Georges Schmitt: Lieder
Kerschenmeyer, Michèle; Czesla, Evelyn; Wouterse, Nico
Georges Schmitt — a German-French “frontier runner” The German-French composer Georg (Georges) Schmitt was born in Trier, then a Prussian city on the banks of the Moselle, in 1821. At 14 years of age, he took over the office of cathedral organist from his deceased father. In 1844, though, he moved to Paris, the hub of European music, where he remained until his death in 1900. It was there that he assumed a prestigious post in 1849, taking over at the Great Organ in the Church of Saint-Sulpice. He became very active as a composer and writer, published organ works and papers on the organ and the reform of church music and also co-founded a congress that aimed to re-establish “true” church music. Schmitt was gradually forgotten after the Franco-Prussian War of 1870/71. The performance of a comic opera and operettas at minor theatres and his participation in national composition competitions with cantatas and great choral symphonies did not give the composer the breakthrough he hoped for. Nonetheless, he published numerous piano pieces and songs as well as theoretical and educational works. This album features just about half of Schmitt’s surviving French songs. They were individually published in Paris between 1855 and 1890 and some have survived in handwritten form. All the main genres of French song from this period are represented: mélodie, romance and chanson.