Magazine article Gramophone

Schmitt: Antoine et Cleopatre-Two Suites, Op 69

Magazine article Gramophone

Schmitt: Antoine et Cleopatre-Two Suites, Op 69

Article excerpt

Schmitt Antoine et Cleopatre--Two Suites, Op 69. Le palais hante, Op 49 Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra / JoAnn Falletta Naxos [B] 8 573521 (60' * DDD)

With his reputation irrevocably tarnished by his far right politics, Florent Schmitt is one of the more problematic figures of 20th-century French music. ProNazi during the 1930s and early '40s, he is most frequently remembered for a shameful episode at the Salle Pleyel in 1933, when he rose to his feet during a concert of Kurt Weill's music shouting, 'Heil Hitler! Enough music by German refugees!' During the Second World War, he was, needless to say, pro-Vichy and an active collaborator.

Until the late 1920s, however, he was much respected, notably by Delius (whose vocal scores he edited), Stravinsky and Diaghilev, who revived his 1907 ballet La tragedie de Salome, still his best-known score, as a vehicle for Karsavina in 1913. The two works recorded here are representative of his eclectic style, heavily indebted to Debussy and Ravel, though his extrovert orchestration looks back through early Stravinsky to Rimsky-Korsakov. …

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