Julien Columeau, noted French novelist in the Urdu language, talks about the music of Florent Schmitt and how it inspires his writing.

“I’ve learned a good deal in terms of structure by listening to classical music — and particularly to music created by a person like Florent Schmitt.  In fact, I think that a well-structured text, including a share of the predictable and unpredictable, should be modeled on a piece of Schmitt’s music!” — Julien Columeau, novelist […]

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 […]

Florent Schmitt Goes to Germany: Reflets d’Allemagne (1902-05).

For music-lovers who aren’t very familiar with the music of Florent Schmitt, they may well think that the composer is German. Or at the very least, they might assume that the music bears a strong resemblance to Germanic musical style. Of course, for those who know Schmitt and his artistry, they realize that any “German” musical influence falls well-behind French influence […]

Choral chromaticism par excellence: Florent Schmitt’s Cinq chœurs en vingt minutes for mixed chorus and large orchestra (1951).

Within the extensive catalogue of Florent Schmitt’s compositions are a great many vocal works — pieces written for solo voice or for chorus.  In fact, there are over 50 such opus numbers. Many of Schmitt’s choral works are based on sacred texts, although often the scores seem quite removed from a sense of piety.  Perhaps the best-known example of […]

Members of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Talk about Preparing Florent Schmitt’s Music for Performance and Recording

In February and March 2015, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and its music director, JoAnn Falletta, performed and recorded two of Florent Schmitt’s orchestral works:  the 1900-04 symphonic etude Le Palais hanté, Opus 49 (The Haunted Palace), inspired by a poem of Edgar Allan Poe; and the two Antoine et Cléopâtre Suites, Opus 69, composed in 1920 […]

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 […]

French Pianist Vincent Larderet Talks about Performing and Recording the Music of Florent Schmitt

To say that Vincent Larderet is one of the most accomplished of the younger generation of classical pianists would be an understatement. As a Steinway Artist, Mr. Larderet has attracted international recognition by virtue of the exceptional intensity of his performances and commercial recordings, praised by critics not only in his native France but also in Continental […]

Florent Schmitt and Ralph Vaughan Williams: A Friendship Over Five Decades

The cover story in the Ralph Vaughan Williams Society Journal, published in October 2014, focuses on the half-century friendship between the French composer Florent Schmitt and his English counterpart. The two composers were near contemporaries of one another — Schmitt was older by two years — and they died within mere days of each other in […]

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 Soprano Denise Duval: Muse to Francis Poulenc … Friend of Florent Schmitt

A living legend today — well into her nineties — the French soprano Denise Duval is a link to France’s glorious musical past. History remembers her as the famous muse to Francis Poulenc, but Duval was also an important interpreter of the music of other significant French composers of the early- and mid-twentieth century — among […]

Giuseppe Verdi and the nexus of music and politics: An interview with author Alberto Nones.

“For Verdi, music was an integral part of reality … a force behind history …” In something of a change of pace for regular readers of the Florent Schmitt Blog, this post is on the topic of the Italian operatic composer Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901).  Highly successful during his lifetime, his fame has hardly dimmed in […]

The Composer and the Impresario: Florent Schmitt and Felix Aprahamian

Felix Aprahamian (1914-2005) is probably the closest thing to a renaissance man we’ve seen in the 20th Century — at least in the realm of music. Born into an Armenian immigrant mercantile family in London in 1914, he spent his entire life in the service of music, despite having trained for a career in business. […]

Shimmering Brilliance: Florent Schmitt’s Andante et Scherzo for Harp and String Quartet (1903-6)

In the early years of the 20th Century, several French composers would pen some highly interesting compositions that have given harp players some great repertoire items in the ensuing decades. The composers in question were Claude Debussy, André Caplet, Maurice Ravel … and Florent Schmitt.  And the instigation was the arrival of the chromatic harp on […]

Film music specialist Doug Adams talks about Florent Schmitt’s Salammbô (1925) and other music scores from the silent film era.

One of the world’s leading journalists and authors on film music gives Schmitt’s score pride of place in the first quarter century of motion pictures. Among the most intriguing entries in the catalogue of Florent Schmitt’s compositions are the three suites he extracted from his score to the silent film Salammbô, which was premiered at the […]

The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra announces the North American premiere concert performances of Florent Schmitt’s complete Antoine et Cléopâtre Suites — 95 years following their composition.

Le Palais hanté is also planned for performance and recording. North American classical music lovers are in for a treat this coming orchestra season.  The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra has announced that its 2014-15 concert schedule includes the first performances in North America of Florent Schmitt’s complete Antoine et Cléopâtre Suites, Op. 69. The performances of this […]