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Classical - Released April 18, 2012 | Parlophone (France)

Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Keyboard Concertos - Released March 16, 2012 | Warner Classics

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Classical - Released February 22, 2010 | Parlophone (France)

Distinctions Diapason d'or
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Classical - Released September 13, 2010 | Warner Classics

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Classical - Released March 16, 2012 | Warner Classics

Distinctions Diapason d'or
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Classical - Released August 13, 2013 | Warner Classics

When it came to complete recordings of the solo piano works of Chopin in the middle years of the 20th century, there was a time Samson François represented the French school and Artur Rubinstein represented the Polish school, and then there was everybody else. But François' was the only truly complete set, since he recorded all the published and some of the unpublished works, while Rubinstein conspicuously left out the etudes. Beyond completeness, François represented the French school in more than name; he was an individualist who did things his own way. In practice, this works out spectacularly well in some cases and less well in others. Much of it depends on the difficulty of the piece or the passage. Some of the etudes are sensitively played, and parts of the G minor Ballade are very beautifully phrased. The more difficult etudes and the conclusion of the Ballade are hit or miss, with more misses than hits. And so it goes, with the easy preludes like the E minor and the A minor coming off as fresh and spontaneous, while all of the Scherzos seem at any moment ready to go spinning out of control. Anyone interested in studying the evolution of Chopin playing in the 20th century should have an interest in these recordings, but it seems unlikely that François' style of playing will experience a revival because of the reissue of this 10-disc set. © TiVo
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Classical - Released April 22, 2013 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released February 13, 2012 | Parlophone (France)

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Classical - Released August 24, 2018 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released February 21, 2012 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released January 1, 1957 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released March 8, 2019 | SWR Classic

Booklet
Recorded in 1960 on a big un-tuned piano during a recital performed in the great room of the Ettlingen baroque palace (Baden-Württemberg in Germany), this priceless document is consistent with the reputation of Samson François as an “enfant terrible, eccentric and extravagant” as described in the introduction text. Born in Germany, as a result of his father’s numerous peregrinations, the French pianist burnt his life with passion, but “the flames still keep us warm”, as Jean Roy – one of his biographers – elegantly put it. Starting sensibly with two of Mendelssohn’s Songs without words, this fragment of the recital (only partly preserved) goes on with a raging interpretation of Chopin’s Piano Sonata No. 2, as if Samson the terrible was unleashing his wrath on the piano, and then comes the miracle of the Marche funèbre, whose central movement is played with ineffable and comforting tenderness, before the hallucination of the ever so brief Finale, inhabited by menacing ghosts. “I have the deepest love for music”, Samson François explained, “quite simply, without question””. One would however need his powerful, precise instinct to tackle Debussy’s three Préludes, a blend of fantasy and pure poetry. As for Prokofiev’s famous Piano Sonata No. 7, it was one of Samson François’ main showpieces. This “war sonata” holds in its core a wonderful nocturne eminently reminiscent of one of François’ poems: “Minuit sonne ! et voici que la magie s’éveille, cette vapeur qui s’étire, souple et envahissante, ce peuple obscur qui soudain existe et, là-bas, la réalité des murs, du pauvre sommeil humain qui s’estompe, se retire, abstraite…” (Midnight rings! and here comes the magic awakening, the vapour spreading, supple and pervasive, this obscure people that suddenly exists, and over there, the abstract reality of the walls, of the sad human sleep that fades away, recedes...). © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Classical - Released January 1, 1956 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released January 1, 2010 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released March 9, 2012 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released January 1, 1956 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released January 1, 1962 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released January 1, 1971 | Warner Classics