Habeyssée (1947): Florent Schmitt’s rich and colorful suite for violin.

Even though he is justly famous for his highly colorful and opulent orchestrations, Florent Schmitt’s own instrument was the piano. And in his early years, much of what he composed were vast swaths of music for piano, as well as for voice with piano. But roughly contemporaneous with his tenure at the Villa Medici in Rome (1900-04), […]

American conductor JoAnn Falletta talks about the release of her new NAXOS recording of Florent Schmitt’s Antony & Cleopatra and The Haunted Palace with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.

“Florent Schmitt’s music should be mentioned in the same breath as Debussy and Ravel.” — JoAnn Falletta, American Orchestra Conductor In March of this year, the American conductor JoAnn Falletta recorded two important works by Florent Schmitt: the 1904 symphonic etude Le Palais hanté, Opus 49 and the two suites of incidental music for André […]

Beyond Salomé: Florent Schmitt’s Other Biblical Ballet (Danse d’Abisag — 1925)

One of the lesser known of Florent Schmitt’s “orientalist” works is Danse d’Abisag, Opus 75.  This work, which was composed in 1925, began life as a choreographic work but soon migrated to the concert hall. In creating the orientalist works upon which so much of his fame rests, Schmitt derived inspiration from historical, biblical and fictional events.  Danse […]

Hallucinatory Atmospherics: Florent Schmitt’s Rêves (1915)

Sprinkled throughout the catalogue of Florent Schmitt’s compositions are a goodly number of shorter orchestral pieces. They range in their moods from contemplative to joyous to stormy. One of these orchestral miniatures that I find particularly compelling is Rêves, Op. 65 (Dreams), a work that Schmitt began composing in 1913.  He prepared a piano version […]