Director Bill Barclay and conductor JoAnn Falletta talk about mounting a dramatic adaptation of Antony & Cleopatra that pairs Shakespeare’s words with Florent Schmitt’s jaw-dropping music from the 1920 Paris production of the play.

By now, it seems that Florent Schmitt’s two Antoine et Cléopâtre Suites, Op. 69 have at last transitioned from being true rarities to become orchestral repertoire that is actually known.  There are now four commercial recordings of the suites (three of them made within the past decade), and in the past several years the music […]

Experiencing Florent Schmitt’s Antony & Cleopatra (1920) in a dramatic adaptation: An eyewitness report from London.

In 2010, the American conductor JoAnn Falletta resurrected a Florent Schmitt rarity: The Suite No. 1 from the incidental music the composer had written for Andre Gide’s adaptation of William Shakespeare’s play Antony & Cleopatra.  It was an Ida Rubinstein production done in her characteristically outré style: an entire-evening extravaganza mounted at the Paris Opéra. […]

Hallucinatory Atmospherics: Florent Schmitt’s Rêves (1915)

Sprinkled throughout the catalogue of Florent Schmitt’s compositions are a goodly number of shorter orchestral pieces. They range in their moods from contemplative to joyous to stormy. One of these orchestral miniatures that I find particularly compelling is Rêves, Op. 65 (Dreams), a work that Schmitt began composing in 1913.  He prepared a piano version […]

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 […]