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 […]

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 […]

Florent Schmitt’s Crépuscules (1898-1911): Richly evocative tone painting in the finest French pianistic tradition.

Composed between 1898 and 1911, Florent Schmitt’s Crépuscules, Op. 56 is a set of four pieces for solo piano that was published in 1913. It’s one of the most compelling French piano works of the period.  It also looks forward to Ombres which came along just a few years later — and which is probably the composer’s ultimate […]

L’Eventail de Jeanne: When Florent Schmitt teamed up with his compatriots to create an “omnibus” ballet (1927).

Throughout classical music history, “omnibus” compositions have been rather rare – and for the most part, they’ve been forgotten shortly after their celebrated premieres. Perhaps the earliest one of these interesting concoctions that has at least remained on the fringes of the repertoire is Hexameron — a morceau de concert put together in the late […]

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 […]

Beyond Debussy and Ravel: Florent Schmitt’s Ombres (1912-17)

Maurice Ravel’s Gaspard de la nuit is justly recognized as that composer’s most towering achievement in piano keyboard writing.  Composed in 1908, this set of three pieces (Ondine, Le Gibet, Scarbo) which take their inspiration from a book by Aloysius Bertrand, are the most technically demanding and revolutionary of Ravel’s piano works. Far less well-known but equally […]

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 […]

Hasards: A Quartet that Illustrates Florent Schmitt’s Highly Interesting Chamber Music Style (1943)

The chamber music pieces of Florent Schmitt are quite interesting and varied. Among them are wonderfully intimate works such as the Sonatine en Trio from 1934 which have a flavor somewhat similar to the chamber works of Schmitt’s compatriots Debussy and Ravel. But there are numerous other Schmitt compositions for chamber players that inhabit a different sound-world – more full-bodied and containing surprising […]

Duo-pianists Kasparov and Lutsyshyn talk about their new Florent Schmitt Recording Project

One of the most exciting recent recording projects featuring the music of Florent Schmitt is the complete duo-piano music being released in 2012-13 by Naxos Grand Piano. The four-CD traversal is performed by the Invencia Piano Duo: Andrey Kasparov and Oksana Lutsyshyn. The first of the four volumes in the series was released in late […]

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 “If you conduct just one French choral work in your career, it […]

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, […]

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 […]