Les Enfants du Paradis

A brilliant and unique piece it is: the Trio à cordes op. 105 (1944) by the French composer Florent Schmitt. One doesn't often hear a string trio with such unique lyricism, such rich harmonies, such expression and romance.

The flamboyant Florent Schmitt (1870-1958) was hugely admired by his friends Schönberg and Milhaud and a true source of inspiration for Stravinsky (Sacre du Printemps!) and Messiaen. In Paris in the 1910s, he was a member of the anarchist artists society "Les Apaches" along with Ravel, Klingsor, Stravinsky and many more like-minded people. From that time on he devoted his life to music, averse to any prevailing music trend.

The string trio, written in 1944, is beautiful, but seldom heard. There is no valid reason not to give the work a prominent place on the concert stage, other than that it is notoriously difficult to perform. There is not even a modern recording of the Trio à Cordes; only two LP albums were made; by Trio Pasquier in 1947 and by Trio Albert Roussel around 1985. Prisma is working hard now to release a first CD recording in the spring of 2021.

In this program, and on the CD as well, we will combine the music of Florent Schmitt with "La muse ménagère" ("The household muse") by Darius Milhaud (1892-1974). Milhaud wrote this suite of 15 character pieces in gratitude for his wife Madeleine. Milhaud struggled all his life with poor health, eventually confining him to a wheelchair, and was lovingly cared for by his wife, who was herself a celebrated actress and librettist. The miniatures show warmth and affection, and a touch of irony. Although the titles speak very specifically of "Le chât", "Le fils peintre" or "Lectures nocturnes", the pieces are certainly not situations literally set to music. The language is abstract and the listener can have his or her own thoughts and associations. The suite was originally written for piano and we thought it beautiful and appropriate to entrust the arrangement for string trio to four of our own loved ones; spouses, partners and other family. In this way, the works get an extra personal layer. Together we form one large music household.

Darius Milhaud (1892-1974) Suite "La muse ménagère" (1944) The arrangements of the original piano suite were made by: Bob Gilmore, Tim Kliphuis, Petra Griffioen and Marijn van Prooijen

Florent Schmitt (1870-1958) Trio à cordes op. 105 (1944)

At the same time these two works were published, the famous film 'Les Enfants du Paradis' by Marcel Carné was made, on a script by Jacques Prévert. It pays homage to the world of theater, as Schmitt's trio can be seen as an homage to music, and Milhaud's suite as an homage to love. Together they present an image of lasting inspiring forces in times of great turmoil.

Here’s an impression of „The household muse” by Milhaud:

Contact       © Michiel Weidner 2020