Florent Schmitt

Florent Schmitt - "one of the most fascinating of France’s lesser-known classical composers".

The Marcel Mule Saxophone Quartet Play Music Of Florent Schmitt – 1951 – Past Daily Weekend Gramophone

Florent Schmitt
Florent Schmitt – “one of the most fascinating of France’s lesser-known classical composers”.

Florent Schmitt – Quartet For Saxophones – Marcel Mule Quartet – Studio recording – Circa 1951 – ORTF, Paris – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

Music of Florent Schmitt this weekend – his Quartet for Saxophones op. 102 from 1941, performed in this Broadcast Studio performance by the legendary Marcel Mule Saxophone Quartet.

My friend and musicologist Phillip Nones, who is a devoted and diligent preserver and promoter of the music of Florent Schmitt wrote this piece about his Saxophone Quartet – here’s an extended excerpt from the Florent Schmitt website:

Schmitt’s Saxophone Quartet, Opus 102, written in 1941 when the composer was 71 years old.

While the very idea of a piece featuring four saxophones may seem unusual, there are actually quite a few works of this kind in existence, thanks in part to the Paris Conservatoire’s need for recital and contest pieces.

The legendary French classical saxophone player Marcel Mule (1901-2001) was also instrumental in encouraging composers to write for his saxophone quartet — for which they were happy to oblige during the period from about 1930 up to the early 1960s.

So we see that Florent Schmitt’s piece stands alongside other notable French works for saxophone quartet like Gabriel Pierné’s Introduction & Variations on a Popular Rondo (1930), Jean Françaix’s Petit Quatuor (1936), Jean Absil’s Saxophone Quartet (1937), Jean Rivier’s Grave et Presto (1939), Eugène Bozza’s Andante et Scherzo (1938) and Nuages (1946), and Alfred Désenclos’ Saxophone Quartet (1962).

Schmitt’s own Quartet employs soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxophones. The first movement is a fugue … the second is a toccata-like number … while the third movement is slow and reflective and the concluding movement is marked “animated without excess.”

The Quartet has been well-served in recordings, with particularly effective performances done by the Deffayet Saxophone Quartet on EMI and the Diastema Saxophone Quartet on NAXOS, along with recordings by the Syrinx Quartet, the Aurelia Quartet, the Linos Quartet and others.

And now this broadcast performance from around 1951.

Enjoy. Special thanks to Philip Nones for the excellent work.

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