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 […]

French pianist Bruno Belthoise talks about keeping Florent Schmitt’s Une semaine du petit elfe Ferme-l’oeil (1912) part of his performing repertoire over the years.

In 2013, one of the earliest interviews I conducted for the Florent Schmitt Website + Blog was with the French pianist Bruno Belthoise.  I had discovered him from YouTube, where several movements of Florent Schmitt’s piano four-hand suite Une semaine du petit elfe Ferme-l’oeil, Opus 58 had been uploaded from a performance he gave at the […]

Finnish composer and music journalist Osmo Tapio Räihälä shares his experience of visiting the gravesite of Florent Schmitt in Paris (November 2017).

Osmo Tapio Räihälä is one of Finland’s better-known composers of today. He has created music in many forms, from vocal and chamber pieces to large orchestral works. Mr. Räihälä’s highly active career includes fulfilling numerous composition commissions.  His works have been performed by important European orchestras and ensembles, interpreted by leading artists such as the […]

Musicologist Suddhaseel Sen talks about the artistry of Florent Schmitt and the importance of his orientalist compositions.

Musicologist, author and teacher Suddhaseel Sen comes to his appreciation of Western classical music from an interesting angle. A native of the Indian subcontinent, Dr. Sen made his first musical discoveries there, long before coming to the West for a range of music-related studies and research. Today, Dr. Sen is back in India as Assistant Professor of Humanities […]

Musicians Edward Rushton, Guillaume Le Dréau and JoAnn Falletta talk about Florent Schmitt’s captivating Chansons à quatre voix (1903-05).

Throughout his long composing career spanning from the late 1880s to the late 1950s, Florent Schmitt would return again and again to the human voice. While he never composed an opera, he wrote voluminous pages of music in every other form that features solo and mixed voices. Tellingly, the composer’s Opus 1 and his final Opus 138 […]

Organist and music researcher Guillaume Le Dréau talks about French composer Florent Schmitt’s consequential work as a Parisian music critic (1912-1939).

Guillaume Le Dréau is one of the most multi-faceted musicians I know. A keyboard artist, he is currently the organist at Rennes Cathedral in France — but this position represents only one aspect of his many musical activities.  Not only does he play the organ and piano, he is a composer, an arranger, a teacher and a researcher. […]

Fête de la lumière: Florent Schmitt’s extravagant showpiece at the Paris Exposition (1936-37).

In 1937, one of the final transnational gatherings held on the European continent before the onset of World War II occurred in the city of Paris. The International Exposition of Art and Technology in Modern Life — colloquially known as the Paris Exposition — took place between May and November of that year. Its lofty […]

The Grand Piano label announces the release of a specially priced 4-CD set of Florent Schmitt’s complete original works for piano duet and duo (1899-1916) performed by the Invencia Piano Duo.

Available in mid-January 2017, the boxed set includes all 14 compositions first released in 2012-13 … now at a special price of four CDs for the price of two. Several years ago, the Grand Piano label issued a series of four CDs that together make up the complete original works for piano duet and duo by […]

French conductor and wind ensemble specialist Philippe Ferro talks about the music of Florent Schmitt and Hymne funèbre (1899/1933).

In 2008, 50 years following the death of Florent Schmitt, a recording featuring all of the repertoire written by the French composer for wind ensemble was released on the Corelia label. The recording featured the Orchestre d’Harmonie de la Région-Centre joined by the Ensemble Vocal Universitaire de Tours — all under the direction of Philippe Ferro. […]

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 […]

Six important compositions of Florent Schmitt to be featured in the upcoming 2016/17 concert season by orchestras in Asheville, Berlin, Bern, Bordeaux, Liège, London, Metz, Neuss-am-Rhein, Paris, Philadelphia, Québec, Seoul, Spokane, Stockholm and Tokyo.

The international Bachtrack website is in the process of uploading its global database of classical music programs for the upcoming season. Although it isn’t an exhaustive listing of every orchestral group, the site covers nearly all of the major orchestras, opera and ballet companies and other important ensembles around the world, making it the “go-to” […]

A link with history: French composer, teacher and writer Alain Margoni, 81, talks about working with Florent Schmitt in Paris during the 1950s.

Here in the year 2016, it is well over a half-century since French composer Florent Schmitt passed away at the age of nearly 90 years. Consequently, the number of musicians who have first-hand memories of interacting with the master has dwindled to a precious few. But we are fortunate to have French composer and teacher […]

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 […]

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 […]