Subtitle: From Antoine et Cléopâtre Suite No. 1, Op. 69a
Duration: c. 3:55
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Orchestra
Cost: Score and Parts – Out of print.
For availability information, see Discussion tab, above.
C Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
- Snare Drum
- Suspended Cymbal
None discovered thus far.
Schmitt’s incidental music for Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra is a standout for its imagery in sound. The music was initially performed as ballet scenes between the acts of a new production of the play at the Paris Opéra in 1920. The French poet André Gide provided an updated translation, and the principal dancer in the rôle of Cleopatra was the inimitable Ida Rubinstein, whose legendary mystique held the audience in thrall (she later inspired Ravel’s Boléro).
Written in 1607, in five acts and thirteen scenes, Shakespeare’s storyline for Antony and Cleopatra offers a saga of star-crossed love and the rivalry of the Roman Empire with Egypt. At the finish, Marc Antony dies in the arms of Cleopatra, who then takes her own life by tempting a poisonous asp.
Schmitt provided an evocative score for the première, from which he later extracted two concert suites, each featuring scenes from the drama. Overall, the suites are replete with Impressionist hues, although Schmitt seems to emulate the orchestral manner of Richard Strauss and others of the era. The movement titles are descriptive of the scenes at hand.
Le Camp de Pompée (“Pompey’s Camp”). More than the actual scene (Act II, Scenes 6 and 7) it is more about the atmosphere of a “military wake”, Shakespeare’s play being one big military wake as well. In Schmitt’s fresco this wake warms up the Battle of Actium. This movement is written for the brass section, kettledrums and drums only. The ringing echo rises in the evening air, the gorgeous theme of the central part (borrowed from the Mauresque of Ombres, the triptych for piano) suggesting the sunset, the sparkling of the sea, the twinkle of the weapons in the west: an orange-colored symphony. A conclusion in echoes embellished with very sensual sixths added “à la Delius”.
- Program Note from the University of Colorado Boulder Wind Symphony concert program, 8 February 2018
- Audio: Reference recording. Lorraine National Orchestra (Jacques Mercier, conductor) - 2008
- Audio CD: Lorraine National Orchestra (Jacques Mercier, conductor)
None discovered thus far.
To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project
- University of Colorado Boulder Wind Symphony (Donald J. McKinney, conductor) – 8 February 2018
- Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge) Wind Ensemble (Donald McKinney, conductor) – 23 March 2013 (CBDNA 2013 National Conference, Greensboro, N.C.)
Works for Winds by This Composer
- Dionysiaques (1913)
- Dionysiaques (ed. Hauswirth) (1913/2012)
- Dionysiaques (arr. Duker) (1913/1975)
- Hymne funèbre (1899/1933)
- Le Camp de Pompée (1921)
- Lied et Scherzo (1910/1988)
- Marche du 163ème regiment d'infanterie (orch. Dondeyne) (1916/)
- Quatuor de Flûtes (1949)
- Quatuor pour saxophones (1948)
- Sélamlik (1906)
- Sélamlik (ed. Hauswirth) (1906)
- Schmitt, F. (1921). Antoine et Cléopâtre : Fanfare [score]. Durand: Paris.