One of the lesser known of Florent Schmitt’s “orientalist” works is Danse d’Abisag, Opus 75.  This work, which was composed in 1925, began life as a choreographic work but soon migrated to the concert hall. In creating the orientalist works upon which so much of his fame rests, Schmitt derived inspiration from historical, biblical and fictional events.  Danse […]

Florent Schmitt and Igor Stravinsky: A Consequential Musical Relationship

Throughout his long life and composing career, Florent Schmitt would forge many personal friendships with his counterparts.  He was at the center of musical life in Paris, maintaining particularly close relationships with Maurice Ravel, Albert Roussel, Gabriel Pierné, Paul Dukas, Gabriel Fauré, Guillaume Lekeu and numerous other French composers. He also had decades-long friendships with composers from other […]

First-ever recording of Florent Schmitt’s ballet Le petit elfe Ferme-l’oeil (1923) to be released.

Timpani, the French CD label that specializes in recording unfamiliar French repertoire of the romantic and modern eras, has just announced plans to release the first-ever recording of Florent Schmitt’s children’s ballet, Le petit elfe Ferme-l’oeil, Opus 73. The Ferme-l’oeil score is quite interesting in that it began life in 1912 as a suite of […]

Oriane et le Prince d’Amour: Florent Schmitt’s Final ‘Orientalist’ Composition (1933)

One of the most memorable aspects of French composer Florent Schmitt’s musical output is his artistic work in the “orientalist” realm.  In fact, in this aspect it could be claimed with some justification that Schmitt had no peer, notwithstanding the efforts of other fine composers in France (Saint-Saens, Bizet, Lalo, d’Indy, Roussel, Rabaud, Ravel, Delage, etc.) and elsewhere – […]

Le petit elfe Ferme-l’oeil: Florent Schmitt’s Children’s Ballet (1923)

The popularity of large-scale works like Psalm XLVII, La Tragédie de Salomé and Dionysiaques would make one think that Florent Schmitt cared little for intimate subject matters as inspiration for his compositions. But the reality is different.  While it’s true that the more grandiose and dramatic scores of the composer tend to be the ones […]

Youthful Exuberance: Lionel Bringuier’s Thrilling Performance of Florent Schmitt’s La Tragédie de Salomé (Stockholm, 2009)

I always suspected that French conductor Lionel Bringuier’s interpretation of Florent Schmitt’s ballet La Tragédie de Salomé, Op. 50 would be something special. After all, this young conductor has been traveling the globe in the past half-decade, performing the work in numerous locations including England, Scandinavia, Germany and the United States (with the Los Angeles Philharmonic). […]