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 […]

Originality, Eclecticism … and Female Voices: Florent Schmitt’s Six Chœurs (1931).

Music lovers who know Florent Schmitt’s stunning Psaume XLVII (1904) might wonder what other choral music may have come from the composer’s pen. And in fact, there are nearly 25 individual choral scores written by Schmitt, composed over more than a half-century’s time. None of them are nearly as famous as the Psalm, but they […]

Oriane et le Prince d’Amour: Florent Schmitt’s Final ‘Orientalist’ Composition (1933)

One of the most memorable aspects of French composer Florent Schmitt’s musical output is his artistic work in the “orientalist” realm.  In fact, in this aspect it could be claimed with some justification that Schmitt had no peer, notwithstanding the efforts of other fine composers in France (Saint-Saens, Bizet, Lalo, d’Indy, Roussel, Rabaud, Ravel, Delage, Aubert, etc.) and elsewhere […]

Dionysiaques Around the World: Celebrating 100 Years of Florent Schmitt’s Masterpiece for Concert Band (1913-2013)

Dionysiaques, Op. 62 is unquestionably Florent Schmitt’s most famous work for wind ensemble.  It was composed exactly 100 years ago, but it would take decades for this 11-minute tour de force to become part of the core repertoire of concert bands. First in France … then in Europe and the United States and now in the […]

Florent Schmitt and the French Fascination with Edgar Allan Poe: Le Palais hanté (1904)

What is it in the French psyche that makes so many of its people attracted to the “dark side” in literature? Whether it’s the symbolists like Maurice Maeterlinck and Paul Verlaine, the noir novels of David Goodis or the dissolute stories and poetry of Edgar Allan Poe (as translated masterfully by Charles Baudelaire and Stéphane […]

Florent Schmitt and the Saxophone (Légende; Saxophone Quartet)

The saxophone has always held a tenuous position in the symphony orchestra. Perhaps because of its relatively late invention (around 1845), it’s never really become a full-fledged part of the wind section. Undoubtedly too, some composers have found the saxophone’s sonorities to be better suited for wind ensembles and pop bands than for classical music. But if […]

The intimate Florent Schmitt: Suite en rocaille (1934) and Sonatine en trio (1935).

For music-lovers who know Florent Schmitt’s big orchestral works, it might be surprising to learn that the composer also wrote many pieces for solo instruments and chamber ensembles. There is a vast trove of music for solo and duo-piano, and some of these are the beneficiary of fine recordings made recently by pianists like Vincent Larderet, […]

Musicologist Dr. Jerry Rife talks about his introduction to Florent Schmitt’s music.

Dr. Jerry E. Rife, a musicologist and professor of music at Rider University, has been a specialist on the music of Florent Schmitt for over 30 years. He has published several articles on the composer, and has just completed a detailed entry on Schmitt for the upcoming  edition of the New Grove Dictionary of Music & Musicians. The early […]

French Composer Florent Schmitt’s Romance with the Orient

When one looks at the body of work that makes up Florent Schmitt’s 138 opus numbers, the period 1900 to 1935 is striking in the number of important works that were inspired by Eastern/Oriental subjects and themes. Among the most significant of these compositions are: Psalm XLVII, Op. 38 (1904) for soprano, chorus, organ and orchestra […]

Florent Schmitt’s Valedictory Composition: Symphony No. 2 (1957)

Here we have it, ladies and gentlemen: France’s missing symphony from the 1950s … It is almost impossibly beautiful, with some of the most kaleidoscopic sound-staging and effective bass sonorities you will encounter. Florent Schmitt’s Second Symphony was never precisely lost, to be sure. It’s actually the Francophone 50s which seemed to disappear and turn […]

Dionysiaques: Florent Schmitt’s Incredible Composition for Concert Band (1913-14)

One of the most fascinating and forward-looking works in the concert band repertoire was penned by Florent Schmitt back in 1913/14. Dionysiaques, Op. 62 was composed for France’s elite Garde Républicaine Band, which premiered the work in 1925. Dionysiaques is a brilliant, 11-minute tour de force that takes the listener on an incredible sound journey. Although […]

La Tragédie de Salomé: Florent Schmitt’s Sinuous Temptress, Seducing Audiences for 100 Years

“[It] is like a half-hour visit to the pleasure dome in Xanadu, and if it doesn’t give you a few spiritual orgasms, then perhaps you need to insert Viagra® in each of your ears.” — Raymond Tuttle, Music Critic, Fanfare Magazine The ballet La Tragédie de Salomé, Op. 50 is Florent Schmitt’s most famous and […]

Get ready for Florent Schmitt’s piano duet and duo repertoire … all four CDs’ worth!

“[Florent Schmitt’s four-hand piano works are] probably the finest in the whole modern repertoire. Sanely modern and splendidly constructed (they are a joy to play), his large output — in quality and inspiration — stands alone, and his genius finds full expression in this form.” — Alec Rowley, English composer and keyboard artist Florent Schmitt’s […]

Conductor Yan-Pascal Tortelier talks about his Chandos Florent Schmitt recording of Psaume XLVII, La Tragédie de Salomé and Le Palais hanté.

One of more successful Schmitt music albums to be released recently features Yan-Pascal Tortelier conducting the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in Psalm XLVII, Op. 38, with Susan Bullock singing the important soprano part. It’s coupled with the composer’s most famous work, La Tragédie de Salomé, Op. 50, along with a comparative rarity, Le Palais hanté, Op. 49, […]

World premiere recording of Florent Schmitt’s Suite for Flute & Orchestra, dedicated to the great Jean-Pierre Rampal (1954).

Welcome news in that Florent Schmitt’s Suite for Flute & Orchestra, Opus 129, is receiving its world premiere recording by flautist James Strauss, with Laercio Diniz conducting the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra. The Suite was composed in 1954 when Schmitt was 84 years old.  It was dedicated to the great French flautist Jean-Pierre Rampal, who […]