Canadian soprano Karina Gauvin and French conductor Fabien Gabel talk about becoming acquainted with Florent Schmitt’s choral spectacular Psalm 47 (1904) and preparing the music for performance.

On May 29, 2019, the Orchestre Symphonique de Quebéc and its chorus presented the orchestra’s final concert of the season – one that featured French music exclusively. The event was a red-carpet affair at the Grand-Théâtre in Québec City in which local dignitaries were invited guests of the orchestra.  Also noteworthy was the centerpiece of […]

Horn soloist Corbin Wagner talks about performing Lied et scherzo (1910), Florent Schmitt’s extraordinary double wind quintet composition featuring the French horn.

One of the most fascinating pieces of music featuring the French horn is Florent Schmitt’s Lied et scherzo, Op. 54.  Originally composed in 1910 for double wind quintet in which one of the horns plays an important solo role, subsequently the composer prepared three other versions of this music:  one for horn and piano; another […]

Florent Schmitt and the Prix de Rome: 1900-1904 (Musiques de plein air; Le Palais hanté; Psaume XLVII)

In the century-long period from 1850 to 1950, the Prix de Rome prize for composition was probably the single most important and prestigious recognition for any French composer. And for that reason, nearly every important French composer strove to win it. Offered to students at the Paris Conservatoire, winners of the award were rewarded with a handsome stipend, along with a multi-year stay […]

In the chamber of the Shulamite: The great sopranos who have performed and recorded Florent Schmitt’s Psalm 47 (1904).

The Psaume XLVII of Florent Schmitt is recognized as one of the most important choral works of the early 20th century.  And while it isn’t performed with great regularity, it has benefited from quality interpretations as revealed by some of the world’s leading conductors, ensembles and soloists. Particular pride of place goes to a group […]

Choral chromaticism par excellence: Florent Schmitt’s Cinq chœurs en vingt minutes for mixed chorus and large orchestra (1951).

Within the extensive catalogue of Florent Schmitt’s compositions are a great many vocal works — pieces written for solo voice or for chorus.  In fact, there are over 50 such opus numbers. Many of Schmitt’s choral works are based on sacred texts, although often the scores seem quite removed from a sense of piety.  Perhaps the best-known example of […]

Powerful Sounds: The Seven Commercial Recordings of Florent Schmitt’s Psaume 47 (1904)

There is little question that Florent Schmitt’s Psaume XLVII, Op. 38, composed in 1904,  is one of the most powerful compositions in the choral repertoire. Indeed, the forces called for in this music — large chorus, large orchestra, soprano solo and organ — make it nearly unique in the French repertoire.  When it had its premiere in […]

Excitement on Steroids: Six Live Concert Recordings of Florent Schmitt’s Blockbuster Choral Composition Psalm 47 (1904)

For many classical music lovers, nothing can compare to a live performance.  While studio recordings promise greater precision and better sound quality — along with avoiding distracting audience noise – often this comes at the expense of spontaneity and immediacy. And for a piece of music as viscerally thrilling as Florent Schmitt’s Psalm XLVII, Op. 38, composed […]