Florent Schmitt release balances the familiar with the unknown

This release mixes Florent Schmitt’s most recorded work –La Tragédie de Salomé — with some receiving their world recording premieres. But it’s all Schmitt, so it’s all good.

Maestro JoAnn Falletta and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra do well with late Romantic/early Post Romantic repertoire. Their previous Schmidtt recording of Antoine et Cleopatre was outstanding. As is this.

Falletta draws out the essence of Schmitt’s “Salomé” score. She goes beneath the superficial orientalisms to bring out the overripe decadence of Herod’s court. This performance would be ideal accompaniment the 1923 Nazimova silent film, “Salomé.”

Of equal interest are the other works on this release. The ballet suite from “Oriane et le Prince d’Amour” is a wonderful example of French Impressionism. The music seems to ebb and flow, telling its story through a soft-focus lens.

Schmitt’s “Légende” was originally composed for saxophone. But it works quite well as a showpiece for violin, especially as presented here. Nikke Chooi’s performance is expressive without being sentimental, forceful without being harsh.

If you’re not that familiar with Schmitt, this release is a great place to start.

Florent Schmitt: La Tragédie de Salomé
Musique sur l’eau; Oriane et le Prince d’Amour; Légende
Susan Platts, mezzo-soprano; Nikki Chooi, violin
Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra; JoAnn Falletta, conductor


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