Musiques de plein air (1900-04): An orchestral rarity from Florent Schmitt’s early compositional period.

As Florent Schmitt’s star has continued to rise in recent decades, one happy result has been the growing number of recordings helping to fill gaps in the composer’s discography. The trajectory has been real: At the turn of this century, only about half of Florent Schmitt’s compositions had been commercially recorded, but that number is […]

Hymne à l’eté: Florent Schmitt’s deliriously ecstatic a cappella choral composition for eight-part mixed choir and soloists (1913).

Vocal music comprises an important component of Florent Schmitt’s catalogue of works.  Throughout his long career the composer would return again and again to the human voice, creating many sets of songs along with a wide range of secular and sacred choral music. One of the most intriguing of these works is the a cappella […]

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 […]

In the chamber of the Shulamite: The great sopranos who have performed and recorded Florent Schmitt’s Psalm 47 (1904).

The Psaume XLVII of Florent Schmitt is recognized as one of the most important choral works of the early 20th century.  And while it isn’t performed with great regularity, it has benefited from quality interpretations as revealed by some of the world’s leading conductors, ensembles and soloists. Particular pride of place goes to a group […]

Powerful Sounds: The Seven Commercial Recordings of Florent Schmitt’s Psaume 47 (1904)

There is little question that Florent Schmitt’s Psaume XLVII, Op. 38, composed in 1904,  is one of the most powerful compositions in the choral repertoire. Indeed, the forces called for in this music — large chorus, large orchestra, soprano solo and organ — make it nearly unique in the French repertoire.  When it had its premiere in […]

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 […]

The Mariinsky Ballet Revives Florent Schmitt’s La Tragédie de Salomé

It’s been several decades since Florent Schmitt’s La Tragédie de Salomé was last presented as a ballet, even as it has been performed in the concert hall quite regularly.  So it is nice to note that the Mariinsky Ballet of St. Petersburg, Russia is including Salomé as part of its 13th Annual Ballet Festival. The Mariinsky is also taking the production […]

Psalm XLVII: Florent Schmitt’s Astounding Choral Masterpiece (1904)

“… An extravagant outburst of highly perfumed Franco-exoticism at its most virile, heroic and exalted … I can’t think of another piece that achieves — or even attempts — quite the impact made by this work.” — Walter Simmons, music critic, Fanfare Magazine “Regarding the Psaume, what can we say that hasn’t already been said […]