Substance as well as style: The Quartet for Strings (1948) of Florent Schmitt.

During the extraordinarily long musical career of Florent Schmitt — which spanned 70 years from the late 1880s to the late 1950s — the composer created works for many combinations of instruments. Early on, there were vast swaths of piano music. Then came the sumptuous orchestral creations between 1900 and the onset of World War […]

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 […]

Florent Schmitt’s Valedictory Composition: Symphony No. 2 (1957)

Here we have it, ladies and gentlemen: France’s missing symphony from the 1950s … It is almost impossibly beautiful, with some of the most kaleidoscopic sound-staging and effective bass sonorities you will encounter. Florent Schmitt’s Second Symphony was never precisely lost, to be sure. It’s actually the Francophone 50s which seemed to disappear and turn […]