Author Topic: Florent Schmitt(1870-1958)  (Read 18312 times)

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Offline Dundonnell

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Florent Schmitt(1870-1958)
« on: May 14, 2008, 03:33:03 PM »
I see that the increasingly interesting Timpani label(French) is planning the release of Florent Schmitt's two suites from the Incidental Music to 'Antoine e Cleopatre' coupled with a piece called 'Mirages'-

http://www.timpani-records.com/1c1133.html

I have a real soft spot for Schmitt's music-or at least what I have heard of it. He wrote those two splendid works-'La Tragedie de Salome" and Psalm XLVII which are frequently coupled together. Somewhere or other I still have the old Martinon LP version of the coupling and I also have Janowski conducting both works on an Erato Double CD together with the 'Janiana' Symphony for string orchestra, the Suite en Rocaille and the Lied et Scherzo(the performances of  Salome and Psalm XLVII have been reissued on Warner Apex). There is a recent coupling on Hyperion conducted by Thierry Fischer which I haven't heard but is reckoned to be better than Janowski. Both Salome and Psalm XLVII are glorious, rich romantic works splendidly orchestrated in a style which is Wagnerian/Straussian
and full of barbaric splendour.

There is the old Marco Polo CD with Leif Segerstam conducting the Rheinland-Pfalz Philharmonic Orchestra in the very late(1958) Symphony No.2 and other short pieces and a Naive CD with the Symphonie Concertante for piano and orchestra(which I have ordered).

Schmitt was a composer whose star set after World War Two as a result of changes in musical taste but also his reputation as an anti-semitic pro-German supporter of the Vichy Regime(although he was awarded the Legion of Honour in 1952). Anyone with a taste for romantic exoticism a la Respighi should however enjoy Schmitt's music.

I am sure that there will be other members who appreciate the wallow!

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Florent Schmitt(1870-1958)
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2008, 02:09:56 AM »
Surely somebody else likes Schmitt's music??

Offline J.Z. Herrenberg

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Re: Florent Schmitt(1870-1958)
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2008, 02:17:47 AM »
Florent Schmitt has always been just a name to me, Colin, cropping up in books about other French composers of the time (Ravel, Debussy)... I never came round to listening to him, for one reason or another.

Perhaps now is the time.
Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything. -- Plato

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Florent Schmitt(1870-1958)
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2008, 01:15:35 PM »
Florent Schmitt has always been just a name to me, Colin, cropping up in books about other French composers of the time (Ravel, Debussy)... I never came round to listening to him, for one reason or another.

Perhaps now is the time.

All right then...try this review of the recent Hyperion disc-

http://www.musicweb-international.com/classRev/2007/Aug07/Schmitt_Salome_CDA67599.htm

Offline The new erato

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Re: Florent Schmitt(1870-1958)
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2008, 08:51:54 PM »
His Dionysiaque is one of the most exciting pieces for band I've ever heard.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Florent Schmitt(1870-1958)
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2008, 03:53:27 AM »
I am mainly aware of this composer through a photo of him visiting Vaughan Williams in London in 1958, towards the end of both their lives. I do have a CD of the Tragedy of Salome and must give it a proper listen to. Afraid that I have been put off up until now by the knowledge of his anti-semitism, but I know that I should judge the music on its own merits.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Florent Schmitt(1870-1958)
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2008, 04:16:50 AM »
I am mainly aware of this composer through a photo of him visiting Vaughan Williams in London in 1958, towards the end of both their lives. I do have a CD of the Tragedy of Salome and must give it a proper listen to. Afraid that I have been put off up until now by the knowledge of his anti-semitism, but I know that I should judge the music on its own merits.

I quite understand, Jeffrey, but please give his music a go if you can. It is immensely exciting stuff!

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Florent Schmitt(1870-1958)
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2008, 05:23:52 AM »
I quite understand, Jeffrey, but please give his music a go if you can. It is immensely exciting stuff!

Am listening to "Psalm 47" at the moment. It is very exciting stuff :o
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Florent Schmitt(1870-1958)
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2008, 05:34:16 AM »
Am listening to "Psalm 47" at the moment. It is very exciting stuff :o

Which version do you have, Jeffrey? I ask because, although I am playing the Janowski version myself, I have finally rediscovered my LP version with Martinon(what a fine conductor he was!) and will give it a go later. I recall the Martinon as a more polished and inspired performance. Am tempted to buy the Hyperion Fischer.

I wonder if VW first met Schmitt when he was studying with Ravel?
« Last Edit: May 17, 2008, 05:43:37 AM by Dundonnell »

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Florent Schmitt(1870-1958)
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2008, 05:52:18 AM »
Which version do you have, Jeffrey? I ask because, although I am playing the Janowski version myself, I have finally rediscovered my LP version with Martinon(what a fine conductor he was!) and will give it a go later. I recall the Martinon as a more polished and inspired performance. Am tempted to buy the Hyperion Fischer.

I wonder if VW first met Schmitt when he was studying with Ravel?

Colin,

I have a French EMI recording with Jean Martinon conducting (with Roussel's equally dramatic Psalm 80). I think that this is my only Schmitt CD. I had mistakenly thought it was the Tragedy of Salome. Schmitt's style reminds me a bit of Ropartz; another new discovery for me.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Florent Schmitt(1870-1958)
« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2008, 06:00:23 AM »
Colin,

I have a French EMI recording with Jean Martinon conducting (with Roussel's equally dramatic Psalm 80). I think that this is my only Schmitt CD. I had mistakenly thought it was the Tragedy of Salome. Schmitt's style reminds me a bit of Ropartz; another new discovery for me.

Ah, that may well be the same performance! The LP is an EMI ASD2892(from 1973)-shows how old I am!! ;) The coupling though is Salome.
Glad to hear you have also discovered Ropartz! Lots of good stuff on the Timpani label. I have all the symphonies ;) Nos. 1-2 and 4-5 on Timpani and No. 3 on a EMI CD conducted by Plasson. The lost generation of French composers-Tournemire, Schmitt, Ropartz, Emmanuel, Le Flem-which continued the traditions of Franck, d'Indy etc.

Oh, by the way, Messiaen apparently admired Schmitt's music. It is always interesting to learn of the unexpected(well, maybe not so unexpected!) musical tastes of composers!

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Florent Schmitt(1870-1958)
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2008, 06:17:01 AM »
Ah, that may well be the same performance! The LP is an EMI ASD2892(from 1973)-shows how old I am!! ;) The coupling though is Salome.
Glad to hear you have also discovered Ropartz! Lots of good stuff on the Timpani label. I have all the symphonies ;) Nos. 1-2 and 4-5 on Timpani and No. 3 on a EMI CD conducted by Plasson. The lost generation of French composers-Tournemire, Schmitt, Ropartz, Emmanuel, Le Flem-which continued the traditions of Franck, d'Indy etc.

Oh, by the way, Messiaen apparently admired Schmitt's music. It is always interesting to learn of the unexpected(well, maybe not so unexpected!) musical tastes of composers!

Sauguet and Magnard are two other French composers I admire. I also have lots of LPs of 1973 vintage!
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Florent Schmitt(1870-1958)
« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2008, 06:18:31 AM »
Sauguet and Magnard are two other French composers I admire. I also have lots of LPs of 1973 vintage!

Yes...I should have included those two as well!

Offline J.Z. Herrenberg

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Re: Florent Schmitt(1870-1958)
« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2008, 06:24:06 AM »
Magnard's Third and Fourth are absolute masterpieces. Ansermet and Sanderling are best in the Third, Sanderling in the Fourth (Ossonce tops him in the Finale, though).

IMO, of course...
Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything. -- Plato

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Florent Schmitt(1870-1958)
« Reply #14 on: May 17, 2008, 07:23:34 AM »
Magnard's Third and Fourth are absolute masterpieces. Ansermet and Sanderling are best in the Third, Sanderling in the Fourth (Ossonce tops him in the Finale, though).

IMO, of course...

Yes, and also Chant Funebre, a very moving piece. I have a box set with Michel Plasson conducting the Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline J.Z. Herrenberg

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Re: Florent Schmitt(1870-1958)
« Reply #15 on: May 17, 2008, 07:34:07 AM »
Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything. -- Plato

Offline schweitzeralan

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Re: Florent Schmitt(1870-1958)
« Reply #16 on: January 13, 2009, 10:19:19 AM »
I see that the increasingly interesting Timpani label(French) is planning the release of Florent Schmitt's two suites from the Incidental Music to 'Antoine e Cleopatre' coupled with a piece called 'Mirages'-

http://www.timpani-records.com/1c1133.html

I have a real soft spot for Schmitt's music-or at least what I have heard of it. He wrote those two splendid works-'La Tragedie de Salome" and Psalm XLVII which are frequently coupled together. Somewhere or other I still have the old Martinon LP version of the coupling and I also have Janowski conducting both works on an Erato Double CD together with the 'Janiana' Symphony for string orchestra, the Suite en Rocaille and the Lied et Scherzo(the performances of  Salome and Psalm XLVII have been reissued on Warner Apex). There is a recent coupling on Hyperion conducted by Thierry Fischer which I haven't heard but is reckoned to be better than Janowski. Both Salome and Psalm XLVII are glorious, rich romantic works splendidly orchestrated in a style which is Wagnerian/Straussian
and full of barbaric splendour.

There is the old Marco Polo CD with Leif Segerstam conducting the Rheinland-Pfalz Philharmonic Orchestra in the very late(1958) Symphony No.2 and other short pieces and a Naive CD with the Symphonie Concertante for piano and orchestra(which I have ordered).

Schmitt was a composer whose star set after World War Two as a result of changes in musical taste but also his reputation as an anti-semitic pro-German supporter of the Vichy Regime(although he was awarded the Legion of Honour in 1952). Anyone with a taste for romantic exoticism a la Respighi should however enjoy Schmitt's music.

I am sure that there will be other members who appreciate the wallow!


I have several recordings of both orchestral and pianistic works.  Just recently I've come to appreciate the expressive, mournful piano piece called "Spleen," based on Baudelaire''s poem.  Also "Ombres" is a magnificent, impressionistic piece.

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Re: Florent Schmitt(1870-1958)
« Reply #17 on: January 13, 2009, 03:55:08 PM »
is anyone familiar with the string quartet in G (1949), a late work which seems to have no recording?

i think he had a few string chamber works that haven't much seen the recording studio. "hasards"? or "habyessees(??)"

Offline jowcol

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Re: Florent Schmitt(1870-1958)
« Reply #18 on: January 13, 2009, 07:25:23 PM »
Just to jump in-- the tragedy of Salome is one of the classic early 20th works, and simply melts me.  It inspired me one night to spent several hours walking through woods alone in the moonlight.  (I had the Martinon version from the 70s), and the last few minutes of Psalm 47 are really uplifting.  I have the Errato CD that came out in the early 90s with those to works, I think.  It was OOP at one point.

I picked up some other disc in the late 80s that didn't catch with me the same-- I'll need to wade back in and find it.  I may not  have been ready. Maybe its time to renew the acquaintance.

wjp
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Duke Ellington

Offline schweitzeralan

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Re: Florent Schmitt(1870-1958)
« Reply #19 on: January 20, 2009, 10:31:47 AM »
Surely somebody else likes Schmitt's music??

Thanks for informing me of this thread.  I am an ardent admirer of his symphonic and pianistic works.  In the other thread I was asking if anyone was familiar with; or, if he/she played works like "Ombres" or "Speen."
These are just part of his repertoire, but I quote them here to emphasize  their singular beauty.