Conductor JoAnn Falletta talks about performing In Memoriam (1935), Florent Schmitt’s fervent tribute to his teacher and mentor Gabriel Fauré.

On November 12 and 13, 2022, JoAnn Falletta and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra presented one of the most significant entries in the catalogue of Florent Schmitt’s orchestral works — the first part of In Memoriam, Op. 72 (Cippus Feralis). Composed in 1935, it is an extraordinarily beautiful composition, replete with “passion and pathos.” Even though […]

From clamorous outsider to consummate insider: Florent Schmitt’s consequential involvement with Parisian artistic organizations (Société des Apaches, Société musicale indépendante, Société nationale de musique, Association de musique contemporaine), 1902-1941.

The music world owes a debt of gratitude to two rival organizations that were at the center of the Parisian arts scene during France’s “Golden Age” of music.   Well into the latter part of the nineteenth century, the symphonic tradition continued to be regarded as the near-exclusive domain of the Austro-German school of music. There […]

Two rarities are among the compositions of Florent Schmitt to be featured in the upcoming 2022-23 concert season, presented by orchestras in Amsterdam, Berlin, Buffalo, Indianapolis, Lübeck, Saint Louis, Stockholm, Tokyo, Warsaw and Wuppertal.

In addition to multiple presentations of Schmitt’s best-known composition La Tragédie de Salomé, music-lovers will be treated to two mid-career works — In Memoriam and the Symphonie concertante. It comes as no surprise that in the upcoming 2022-23 concert season, various conductors and orchestras will be presenting Florent Schmitt’s ballet La Tragédie de Salomé. Not […]

Discovering the man behind the musician: The personal remembrances of French composer Florent Schmitt’s biographer, Yves Hucher (1958).

When the composer Florent Schmitt died in August 1958 at the age of nearly 88 years, many prominent musicians, scholars and journalists wrote words of tribute honoring the last of the “grand generation” of French composers that had included, among others, Debussy, Dukas, Ravel, Roussel, Koechlin, Pierné, Cras, Rabaud, Ropartz and Tournemire. Along those lines, […]

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. […]

In Memoriam: Florent Schmitt’s tribute to his teacher and mentor Gabriel Fauré (1922/35).

During his time as a student at the Paris Conservatoire, Florent Schmitt had his share of esteemed teachers including Jules Massenet, Théodore Dubois, André Gédalge and Albert Lavignac. But Gabriel Fauré, who along with Massenet were Schmitt’s two instructors in composition, was his favorite teacher — and also arguably the most influential one. Time and again, […]

Florent Schmitt and the Prix de Rome: 1900-1904 (Musiques de plein air; Le Palais hanté; Psaume XLVII)

In the century-long period from 1850 to 1950, the Prix de Rome prize for composition was probably the single most important and prestigious recognition for any French composer. And for that reason, nearly every important French composer strove to win it. Offered to students at the Paris Conservatoire, winners of the award were rewarded with a handsome stipend, along with a multi-year stay […]

Florent Schmitt’s Best-Known Early Composition: Soirs (1890-96)

Generally speaking, music lovers who know the works of French composer Florent Schmitt are most familiar with his compositions dating from the early 1900s onward. Far less known are the numerous works the composer created in the years before the appearance of the startling and celebrated Psaume XLVII, which Schmitt composed in 1904 in Rome and which received its premiere […]

Spirit of the Dance: Florent Schmitt’s Suite sans esprit de suite (1937-38)

In the last two decades of his long life and extensive musical career, the composer Florent Schmitt would devote much of his energies to creating instrumental music and pieces for voice and choir. Indeed, by and large Schmitt’s later-career output eschewed the full orchestra — with a number of notable exceptions, among them the Introït, récit et congé […]

Delightful Discourses: Florent Schmitt’s A Tour d’anches for Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon and Piano (1939-43)

In his later career, the French composer Florent Schmitt would devote more of his energies to composing works for chamber wind ensemble.  Among those works are his quartets for saxophones, flutes, trombones and tuba, and a sextet for clarinets. But Schmitt also composed two highly engaging chamber pieces for diverse winds: A Tour d’anches, Opus 97 […]

Florent Schmitt and the Organ

One of Florent Schmitt’s most famous and popular compositions is his monumental choral work Psaume XLVII, Opus 38.  Composed in 1904, it is one of the most striking choral works of the 20th Century — or of any era in classical music. Music lovers who are familiar with this work know how important the organ part […]

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 […]