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 […]

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 “If you conduct just one French choral work in your career, it […]