New Release, 2017, Naxos Records (Grand Piano)
Slated for release in January, 2017, this box set will include all four albums of Florent Schmitt’s complete original works for piano duet and duo, first issued by Grand Piano between 2012 and 2013.
In the mid-1990s, during production of Hommages Musicaux, the Invencia Piano Duo was introduced to the catalogue of composer Florent Schmitt. Intended as a tribute to Claude Debussy and Gabriel Fauré, the recording featured Tombeau de Claude Debussy and Hommage à Gabriel Fauré. Within each of these cycles was contained one of Schmitt’s works for piano. Kasparov and Lutsyshyn were:
“…captivated by the richness of Schmitt’s multi-layered harmonies and textures, as well as the vitality of the rhythmic structures in the music.”
Kasparov’s dedication to Florent Schmitt’s duo-piano music, in collaboration with Oksana Lutsyshyn, culminated in the release of four CDs by Naxos Records as part of its Grand Piano series. The first volume was voted “Recording of the Month” and “Critics’ Choice” by MusicWeb International and Naxos Records, respectively, in May of 2013.
Kasparov and partner Oksana Lutsyshyn, democratically switching between primo and secondo en route with occasional expansions onto two pianos, perform with impeccable taste, balance and synchronization, and just avoid coyness.
Grand Piano and Invencia put us in their debt for plugging so many gaps in the catalogue at once (including several world premiere recordings) and doing it with such charm.
– Michael Round
© International Record Review
Florent Schmitt (1870 – 1958) was one of France’s less well-known classical composers. Born in the small town of Blâmont (Meurthe-et-Moselle, Lorraine), Schmitt’s German surname belied his irrespressible French musicianship.
Schmitt was a contemporary of Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy, although he outlived both men by decades. Educated at the Conservatoire de Paris by Théodore Dubois, Albert Lavignac, André Gédalge, Jules Massenet and Gabriel Fauré, among others, Schmitt developed a style of composition that, while distinctly French, exploited the grandiose aspects of orchestration more typical of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.
His last large-scale work, the Symphony No. 2, was premiered at the Strasbourg Festival by the French National Radio Orchestra, conducted by Charles Munch just months before Scmitt’s death in 1958 at the age of 87.
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© Invencia Piano Duo, Phillip Nones, Naxos Records