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 […]

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 […]