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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Florent Schmitt as viewed by Eugène Pirou

I am wandering whether to consider Florent Schmitt an Old Master or a Musica Nova guy. Well, I know that the general acceptance of the term Old Master sends well back in time. On the other way, time is running pretty fast, and, as the saying goes, the older we get the more we feel how young we used to be. How to frame Florent Schmitt then? A student of Fauré and Massenet, who won the Prix de Rome in 1900, that's old enough. On the other hand, if we consider a work that Schmitt created in 1907 (the ballet La Tragédie de Salomé), his rhythmic syncopations, polyrhythms, percussively treated chords, bitonality, and scoring anticipate Stravinski's Rite of Spring (wiki). This should be a reason to consider Florent Schmitt at least a Musica Nova forerunner, I think.

Well, there will be a lot to say about Schmitt, his life was not devoid of very controversial aspects (to put it mildly), but I would rather stop here. It is his music that remains.

The image above comes from 1900: Florent Schmitt was just winning the Prix de Rome. The author, Eugène Pirou (who had made photos of the events during the Commune de Paris in 1871) was one of the early filmmakers, credited with the creation of some  of the first porno films in history. Here the sources of information are slightly contradictory: according to wikipedia his first movie was Le Coucher de la Mariée (1897), starring Louise Willy who was performing a striptease scene in front of her husband - according to Imdb, his first movie had been Les époux vont au lit (1896), starring the same Louise Willy who was preparing for bed while her husband was watching - as for Le Coucher de la Mariée, Imdb places it later, in 1899 - meanwhile Pirou had made other two or three movies ejusdem farinae.

(Cinéma Français)

(Early Movies)

(Musica Nova)



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