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Classical - Released January 30, 2015 | Erato - Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Pianiste Maestro - Choc de Classica
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Classical - Released November 30, 2012 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released November 16, 2018 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released February 3, 2017 | Erato - Warner Classics

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“I had put Chopin to one side and wasn’t even sure whether I would play him again one day,” says the French pianist David Fray. Chopin’s music had been absent from Fray’s active repertoire for some 15 years before he recorded this recital, which comprises seven of the composer’s nocturnes, three mazurkas, a polonaise, a waltz and an impromptu. It takes its place in the catalogue of Erato recordings that Fray, now 35, has been building with care and reflection since 2008, and which also contains music by Bach, Mozart, Schubert and Boulez. When Fray talks about Chopin – who died in Paris in 1849 aged just 39, having exercised a transformative influence on the piano repertoire – it becomes clear that he sees the composer’s work in archetypally Romantic terms: “For me, Chopin’s music is very fragile, vaporous, perfumed … somewhat intangible. It is so fluid and evanescent – you need to feel that it could just disappear at any moment. What makes it so touching is this ephemeral quality – the mazurkas are like something that you write in the sand … You know that it will be washed away, but the memory will remain. His music palpitates with a sense of the unexpected, the inspiration of the moment. If you tried to engrave it into marble, it would die.” At the same time, Fray is aware of the intellectual and technical challenges posed by Chopin. “His is the music of an individualist … Chopin is an island, something of a closed world. Perhaps that’s why I didn’t want to approach his music too early – I was a little daunted. I’ve always had this idea of breaking out of the yoke imposed by the piano, but with Chopin that is difficult … the piano is at the centre of things.” The piano was still a relatively new instrument in Chopin’s time and his writing – often typified by long sinuous melodies that evoke the bel canto opera of the early 19th century – tested and expanded its capabilities. “I have always had a passion for transforming the piano into a lyric, singing instrument,” continues Fray, “when it comes to the piano and the idea of control, I feel freer these than I used to, but in Chopin, freedom is like a breeze agitating a leaf. Though the leaf moves freely, it is attached to a stem, which is attached to a branch, which is in turn attached to a trunk. I hope that this Chopin recital will be an album of poetry, of song … with a sense of freedom.” David Fray’s last Erato release (early 2015) was an album of works by Schubert, who was born some 13 years before Chopin and is similarly one of the key figures in the first decades of musical Romanticism. Gramophone’s review of that Schubert album hints at what we can expect from Fray’s interpretations of Chopin: “I wish there were more albums of Schubert’s piano music like this … David Fray is alive to the way the music moves at every point and skilled at evoking worlds of sound beyond the piano. Sometimes the orchestra is close, or the voice, or the dance floor, or an impression of something floating in from outdoors … His rhythm is immaculate, with a naturalness in matters of articulation and continuity that appears instinctive. He keeps the music airborne.” When Fray gave a recital of Schubert in New York in 2015, the New York Times’ reviewer looked forward to his next encounter with the pianist: “This is an artist we need to hear more of … I’ll listen eagerly to whatever he wants to say.”
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Classical - Released November 16, 2018 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released September 11, 2009 | Warner Classics

Booklet
The fact that David Fray is French rather than German or Austrian, and the fact that Schubert, whose Moments Musicaux, Allegretto in C minor, and first set of Impromptus Fray plays here, wasn't a composer at the dawn of his career but at the twilight of his life, may put this disc out of contention for some listeners because it challenges preconceptions about who can play Schubert, as well as just who Schubert was. There's no denying Fray has the effortless technique to play these pieces, though they are not the most difficult works in the repertoire. There's no question that his weighty textures, deliberate tempos, and autumnal tone seem more suited to Brahms than to Schubert. What makes Fray's Schubert convincing is neither his technique nor his tone, but the combination of the two, filtered through his acute sensibilities. Fray clearly believes that Schubert's late piano works reveal a composer obsessed with mortality (and Schubert had cause to be; he'd been diagnosed with syphilis only a few years earlier), and his melancholy interpretations support his beliefs. This approach may not appeal to everyone; listeners who hope for Perahia's sunny sparkle or Schiff's loving lyricism are not likely to appreciate it, but others may find Fray's Moments Musicaux and Impromptus enthralling. Virgin's digital sound is on the dark and heavy side, but it works for these performances.
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Classical - Released February 3, 2017 | Erato - Warner Classics

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Classical - Released February 1, 2006 | ATMA Classique

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Classical - Released January 30, 2015 | Erato - Warner Classics

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Solo Piano - Released February 19, 2010 | CAvi-music