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Chopin: Piano Works / Samson Francois

Chopin / Francois,Samson
Release Date: 01/14/2014 
Label:  Warner Classics   Catalog #: 8471720   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François
Number of Discs: 10 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Samson François was something of a handful. He once said that he is sure to overlook musical structure because he prefers "not to know what is coming next, but to discover it as I go along."

Renowned for his eccentricity as well as for his piano-playing, Samson François was something of a handful. He was almost compulsively generous to his friends, especially when it came to food and drink. He was also evidently a compulsive liar—he called it using his imagination—and a drinker who looked years older than he was. (He died of a heart attack in 1970 at the age of 46.) His playing was cleanly executed, delicately shaded, and yet to my ears often hopelessly eccentric. In a remarkable example of
Read more self-awareness, he told an interviewer: "I am open to criticism on a number of counts, especially in my playing of Beethoven or even Schumann, because they are composers who looked for architectural structures, which I am sure I overlook. I am looking for the curve of the melody. I try to see where a phrase is taking me. I prefer not to know what is coming next, but to discover it as I go along."

-- Michael Ullman, FANFARE - (Review of the original release on EMI Classics, catalog 55357)

--------------------------------------------

Samson’s early recordings, dating from the end of the 1940s, were mainly devoted to Frédéric Chopin, who already occupied a prominent position in his concert programmes.

The height of Samson’s art is probably to be found in the ballades (recorded between 26 and 28 October 1954, and first issued as an immensely successful 10" LP) and the dazzling interpretation of the nocturnes (recorded in May and June 1966).

In the ballades and the nocturnes Samson establishes an all-embracing colour with the aid of the loud pedal, although he modulates its power and creates a rainbow effect through the highly skilled, yet quite unpredictable use of the soft pedal. This alternation between the two pedals gives a breathless feeling to his approach. You will never find there the peaceful, semi-philosophical havens, nor the “landscaped” perspectives of neo-Classical pastoralism favoured by so many of his fellow artists, notably in the Fourth Ballade.

Samson strikes a balance between the visual and the narrative. The harmonic suspensions, which form the nub of the ballades, seem as if they are absorbed by this visionary ability, and all that preceded and all that followed could only be narration. Rarely have other pianists taken a similar view, and only Claudio Arrau – in his legendary first recording of the ballades made in 1953 – evolved within this perspective.

The nocturnes, recorded twelve years later, in 1966, possess the same burnished colour that characterises a Rembrandt background, despite the more analytical clarity cast by stereo sound. Once again it is Arrau, who, by voluntarily darkening his range of colours, seems to come nearest to this sultry vision of the nocturnes, while another leading interpreter of the cycle, the Polish pianist Stefan Askenase, was to fix his gaze obstinately in the direction of moonlight and the bel canto aesthetic.

If we are to go by the history of gramophone recording, no other pianist before him had discovered the personal, inimitable accent which Samson gives to the melodic pattern of these works, and which was not to be taken up by any other: over-intimate, perhaps, or over-rhapsodic, it is stylistically close to improvisation. If Samson still seems to be following a given declamatory scheme in the ballades, then the range of styles and expressiveness which he deploys for the abundant inventiveness of the nocturnes, has nothing to do with the innermost nature of the interpreter. For a good decade, Samson did not go back on his beliefs: he reinforced them.

Samson’s life was abruptly cut short in 1970 at a ridiculously early age – he was 46. Neither as pupil nor as teacher did he have any interest in pedagogy. Was this because he chose to keep his distance from all relationship or dependency? There is something of the stateless person in Samson’s pianistic style.

Furthermore, it seems very difficult to compare his art with that of other pianists. However, those French pianists of the new generation who have rediscovered Chopin (in large part thanks to Samson’s recordings), would seem to be in his debt.
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Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Piano no 1 in E minor, B 53/Op. 11 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1830; Poland 
2.
Concerto for Piano no 2 in F minor, B 43/Op. 21 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1829-1830; Poland 
3.
Polonaises (2) for Piano, B 90/Op. 26 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1834-1835; Paris, France 
4.
Polonaises (2) for Piano, Op. 40 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1838-1839; Paris, France 
5.
Polonaise for Piano in F sharp minor, B 135/Op. 44 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840-1841; Paris, France 
6.
Polonaise for Piano in A flat major, B 147/Op. 53 "Heroic" by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1842; Paris, France 
7.
Polonaise-fantaisie for Piano in A flat major, B 159/Op. 61 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1845-1846; Poland 
8.
Andante spianato et Grand polonaise brillante in E flat major, Op. 22 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1830-1831; Vienna, Austria 
9.
Polonaises (3) for Piano, Op. 71 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1825-1828; Poland 
10.
Fantasie for Piano in F minor/A flat major, B 137/Op. 49 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1841; Paris, France 
11.
Tarantella for Piano in A flat major, B 139/Op. 43 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1841; Paris, France 
12.
Barcarolle for Piano in F sharp major, B 158/Op. 60 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1845-1846; Paris, France 
13.
Rondo for 2 Pianos in C major, B 27/Op. 73 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1828; Poland 
14.
Ballade for Piano no 1 in G minor, B 66/Op. 23 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831-1835 
15.
Ballade for Piano no 2 in F major/a minor, B 102/Op. 38 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1836-1839; Paris, France 
16.
Ballade for Piano no 3 in A flat major, B 136/Op. 47 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840-1841; Paris, France 
17.
Ballade for Piano no 4 in F minor, B 146/Op. 52 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1842; Paris, France 
18.
Scherzo for Piano no 1 in B minor, B 65/Op. 20 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831-1832; Poland 
19.
Scherzo for Piano no 2 in B flat minor/D flat major, B 111/Op. 31 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1837; Paris, France 
20.
Scherzo for Piano no 3 in C sharp minor, B 125/Op. 39 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1839; Mallorca (Majorca),  
21.
Scherzo for Piano no 4 in E major, B 148/Op. 54 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1842; Paris, France 
22.
Waltz for Piano in E flat major, B 62/Op. 18 "Grande valse brillante" by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831; Poland 
23.
Waltzes (3) for Piano, Op. 34 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831-1838 
24.
Waltz for Piano in A flat major, B 131/Op. 42 "Grande Valse" by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: France; Paris, France 
25.
Waltzes (3) for Piano, B 164/Op. 64 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1846-1847; Paris, France 
26.
Waltzes (2) for Piano, Op. 69 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1829-1835 
27.
Waltzes (3) for Piano, Op. 70 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1829-1841 
28.
Waltz for Piano in E minor, B 56 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1830; Poland 
29.
Impromptu for Piano no 1 in A flat major, B 110/Op. 29 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1837; Paris, France 
30.
Impromptu for Piano no 2 in F sharp major, B 129/Op. 36 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1839; Paris, France 
31.
Impromptu for Piano no 3 in G flat major, b 149/Op. 51 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1842; Paris, France 
32.
Impromptu for Piano no 4 in C sharp minor, B 87/Op. 66 "Fantaisie-Impromptu" by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1835; Paris, France 
33.
Sonata for Piano no 2 in B flat minor, B 128/Op. 35 "Funeral March" by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1837-1839; Paris, France 
34.
Sonata for Piano no 3 in B minor, B 155/Op. 58 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1844; Paris, France 
35.
Mazurkas (4) for Piano, B 60/Op. 6 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1830; Vienna, Austria 
36.
Mazurkas (5) for Piano, B 61/Op. 7 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831; Vienna, Austria 
37.
Mazurkas (4) for Piano, B 77/Op. 17 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1832-1833; Paris, France 
38.
Mazurkas (4) for Piano, B 89/Op. 24 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1834-1835; Paris, France 
39.
Mazurkas (4) for Piano, B 105/Op. 30 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1836-1837; Paris, France 
40.
Mazurkas (4) for Piano, B 115/Op. 33 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1837-1838; Paris, France 
41.
Mazurkas (4) for Piano, Op. 41 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1838-1840; Paris, France 
42.
Mazurkas (3) for Piano, B 145/Op. 50 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1842; Paris, France 
43.
Mazurkas (3) for Piano, B 153/Op. 56 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1843; Paris, France 
44.
Mazurkas (3) for Piano, B 157/Op. 59 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1845; Paris, France 
45.
Mazurkas (3) for Piano, B 162/Op. 63 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1846; Paris, France 
46.
Mazurkas (4) for Piano, Op. 67 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1835-1849; Paris, France 
47.
Mazurkas (4) for Piano, Op. 68 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1827-1849 
48.
Mazurka for Piano in A minor by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
49.
Etudes (12) for Piano, Op. 10 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1829-1833; Poland 
50.
Etudes (12) for Piano, Op. 25 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1832-1836; Paris, France 
51.
Nouvelles Etudes (3) for Piano, B 130 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1839; Paris, France 
52.
Nocturnes (3) for Piano, B 54/Op. 9 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1830-1831; Poland 
53.
Nocturnes (3) for Piano, Op. 15 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1830-1833 
54.
Nocturnes (2) for Piano, Op. 27 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1835; Paris, France 
55.
Nocturnes (2) for Piano, B 106/Op. 32 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1836-1837; Paris, France 
56.
Nocturnes (2) for Piano, Op. 37 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1838-1849; Paris, France 
57.
Nocturnes (2) for Piano, B 142/Op. 48 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1841; Paris, France 
58.
Nocturnes (2) for Piano, B 152/Op. 55 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1843; Paris, France 
59.
Nocturnes (2) for Piano, B 161/Op. 62 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1846; Paris, France 
60.
Nocturne for Piano in E minor, B 19/Op. 72 no 1 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1827; Poland 
61.
Preludes (24) for Piano, Op. 28 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1836-1839; Paris, France 

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