Conductor Fabien Gabel talks about his musical journey with French composer Florent Schmitt.

On May 12, 2022, the French conductor Fabien Gabel stepped up to the podium in the auditorium of Maison de la Radio in Paris to lead the Orchestre National de France in two works by Florent Schmitt:  the symphonic picture Rêves, Op. 65 (dating from 1915) and the large-scale choral work Psaume XLVII, Op. 38 (composed […]

“White-haired, bearded and thoroughly charming”: American contralto Rita Sebastian’s remembrances of performing with Florent Schmitt at Town Hall in New York City (1932).

One of the serendipitous aspects of music history is coming across rare and precious documents that have remained hidden for decades.  Such an occurrence happened this past summer when JoAnn Falletta, music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, received a package in the mail containing a collection of documents pertaining to a recital given by […]

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, […]

JoAnn Falletta’s Buffalo Philharmonic recording of Florent Schmitt’s orchestral music wins the prestigious Diapason d’Or.

The 2020 NAXOS recording, completed just days before the COVID pandemic shuttered classical music performances across the globe, includes two colorful ballet scores along with two world premieres. Since its November 2020 release during Florent Schmitt’s 150th birthday anniversary year, the NAXOS recording of four orchestral works by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra under its music […]

Investigating the mystery – and promise – of Florent Schmitt’s “Poèmes des lacs” (Les Barques, Demande, Musique sur l’eau, Soir sur le lac, Tristesse au jardin — 1897-1901)

Recently, two documents have emerged that point to the existence of a long-forgotten grouping of Florent Schmitt’s mélodies that can stand alongside the song cycles of fellow-French composers Henri Duparc, Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, Maurice Delage and Louis Aubert. The grouping of Florent Schmitt mélodies carries the umbrella title “Poèmes des lacs,” and some details […]

Just released: A new recording of four Florent Schmitt orchestral works with JoAnn Falletta and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.

The new NAXOS release features two iconic ballet suites along with two world premiere recordings. Back in 2015, a recording of the music of Florent Schmitt on the NAXOS label, performed by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and its music director, JoAnn Falletta, was a noteworthy artistic and commercial success.  Today, these same musical forces are […]

Giving vibrant voice to powerful poetry: Florent Schmitt’s Trois Chants (1943).

French composers of the period really knew how to write vocal music.  Composers like Ravel, Debussy and Florent Schmitt were taught how to write for the human voice. — Karina Gauvin, Canadian Soprano How can one composer be so gifted at so much? — JoAnn Falletta, American Orchestra Conductor When one looks at the extensive […]

Austrian conductor Gottfried Rabl talks about preparing and presenting the 2020 Romanian premiere performance of Florent Schmitt’s blockbuster choral composition Psalm 47 (1904).

In early March 2020, I had the opportunity to attend what turned out to be the very last public performances of Florent Schmitt’s orchestral before the Coronavirus pandemic effectively shut down classical concerts across the globe. Those concerts, presented by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of JoAnn Falletta, were noteworthy not only because the […]

Musicians Louis-Philippe Bonin, Janz Castelo and Nikki Chooi talk about Florent Schmitt’s moody, musing Légende (1918) and the three versions the composer created featuring solo saxophone, viola and violin.

On March 6 and 7, 2020, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of its music director, JoAnn Falletta, presented Florent Schmitt’s Légende, Op. 66 in concert. But it wasn’t the customary version for saxophone that the composer had created in 1918, but rather the version prepared several years later that features a solo violin. Arthur […]

Conductor JoAnn Falletta talks about preparing Florent Schmitt’s Oriane et le Prince d’Amour ballet suite (1933-34) for performance and recording.

On March 7 and 8, 2020, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of its music director, JoAnn Falletta, presented what may well be the North American premiere performances of the suite from Florent Schmitt’s ballet Oriane et le Prince d’Amour. Composed in 1933-34 for Ida Rubinstein, the famed dancer and dramatic actress who commanded […]

Danse des Devadasis (1908): Florent Schmitt’s masterful evocation of the temple dancers of South India.

“What I find most astonishing about this piece is the fact that such heightened intensity and élan is achieved in record time … Florent Schmitt packs in the musical imagery required to make us imagine in our minds — and feel in our bodies — the dancing rites and rituals of the Devadasis. He makes […]

Director Bill Barclay and conductor JoAnn Falletta talk about mounting a dramatic adaptation of Antony & Cleopatra that pairs Shakespeare’s words with Florent Schmitt’s jaw-dropping music from the 1920 Paris production of the play.

By now, it seems that Florent Schmitt’s two Antoine et Cléopâtre Suites, Op. 69 have at last transitioned from being true rarities to become orchestral repertoire that is actually known.  There are now four commercial recordings of the suites (three of them made within the past decade), and in the past several years the music […]

Ten important compositions of Florent Schmitt to be featured in the upcoming 2019/20 concert season by orchestras in Antwerp, Augusta, Boston, Buffalo, Cluj, Hiroshima, Maastricht, Montréal, Mulhouse, Paris, Perth, Québec City, Rio de Janeiro, Rochefort, Shanghai and Zeeland.

The international Bachtrack website is in the process of uploading its global database of classical music programs for the coming season. Although it doesn’t provide a comprehensive listing of every professional group’s events, the site covers nearly all of the major orchestras, opera and ballet companies around the world, making it the “go-to” resource for […]

Conductor JoAnn Falletta and mezzo-soprano Susan Platts talk about preparing Florent Schmitt’s music for performance and recording (Musique sur l’eau – 1898/1913 and La Tragédie de Salomé – 1907/10).

In 2020, the NAXOS label plans to release its second disk of music by the French composer Florent Schmitt that features the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and its music director, JoAnn Falletta. The first recording, which was released in 2015, included several orchestral pieces by Schmitt:  the two Antoine et Cléopâtre suites (after William Shakespeare) and […]

Paul Paray: The conductor who popularized Florent Schmitt’s ballet La Tragédie de Salomé (1907/10) for half a century.

Music history tells us that the French conductor Paul Paray (1886-1979) gave more first performances of Florent Schmitt’s compositions than any other director. Indeed, Maestro Paray premiered nearly a dozen of the composer’s creations spanning more than a quarter-century, including the following works: Trois rapsodies, Op. 53, January 29, 1928 Cinq motets, Op. 60, January 21, 1934 In Memoriam, Op. 72, […]