Stretching tonality to the breaking point: Florent Schmitt’s weird and daring Kérob-Shal (1919-24).

Even before the onset of World War I, Florent Schmitt was already known as a pathfinding composer.  Indeed, such works as Psaume XLVII (1904), La Tragédie de Salomé (1907) and the Piano Quintet (1908) had already cemented his reputation as one of the most influential voices among his generation of French composers. But it was during […]

“White-haired, bearded and thoroughly charming”: American contralto Rita Sebastian’s remembrances of performing with Florent Schmitt at Town Hall in New York City (1932).

One of the serendipitous aspects of music history is coming across rare and precious documents that have remained hidden for decades.  Such an occurrence happened this past summer when JoAnn Falletta, music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, received a package in the mail containing a collection of documents pertaining to a recital given by […]

Florent Schmitt’s Intense, Monumental Piano Quintet (1908)

The catalog of music composed by Florent Schmitt contains numerous chamber works. Among them are three large-scale compositions for string ensemble: the Trio, Op. 105, the Quartet, Op. 112, and the Piano Quintet, Op. 51. The Piano Quintet was the first of these three pieces to be created; Schmitt worked on the score for six […]

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 “Regarding the Psaume, what can we say that hasn’t already been said […]