Giuseppe Verdi and the nexus of music and politics: An interview with author Alberto Nones.

“For Verdi, music was an integral part of reality … a force behind history …” In something of a change of pace for regular readers of the Florent Schmitt Blog, this post is on the topic of the Italian operatic composer Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901).  Highly successful during his lifetime, his fame has hardly dimmed in […]

Brilliance and Sophistication: Florent Schmitt’s Trois Rapsodies for Two Pianos (1903-04)

One of the most satisfying of Florent Schmitt’s extensive trove of music for piano duet and duo – and the one that is my personal favorite of all of them – is Trois Rapsodies, Op. 53, a work he composed in 1903-4. Made up of three movements titled Française, Polonaise and Viennoise, it is a work that fully engages […]

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) […]

“Pure Music Masterpiece”: Florent Schmitt’s Sonate libre for Violin and Piano (1918-19).

Within Florent Schmitt’s musical output are a half-dozen works that feature the violin.  Perhaps the most significant of them is his Sonate libre, Op. 68, a work he composed in 1918-19 at Artiguemy, his country retreat in the Hautes-Pyrenees. The formal title of the music is a real mouthful:  Sonate libre en deux parties enchaînées, ad modem Clementis […]

Introït, récit et congé: Florent Schmitt’s tour de force for cello and orchestra (1948).

Over his seven decades-long composing career, Florent Schmitt would pen three concertante works for cello. The early Chant élégiaque (from 1899-1903) seems clearly influenced by Schmitt’s teacher and mentor, Gabriel Fauré, who had composed his own Elegy for Cello & Orchestra in the 1880s. The 1932 Final for Cello & Orchestra comes from Schmitt’s middle period of […]

Voluptuous Colors: Florent Schmitt’s Suite for Trumpet (1955)

Over his long composing career, Florent Schmitt wrote numerous concertante pieces showcasing nearly every instrument of the orchestra. As with a good number of other French composers, some of these works were written as examination pieces for students at the Paris Conservatoire. A representative example is Schmitt’s Suite en trois parties for Trumpet & Piano, Op. […]

Spanish flautist Roberto Casado talks about Florent Schmitt’s Sonatine en Trio and Suite en rocaille – and their place in French Impressionistic music.

The Spanish flautist and chamber musician Roberto Casado discovered the music of Florent Schmitt as part of a quest to find new repertoire pieces in the French Impressionist tradition. His goal was to find scores that weren’t derivative, but instead contained interesting touches that distinguished them from the well-known works of Ravel and Debussy. This mission […]

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 […]

Florent Schmitt and the Flute (Scherzo-Pastorale; Quatuor; Suite en trois parties)

For a composer who wrote many pages of chamber and instrumental music featuring nearly every instrument of the orchestra, Florent Schmitt’s compositions featuring the flute are comparative few. This may seem surprising for a musician who actually played the flute in several military musical ensembles during World War I.  Nevertheless, I count only three such works in the Schmitt […]

First-ever recording of Florent Schmitt’s ballet Le petit elfe Ferme-l’oeil (1923) to be released.

Timpani, the French CD label that specializes in recording unfamiliar French repertoire of the romantic and modern eras, has just announced plans to release the first-ever recording of Florent Schmitt’s children’s ballet, Le petit elfe Ferme-l’oeil, Opus 73. The Ferme-l’oeil score is quite interesting in that it began life in 1912 as a suite of […]

Saxophonist Christopher Bartz talks about Florent Schmitt’s Légende (1918) and its pride of place in the saxophone repertoire.

Florent Schmitt’s Légende, Op. 66 is one of the most compelling concertante pieces ever written for the saxophone.  Composed in 1918, it’s a work that exists in versions for saxophone, viola and violin soloist, along with orchestral or piano accompaniment. Simply put, it’s an unforgettable piece of music:  Within the span of just ten minutes, Schmitt presents a rhapsodic […]

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 […]

French Pianist Bruno Belthoise Talks About the Music of Florent Schmitt and Le petit elfe Ferme-l’oeil (1912)

The French pianist Bruno Belthoise has been performing Florent Schmitt’s piano duet composition Une semaine du petit elfe Ferme-l’oeil, Op. 58 since 2006. Not only has he become a champion of the music score, he has also created a special presentation incorporating Schmitt’s music, story line narration and imagery that helps introduce children to the world of […]

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 […]

Le petit elfe Ferme-l’oeil: Florent Schmitt’s Children’s Ballet (1923)

The popularity of large-scale works like Psalm XLVII, La Tragédie de Salomé and Dionysiaques would make one think that Florent Schmitt cared little for intimate subject matters as inspiration for his compositions. But the reality is different.  While it’s true that the more grandiose and dramatic scores of the composer tend to be the ones […]