Florent Schmitt looks to the France of antiquity: Quatre poèmes de Ronsard (1941).

In May 1924, a new edition of the French magazine La Revue musicale hit the newsstands — one that was devoted to the artistic legacy of Pierre de Ronsard, among the most celebrated poets in all of French literary history. The brainchild of Henry Prunières, founder and editorial guiding light of the magazine, the May […]

Just Announced: Prisma String Trio to make a new recording of Florent Schmitt’s extraordinary Trio a cordes (1944).

It will be just the third time the work has been commercially recorded — and the first one in more than three decades. Among French composer Florent Schmitt’s extensive chamber music creations are a string trio and string quartet that he composed during the waning days of World War II and immediately following. It was […]

Florent Schmitt takes a breather: Petites musiques for solo piano (1906).

Within the extensive catalogue of compositions by Florent Schmitt are a great many works for piano – including solo, duet and duo-pianist pieces. Most of this output dates from the composer’s early years of creativity from about 1890 to the mid-1920s, although several additional sets of solo piano pieces would be published in the runup […]

Five important compositions of Florent Schmitt to be featured in the upcoming 2020-21 concert season by orchestras in Duluth, Houston, Indianapolis, London, Lucerne, Osaka, Paris, Québec City, Rochefort, St. Louis, Saratoga Springs, Strasbourg and Tokyo.

In a classical music world turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic, orchestras are bravely stepping forward in the 2020-21 concert season to commemorate French composer Florent Schmitt’s 150th birthday anniversary. The international Bachtrack website is in the process of uploading its global database of classical music programs for the coming season. Although it doesn’t […]

Austrian conductor Gottfried Rabl talks about preparing and presenting the 2020 Romanian premiere performance of Florent Schmitt’s blockbuster choral composition Psalm 47 (1904).

In early March 2020, I had the opportunity to attend what turned out to be the very last public performances of Florent Schmitt’s orchestral before the Coronavirus pandemic effectively shut down classical concerts across the globe. Those concerts, presented by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of JoAnn Falletta, were noteworthy not only because the […]

Florent Schmitt and Heitor Villa-Lobos: An enduring friendship anchored in music.

Throughout his lengthy career, the French composer Florent Schmitt maintained personal friendships with many of his counterparts.  He was at the center of musical life in Paris, having particularly close relationships with Maurice Ravel, Albert Roussel, Gabriel Pierné, Paul Dukas, Gabriel Fauré, and numerous other French composers, in addition to helping the careers of younger […]

Danse des Devadasis (1908): Florent Schmitt’s masterful evocation of the temple dancers of South India.

“What I find most astonishing about this piece is the fact that such heightened intensity and élan is achieved in record time … Florent Schmitt packs in the musical imagery required to make us imagine in our minds — and feel in our bodies — the dancing rites and rituals of the Devadasis. He makes […]

Pièces romantiques (1900-08): Florent Schmitt’s “transitional” suite for solo piano.

Throughout his lengthy creative career which spanned more than seven decades from the 1890s to the 1950s, the French composer Florent Schmitt would create vast swaths of piano music. For a composer who possessed considerable pianistic talents of his own, it seems completely fitting that he would do so — and predictably, many of the […]

Late bloomer? Florent Schmitt’s La Tragédie de Salomé (1907/10) is now making a splash with regional orchestras and student ensembles.

Of Florent Schmitt’s major compositions, undoubtedly the one that has achieved the greatest fame over the decades is the ballet La Tragédie de Salomé, which Schmitt created for the dancer Loïe Fuller who presented the hour-long “mimed drama” at the Théâtre des Arts (now the Théâtre Hébertot) in Paris in 1907. That original version of La […]

Canadian pianist Linda Ippolito talks about discovering and performing Pupazzi (1907), Florent Schmitt’s whimsical tribute to Commedia dell’Arte characters.

Over the past 20 years, the vast majority of Florent Schmitt’s music for piano solo has been rediscovered by a new generation of music-lovers. Moreover, nearly all of this music has been commercially recorded at least one time. However, one piano composition, Pupazzi, Opus 36 (Puppets), hasn’t been part of the revival, and the work […]

Simplicity, elegance and wit: Florent Schmitt’s piano suite Small Gestures (1940).

Although he played the flute and the organ, French composer Florent Schmitt’s main instrument was the piano. So it should come as little surprise that when we look at Schmitt’s extensive catalogue of 138 opus numbers plus several additional creations, piano works comprise the largest single component of his output. On the other hand, Schmitt’s most […]

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 […]

Director Bill Barclay and conductor JoAnn Falletta talk about mounting a dramatic adaptation of Antony & Cleopatra that pairs Shakespeare’s words with Florent Schmitt’s jaw-dropping music from the 1920 Paris production of the play.

By now, it seems that Florent Schmitt’s two Antoine et Cléopâtre Suites, Op. 69 have at last transitioned from being true rarities to become orchestral repertoire that is actually known.  There are now four commercial recordings of the suites (three of them made within the past decade), and in the past several years the music […]

American choral director Scott Tucker talks about the connection between Gabriel Fauré, Lili Boulanger and Florent Schmitt — and presenting Schmitt’s Psaume XLVII in a concert showcasing the important choral legacy of all three composers.

“It was the most thrilling piece I’d heard in years.  I was so moved by its unbridled joy that I knew we had to build an entire concert around it …” — Scott Tucker, Artistic Director, The Choral Arts Society of Washington On Sunday, May 19, 2019, The Choral Arts Society of Washington will present a […]

Keyboard musician Emmanuel Pélaprat talks about Florent Schmitt’s Chant de guerre (1914) and preparing transcriptions for the Musiciens et la Grande Guerre series of recordings (Editions Hortus).

One of the most artistically significant and vital projects to come out of the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of World War I is a group of 35 recordings published by Editions Hortus in its Musiciens et la Grande Guerre series.  These recordings have been issued over a five-year span – each one based on […]