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 […]

Infectious elegance and so much more: Florent Schmitt’s Trois valses nocturnes (1901).

French composer Florent Schmitt’s abilities as a pianist were considerable. Even so, he characterized the piano as “a convenient but disappointing substitute for the orchestra.” Taking a look at Schmitt’s piano scores, what’s immediately apparent are the technical demands that are required to do the music justice.  It’s akin to what the French pianist Alfred Cortot famously […]

French music specialist Michael Feingold talks about creating orchestrations of Maurice Ravel’s piano and vocal scores.

Regular readers of the Florent Schmitt Website + Blog know that sometimes we “relax the routine” and publish an article that focuses on a different composer – usually a contemporary of Schmitt. Of the many fellow composers who Schmitt interacted with during his lengthy career, one with whom he shared an enduring professional and personal bond […]

Musiques intimes (1891-1904): Captivating piano miniatures by Florent Schmitt that reveal the composer in his most introspective moods.

Florent Schmitt may be best-known for his opulent orchestral scores, most of which were written in the first three decades of the 20th century. But Schmitt’s compositional career, which spanned more than seven decades beginning in the late 1880s, contains so much more than just those creations. Taking a look at the composer’s extensive catalogue — […]

Made for the stage: The incredible life and career of dancer and dramatic actress Ida Rubinstein … and her 20-year collaboration with French composer Florent Schmitt.

In every era, there are always a few people in the arts whose life and career seem like something out of a movie or novel. Such a characterization is wholly apt in the case of dancer and dramatic actress Ida Rubinstein, the Russian-Jewish femme fatale who commanded the limelight in Paris for nearly half a century. Born in 1885 […]

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 […]

Just announced: The premiere recording of Florent Schmitt’s own version of Ombres for piano and orchestra, featuring French pianist Vincent Larderet, soon to be released.

  While the French composer Florent Schmitt wrote vast quantities of music for solo and duo-pianists, the concertante pieces he composed for piano and orchestra are few. In fact, there are just two of them. One is the Symphonie Concertante, a daringly modern work Schmitt composed in 1931 on commission from Serge Koussevitzky and the […]

Florent Schmitt and Igor Stravinsky: A Consequential Musical Relationship

Throughout his long life and composing career, Florent Schmitt would forge many personal friendships with his counterparts.  He was at the center of musical life in Paris, maintaining particularly close relationships with Maurice Ravel, Albert Roussel, Gabriel Pierné, Paul Dukas, Gabriel Fauré, Guillaume Lekeu and numerous other French composers. He also had decades-long friendships with composers from other […]

French Pianist Vincent Larderet Talks about Performing and Recording the Music of Florent Schmitt

To say that Vincent Larderet is one of the most accomplished of the younger generation of classical pianists would be an understatement. As a Steinway Artist, Mr. Larderet has attracted international recognition by virtue of the exceptional intensity of his performances and commercial recordings, praised by critics not only in his native France but also in Continental […]

Florent Schmitt and Ralph Vaughan Williams: A Friendship Over Five Decades

The cover story in the Ralph Vaughan Williams Society Journal, published in October 2014, focuses on the half-century friendship between the French composer Florent Schmitt and his English counterpart. The two composers were near contemporaries of one another — Schmitt was older by two years — and they died within mere days of each other in […]

French Soprano Denise Duval: Muse to Francis Poulenc … Friend of Florent Schmitt

A living legend today — well into her nineties — the French soprano Denise Duval is a link to France’s glorious musical past. History remembers her as the famous muse to Francis Poulenc, but Duval was also an important interpreter of the music of other significant French composers of the early- and mid-twentieth century — among […]

The Composer and the Impresario: Florent Schmitt and Felix Aprahamian

Felix Aprahamian (1914-2005) is probably the closest thing to a renaissance man we’ve seen in the 20th Century — at least in the realm of music. Born into an Armenian immigrant mercantile family in London in 1914, he spent his entire life in the service of music, despite having trained for a career in business. […]

Shimmering Brilliance: Florent Schmitt’s Andante et Scherzo for Harp and String Quartet (1903-6)

In the early years of the 20th Century, several French composers would pen some highly interesting compositions that have given harp players some great repertoire items in the ensuing decades. The composers in question were Claude Debussy, André Caplet, Maurice Ravel … and Florent Schmitt.  And the instigation was the arrival of the chromatic harp on […]

French Cellist Henri Demarquette talks about the Music of Florent Schmitt and the Introït, récit et congé (1948).

The recent release of the premiere recording of Florent Schmitt’s Introït, récit et congé, Op. 113, has given lovers of French music and cello music in general the opportunity to hear an interesting and inventive concertante piece that was composed in 1948 for the French cellist André Navarra. Fortunately, this premiere recording (on the Timpani label) […]

Florent Schmitt’s Crépuscules (1898-1911): Richly evocative tone painting in the finest French pianistic tradition.

Composed between 1898 and 1911, Florent Schmitt’s Crépuscules, Op. 56 is a set of four pieces for solo piano that was published in 1913. It’s one of the most compelling French piano works of the period.  It also looks forward to Ombres which came along just a few years later — and which is probably the composer’s ultimate […]