FLORENT SCHMITT (1870 - 1958)
A composition pupil of Massenet and of Fauré at the Paris Conservatoire, Florent Schmitt, in common with a number of his contemporaries, was fascinated by the exotic; an element of orientalism appears as a feature in several of his successful compositions.
La Tragédie de Salomé (‘The Tragedy of Salome’), originally a dance piece, was revised as a symphonic poem in 1910. An element of exoticism is apparent in the film score for Flaubert’s Salammbô, with its Carthaginian setting, and in a number of subsequent orchestral works, while his gifts of orchestration are evident in his two symphonies and in a varied series of other compositions.
Schmitt won early success with his exotic setting of Psalm 47 in 1904. Other choral works range from settings of La Fontaine’s fables to liturgical music (settings of the Mass and other sacred texts).
Chamber and Instrumental Music
Chamber music for various combinations of instruments includes finely judged work for wind instruments, while Schmitt’s music for keyboard shows equal variety of conception.