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 and Shanghai.

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, […]

Four important compositions of Florent Schmitt to be featured in the upcoming 2018/19 concert season by orchestras in Bern, Buffalo, Malmö, Mexico City, Norfolk, Paris, Québec City, Warsaw and Washington.

The international Bachtrack website is in the process of uploading its global database of classical music programs for the upcoming season. Although it isn’t an exhaustive listing of every professional group, the site covers nearly all of the major orchestras, opera and ballet companies around the world, making it the “go-to” resource for information about what’s happening […]

French pianist Bruno Belthoise talks about keeping Florent Schmitt’s Une semaine du petit elfe Ferme-l’oeil (1912) part of his performing repertoire over the years.

In 2013, one of the earliest interviews I conducted for the Florent Schmitt Website + Blog was with the French pianist Bruno Belthoise.  I had discovered him from YouTube, where several movements of Florent Schmitt’s piano four-hand suite Une semaine du petit elfe Ferme-l’oeil, Opus 58 had been uploaded from a performance he gave at the […]

Experiencing Florent Schmitt’s Symphony No. 2 (1957) in concert: An eyewitness report from London.

On October 27, 2017, Sakari Oramo and the BBC Symphony Orchestra presented Florent Schmitt’s Symphony No. 2, Opus 137 — the composer’s final orchestral work, which was completed in 1957 when Schmitt was 87 years old. This performance at the Barbican in London was the first time the Symphony No. 2 had been presented in concert […]

Arts critic Steven Kruger talks about the music of Florent Schmitt and its place in France’s “Golden Age” of classical music.

One of my favorite critics on the international classical music scene today is Steven Kruger, who is a reviewer for New York Arts and Fanfare magazine.  What is particularly special is Kruger’s way of tying his music criticism to broader cultural and artistic undercurrents, often making fresh and novel connections that go unnoticed by others. […]

Musicians Edward Rushton, Guillaume Le Dréau and JoAnn Falletta talk about Florent Schmitt’s captivating Chansons à quatre voix (1903-05).

Throughout his long composing career spanning from the late 1880s to the late 1950s, Florent Schmitt would return again and again to the human voice. While he never composed an opera, he wrote voluminous pages of music in every other form that features solo and mixed voices. Tellingly, the composer’s Opus 1 and his final Opus 138 […]

Experiencing Florent Schmitt’s Antony & Cleopatra (1920) in a dramatic adaptation: An eyewitness report from London.

In 2010, the American conductor JoAnn Falletta resurrected a Florent Schmitt rarity: The Suite No. 1 from the incidental music the composer had written for Andre Gide’s adaptation of William Shakespeare’s play Antony & Cleopatra.  It was an Ida Rubinstein production done in her characteristically outré style: an entire-evening extravaganza mounted at the Paris Opéra. […]