Forgotten Records: Resurrecting noteworthy commercial and broadcast recordings of Florent Schmitt’s music from the LP era.

There’s no question that in the past two decades, the breadth and depth of French composer Florent Schmitt’s music that has made it to the microphones has increased dramatically. Nearly every year, we are treated to world premiere recordings of more Schmitt works. The most recent examples are the complete works for piano duo and duet as […]

A Surprising Collaboration and Friendship: Florent Schmitt and Frederick Delius (1894-1934)

One interesting yet virtually unknown early chapter in Florent Schmitt’s musical life involved the work he did in creating the piano/vocal reduction scores of the first four operas of the English composer Frederick Delius (1862-1934). These efforts began around 1894 when Schmitt was not yet 25 years old, with the transcription of Delius’ opera Irmelin.  The […]

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 […]

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 […]

Introït, récit et congé: Florent Schmitt’s tour de force for cello and orchestra (1948).

Over his seven decades-long composing career, Florent Schmitt would pen three concertante works for cello. The early Chant élégiaque (from 1899-1903) seems clearly influenced by Schmitt’s teacher and mentor, Gabriel Fauré, who had composed his own Elegy for Cello & Orchestra in the 1880s. The 1932 Final for Cello & Orchestra comes from Schmitt’s middle period of […]

Voluptuous Colors: Florent Schmitt’s Suite for Trumpet (1955)

Over his long composing career, Florent Schmitt wrote numerous concertante pieces showcasing nearly every instrument of the orchestra. As with a good number of other French composers, some of these works were written as examination pieces for students at the Paris Conservatoire. A representative example is Schmitt’s Suite en trois parties for Trumpet & Piano, Op. […]

Spanish flautist Roberto Casado talks about Florent Schmitt’s Sonatine en Trio and Suite en rocaille – and their place in French Impressionistic music.

The Spanish flautist and chamber musician Roberto Casado discovered the music of Florent Schmitt as part of a quest to find new repertoire pieces in the French Impressionist tradition. His goal was to find scores that weren’t derivative, but instead contained interesting touches that distinguished them from the well-known works of Ravel and Debussy. This mission […]

Excitement on steroids: Seven live concert recordings of Florent Schmitt’s blockbuster choral composition Psalm 47 (1904)

For many classical music lovers, nothing can compare to a live performance.  While studio recordings promise greater precision and better sound quality — along with avoiding distracting audience noise – often this comes at the expense of spontaneity and immediacy. And for a piece of music as viscerally thrilling as Florent Schmitt’s Psalm XLVII, Op. 38, composed […]

Originality, Eclecticism … and Female Voices: Florent Schmitt’s Six Chœurs (1931).

Music lovers who know Florent Schmitt’s stunning Psaume XLVII (1904) might wonder what other choral music may have come from the composer’s pen. And in fact, there are nearly 25 individual choral scores written by Schmitt, composed over more than a half-century’s time. None of them are nearly as famous as the Psalm, but they […]

Florent Schmitt and the Flute (Scherzo-Pastorale; Quatuor; Suite en trois parties)

For a composer who wrote many pages of chamber and instrumental music featuring nearly every instrument of the orchestra, Florent Schmitt’s compositions featuring the flute are comparative few. This may seem surprising for a musician who actually played the flute in several military musical ensembles during World War I.  Nevertheless, I count only three such works in the Schmitt […]

Elegance and Class: Florent Schmitt’s Quartet Pour presque tous les temps (1956)

One of the final works created by the French composer Florent Schmitt was a quartet he titled Pour presque tous les temps. It is one of the last numbered compositions in Schmitt’s entire output (#134 out of a total of 138 opus numbers) and was completed in 1956, two years before the composer’s death. Schmitt was known […]

Lied et Scherzo (1910), Florent Schmitt’s Incredible Piece Featuring the French Horn

One of the most interesting works by Florent Schmitt is his Lied et Scherzo, Op. 54, which he composed in 1910. The piece was first conceived as a work for double wind quintet, with one of the French horns acting as soloist throughout. The work was dedicated to Schmitt’s fellow French composer Paul Dukas, who […]

Florent Schmitt’s Crépuscules (1898-1911): Richly evocative tone painting in the finest French pianistic tradition.

Composed between 1898 and 1911, Florent Schmitt’s Crépuscules, Op. 56 is a set of four pieces for solo piano that was published in 1913. It’s one of the most compelling French piano works of the period.  It also looks forward to Ombres which came along just a few years later — and which is probably the composer’s ultimate […]

The Invencia Piano Duo Completes its Florent Schmitt Series on the Grand Piano Label

“[Florent Schmitt’s four-hand piano works are] probably the finest in the whole modern repertoire. Sanely modern and splendidly constructed (they are a joy to play), his large output — in quality and inspiration — stands alone, and his genius finds full expression in this form.” — Alec Rowley, English composer and keyboard artist One of […]