Paul Paray: The conductor who popularized Florent Schmitt’s ballet La Tragédie de Salomé (1907/10) for half a century.

Music history tells us that the French conductor Paul Paray (1886-1979) gave more first performances of Florent Schmitt’s compositions than any other director. Indeed, Maestro Paray premiered nearly a dozen of the composer’s creations spanning more than a quarter-century, including the following works: Trois rapsodies, Op. 53, January 29, 1928 Cinq motets, Op. 60, January 21, 1934 In Memoriam, Op. 72, November […]

Exploring dance forms down through the ages: Florent Schmitt’s Trois danses (1935).

Florent Schmitt’s two instruments were the flute and the piano. Arguably the piano was the one he preferred most — at least based on the quantity of music he created — for within the catalogue of Schmitt’s compositions are vast swaths of music written for the piano solo, piano duet and duo. The large majority of these […]

French actor and narrator Vincent Figuri talks about resurrecting and recording the full version of Florent Schmitt’s Fonctionnaire MCMXII (1923) with narration.

In the late 1980s the first and only commercial recording of Florent Schmitt’s intriguing composition Fonctionnaire MCMXII, Op. 74 (Functionary #1,912) was released on the Cybelia label, featuring the Rhenish State Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by James Lockhart. Schmitt published this symphonic picture 1923, and it received its premiere performance at the Lamoureux Concerts in 1924, conducted […]

Music critics at France-Musique evaluate current recordings of Florent Schmitt’s ballet La Tragédie de Salomé (1907/10).

Their designation of Paul Paray’s classic reading with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra as the best overall recording is echoed by France-Musique’s listener audience. As part of its popular broadcast series La Tribune des critiques de disques, in October 2017 the French national public radio channel France-Musique aired a two-hour program in which a roundtable panel of eminent […]

French conductor Fabien Gabel talks about Florent Schmitt’s Ronde burlesque (1927) … and why he champions the music of this composer around the world.

Fabien Gabel is one of France’s leading conductors of the younger generation, with an international career. He has been music director of the Orchestre Symphonique de Québec since 2012, and this year was also named music director of the Orchestre Français des Jeunes, succeeding David Zinman.  In addition, he guest-conducts regularly in the United States and major […]

In Memoriam: Florent Schmitt’s tribute to his teacher and mentor Gabriel Fauré (1922-35).

During his time as a student at the Paris Conservatoire, Florent Schmitt had his share of esteemed teachers including Jules Massenet, Théodore Dubois, André Gédalge and Albert Lavignac. But Gabriel Fauré, who along with Massenet were Schmitt’s two instructors in composition, was his favorite teacher and also arguably the most influential one. Time and again, we can hear […]

Beyond Salomé: Florent Schmitt’s Other Biblical Ballet (Danse d’Abisag — 1925)

One of the lesser known of Florent Schmitt’s “orientalist” works is Danse d’Abisag, Opus 75.  This work, which was composed in 1925, began life as a choreographic work but soon migrated to the concert hall. In creating the orientalist works upon which so much of his fame rests, Schmitt derived inspiration from historical, biblical and fictional events.  Danse […]