Musicologist Megan Varvir Coe talks about the Symbolist roots of Florent Schmitt’s ballet La Tragédie de Salomé (1907/10).

Along with his concert band masterpiece Dionysiaques, La Tragédie de Salomé, Op. 50 is French composer Florent Schmitt’s best-known score.  But most music-lovers know only the version that Schmitt prepared in 1910 for large orchestra.  Three years earlier, an original version twice as long had been created by Schmitt for the American dancer Loïe Fuller, who presented it at […]

Is Florent Schmitt’s Antony & Cleopatra (1920) beginning the transition from “rarity” to “rep we know”?

This year, Florent Schmitt’s opulent score will be presented by two leading orchestras — the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the BBC Symphony — in collaboration with Shakespeare’s Globe. It’s quite interesting to witness a piece of classical music make the journey from being a rarity to becoming mainstream. I can think of several examples, headlined by […]

Made for the stage: The incredible life and career of dancer and dramatic actress Ida Rubinstein … and her 20-year collaboration with French composer Florent Schmitt.

In every era, there are always a few people in the arts whose life and career seem like something out of a movie or novel. Such a characterization is wholly apt in the case of dancer and dramatic actress Ida Rubinstein, the Russian-Jewish femme fatale who commanded the limelight in Paris for nearly half a century. Born in 1885 […]

Oriane et le Prince d’Amour: Florent Schmitt’s Final ‘Orientalist’ Composition (1933)

One of the most memorable aspects of French composer Florent Schmitt’s musical output is his artistic work in the “orientalist” realm.  In fact, in this aspect it could be claimed with some justification that Schmitt had no peer, notwithstanding the efforts of other fine composers in France (Saint-Saens, Bizet, Lalo, d’Indy, Roussel, Rabaud, Ravel, Delage, etc.) and elsewhere – […]

Antony & Cleopatra: Florent Schmitt Takes Palace Intrigue, Scandal and Death to New Heights (1920)

  One of the most intriguing pieces of music composed by Florent Schmitt during his “orientalist” period was the incidental music to André Gide’s new adaptation of William Shakespeare’s play Antony & Cleopatra. The Gide production was no ordinary affair.  In addition to Shakespeare’s massive six-act drama, Schmitt’s music was set to dancers.  The famed dancer and dramatic […]