Musicians of the Scarab Club Chamber Music Series Talk About Preparing and Performing Florent Schmitt’s Quartet Pour presque tous les temps (1956).

On October 7, 2018, Detroit’s Scarab Club Chamber Music Series launched its 21st season with a performance of Florent Schmitt’s quartet Pour presque tous les temps, Op. 134 (“Quartet for Almost All the Time”), a late-career work for flute, violin, cello and piano created by Schmitt in 1956 when the composer was 86 years old. […]

Fascinating, complex sonorities: Florent Schmitt’s String Trio (1944).

“So dense, so many notes, so many double-stops. So hard to play in tune together, so tricky to balance and to make it sound natural.  But what special notes they are!”    — Michiel Weidner, Prisma String Trio In the latter part of his career, the French composer Florent Schmitt turned his attention to musical […]

Substance as well as style: The Quartet for Strings (1948) of Florent Schmitt.

During the extraordinarily long musical career of Florent Schmitt — which spanned 70 years from the late 1880s to the late 1950s — the composer created works for many combinations of instruments. Early on, there were vast swaths of piano music. Then came the sumptuous orchestral creations between 1900 and the onset of World War […]

Canadian saxophonist Louis-Philippe Bonin talks about Florent Schmitt’s Saxophone Quartet (1941) and its pride of place in the saxophone repertoire.

Florent Schmitt composed just three works for the saxophone, but all three of them hold a place of prominence in the repertoire. Soloists frequently play the Légende (1918) as well as the Songe de Coppélius (1908).  Both of these are works that are Impressionistic and Romantic in style — with more than a hint of Schmitt’s […]

Members of the Garth Newel Piano Quartet talk about preparing Florent Schmitt’s Hasards (1943) for performance.

In April 2016, the Garth Newel Piano Quartet presented Florent Schmitt’s piano quartet Hasards, Op. 96 as part of a chamber music program of French music that also included compositions by Ernest Chausson and Maurice Ravel. I was fortunate enough to attend this concert, played in the aesthetically and acoustically pleasing Herter Hall, a former […]

Musicians Beata Halska and Claudio Chaiquin talk about researching and recording French composer Florent Schmitt’s music for violin and piano.

The new NAXOS recording includes several discographic world premieres, along with the monumental Sonate libre. In mid-2015, NAXOS released a recording devoted to Florent Schmitt’s music for violin and piano.  It contains several world premieres, along with the Sonate libre en deux parties enchainées, Opus 68, a half hour-long stylistically advanced tour de force composed by Schmitt […]

Winsome Winds: Florent Schmitt’s Clarinet Sextet (1953)

While he may be far better known for his lush orchestral scores, French composer Florent Schmitt also explored the emotional range of solo instrumental and chamber ensembles. In addition to a vast trove of music written for solo and duo-pianists, much of which was composed relatively early in his career, in later years Schmitt would turn […]

Freshness and vitality win the day: An award-winning performance of Florent Schmitt’s 1956 quartet Pour presque tous les temps at the 2014 NZCT Chamber Music Contest in New Zealand.

One of the most charming late works of Florent Schmitt is his quartet for flute, violin, cello and piano he titled Pour presque tous les temps, Opus 134 (“Quartet for Almost All the Time”). Composed in 1956 for the Quatuor Instrumental de Paris, this four-movement work lasts barely 12 minutes, but is one of the most engaging pieces […]

French Cellist Henri Demarquette talks about the Music of Florent Schmitt and the Introït, récit et congé (1948).

The recent release of the premiere recording of Florent Schmitt’s Introït, récit et congé, Op. 113, has given lovers of French music and cello music in general the opportunity to hear an interesting and inventive concertante piece that was composed in 1948 for the French cellist André Navarra. Fortunately, this premiere recording (on the Timpani label) […]

“Pure Music Masterpiece”: Florent Schmitt’s Sonate libre for Violin and Piano (1918-19).

Within Florent Schmitt’s musical output are a half-dozen works that feature the violin.  Perhaps the most significant of them is his Sonate libre, Op. 68, a work he composed in 1918-19 at Artiguemy, his country retreat in the Hautes-Pyrenees. The formal title of the music is a real mouthful:  Sonate libre en deux parties enchaînées, ad modem Clementis […]

Janiana: Florent Schmitt’s Rich, Robust Symphony for String Orchestra (1941)

We know that Florent Schmitt’s penultimate work was the Symphony No. 2, composed in 1957 and premiered in 1958 by Charles Munch and the French National Radio Orchestra a few months before the composer’s death at age 87. The question is, which composition stands as Schmitt’s first essay in the genre?  Because in fact, the […]

Florent Schmitt’s Intense, Monumental Piano Quintet (1908)

The catalog of music composed by Florent Schmitt contains numerous chamber works. Among them are three large-scale compositions for string ensemble: the Trio, Op. 105, the Quartet, Op. 112, and the Piano Quintet, Op. 51. The Piano Quintet was the first of these three pieces to be created; Schmitt worked on the score for six […]

Hasards: A Quartet that Illustrates Florent Schmitt’s Highly Interesting Chamber Music Style (1943)

The chamber music pieces of Florent Schmitt are quite interesting and varied. Among them are wonderfully intimate works such as the Sonatine en Trio from 1934 which have a flavor somewhat similar to the chamber works of Schmitt’s compatriots Debussy and Ravel. But there are numerous other Schmitt compositions for chamber players that inhabit a different sound-world – more full-bodied and containing surprising […]