It seems that most composers whose work had been popular during the 20th century, and whose popularity had faded since their deaths, have become the standard epitaph for the world of Classical Music. Not so in the case of Florent Schmitt, whose rediscovery in recent years has prompted a string of new recordings, and even being re-introduced in the Concert Hall. His Symphony Number 2 was performed just weeks ago by the BBC Symphony in a broadcast from Barbican Hall. Last year, it was a BBC Symphony performance of Schmitt’s incidental music to Antony and Cleopatra. His music has been warmly received by both audiences and critics. So I think it’s safe to assume we can leave Florent Schmitt off the list of the Overlooked.
This weekend it’s a performance of his Le Petit elf Fermé-l’oeil, in a broadcast from Paris radio by the legendary French conductor Eugène Bigot and the ORTF Orchestra. The recording and broadcast dates aren’t certain, but an educated guess would put it around 1952 – it may be later or earlier. Researchers will know the exact dates and tell me, won’t you?
It’s gratifying to know that the music of Florent Schmitt is being actively rediscovered, and that his work is of sufficient importance to have it included in many Orchestras concert programs in the coming years.
I am hoping this starts a trend of re-discovery of Schmitt and so many other from a wide time-frame, and to bring these works before the public, and let them be judged by their merits, and hopefully become integrated into standard repertoire. It’s rediscovery but in fact, it’s new blood, because most of these works haven’t been heard since they were initially premiered 50-100 years ago.
This might be the spark that ignites interest once again. Fingers crossed..
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