WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Chopin: Piano Works / Samson François


Release Date: 11/06/2001 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 74457   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson FrançoisPierre Barbizet
Conductor:  Louis Frémaux
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monte Carlo Opera Orchestra
Number of Discs: 10 
Recorded in: Mixed 
Length: 11 Hours 17 Mins. 

This title is currently unavailable.



Notes and Editorial Reviews

The engaging, volatile, and unpredictable artistry of Samson François comes up for re-evaluation in a budget-priced EMI boxed set encompassing his complete recorded Chopin repertoire. It’s identical in content and sound to EMI CZS4 73386-2, but it’s packaged in a space-saving container. Like his mentor Alfred Cortot, François often seemed indifferent to the microphone’s unforgiving aura, playing for the moment rather than for all time. This attitude worked best for François when in full physical and mental command of his great gifts. In general, the earliest recordings are the best, both from an artistic and sonic standpoint. Compare the naturally balanced mono engineering in the Mazurkas to EMI’s closer, relatively Read more airless stereo pickup in the Nocturnes and Third Sonata and you’ll hear for yourself. The assertive sweep, overflowing temperament, and sense of risk François brings to each of the four Ballades easily absorbs sundry smudges and old-school breaking of hands. By contrast, similar devices sound mannered and eccentric in portions of the Scherzos: the overloaded left-hand voicings at the outset of No. 1, or No. 4's tempo distensions. At least François takes unusual care articulating No. 2's opening triplet flourish rather than blurring it.

In François’ hands, both books of Études proceed in a clear, straightforward, and rather ordinary fashion, although inspiration runs higher in the Op. 25 group. The pianist admirably captures the diverse moods and radical harmonic ideas throughout the Mazurkas in performances that match the fanciful control and athleticism of Arthur Rubinstein’s 1950s-vintage cycle. Some might find the more outgoing Waltzes overly italicized and self-conscious in detail (the exaggerated pause between the Op. 34 No. 1 A-flat Waltz’s opening statements, contrived voicings, mincing accents, and the like). François takes a dry, hard-toned route through the Nocturnes’ darkly rippling waters, but the journey is never static. While nowhere near as colorful or refined as Ivan Moravec’s matchless contemporaneous version, François’ edgy leanness proves a refreshing foil.

François’ arrestingly detailed B-flat minor sonata only disappoints in its flinty, prosaic finale. Following the Funeral March’s Trio, François, like Cortot, takes the left-hand part in the main theme down an octave. I can’t muster much joy for the pianist’s rhythmically labored and overly cautious B minor Sonata. Likewise, the canonical Polonaises, the Tarantella, and portions of the Barcarolle are riddled with slack rhythms and lackadaisical phrasing that possibly reflects the pianist’s physical decline in the years before his early death in 1970. But the three posthumous Polonaises plus the Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise, late recordings all, are winningly characterized and technically shipshape. Of Chopin’s two piano concertos, I suspect François harbored greater affinity for the F minor. This set includes the pianist’s stereo versions, which are better engineered yet less pianistically tidy next to François’ superior mono editions under Georges Tzipine’s baton, available in EMI’s anthology Les Introuvables de Samson François. Pierre Baribizet joins François for a sensitive if not especially effervescent Rondo for Two Pianos.

Lastly, the Op. 28 Preludes find François on inspired and often great form. The étude-like G major, F-sharp minor, B-flat minor, E-flat major, and D minor selections particularly gain from the pianist’s purposeful left-hand inflections. Listeners sympathetic to Martha Argerich’s kinetic energy surely will relate to François’ rhetorical eruptions in the F minor and G minor Preludes. As with Cortot’s Chopin, François’ interpretations may be uneven, but they never lack interest. His finest moments easily justify this boxed set’s purchase.

-- Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Piano no 1 in E minor, B 53/Op. 11 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Conductor:  Louis Frémaux
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monte Carlo Opera Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1830; Poland 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
2.
Concerto for Piano no 2 in F minor, B 43/Op. 21 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Conductor:  Louis Frémaux
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monte Carlo Opera Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1829-1830; Poland 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
3.
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 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
4.
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 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
5.
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 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
6.
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 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
7.
Tarantella for Piano in A flat major, B 139/Op. 43 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1841; Paris, France 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
8.
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 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
9.
Rondo for 2 Pianos in C major, B 27/Op. 73 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano), Pierre Barbizet (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1828; Poland 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
10.
Ballade for Piano no 1 in G minor, B 66/Op. 23 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831-1835 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
11.
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 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
12.
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 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
13.
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 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
14.
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 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
15.
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 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
16.
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),  
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
17.
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 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
18.
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 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
19.
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 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
20.
Waltz for Piano in E minor, B 56 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1830; Poland 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
21.
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 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
22.
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 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
23.
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 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
24.
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 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
25.
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 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
26.
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 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
27.
Mazurkas (4) for Piano, B 60/Op. 6 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1830; Vienna, Austria 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
28.
Mazurkas (5) for Piano, B 61/Op. 7 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831; Vienna, Austria 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
29.
Mazurkas (4) for Piano, B 77/Op. 17 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1832-1833; Paris, France 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
30.
Mazurkas (4) for Piano, B 89/Op. 24 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1834-1835; Paris, France 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
31.
Mazurkas (4) for Piano, B 105/Op. 30 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1836-1837; Paris, France 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
32.
Mazurkas (4) for Piano, B 115/Op. 33 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1837-1838; Paris, France 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
33.
Mazurkas (4) for Piano, Op. 41 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1838-1840; Paris, France 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
34.
Mazurkas (3) for Piano, B 145/Op. 50 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1842; Paris, France 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
35.
Mazurkas (3) for Piano, B 153/Op. 56 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1843; Paris, France 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
36.
Mazurkas (3) for Piano, B 157/Op. 59 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1845; Paris, France 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
37.
Mazurkas (3) for Piano, B 162/Op. 63 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1846; Paris, France 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
38.
Mazurkas (4) for Piano, Op. 67 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1835-1849; Paris, France 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
39.
Mazurkas (4) for Piano, Op. 68 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1827-1849 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
40.
Mazurka for Piano in A minor, B 134 "Notre temps" by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840; Paris, France 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
41.
Mazurka for Piano in A minor, B 140 "A Emile Gaillard" by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840; Paris, France 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
42.
Etudes (12) for Piano, Op. 10 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1829-1833; Poland 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
43.
Etudes (12) for Piano, Op. 25 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1832-1836; Paris, France 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
44.
Nouvelles Etudes (3) for Piano, B 130 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1839; Paris, France 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
45.
Nocturnes (3) for Piano, B 54/Op. 9 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1830-1831; Poland 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
46.
Nocturnes (3) for Piano, Op. 15 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1830-1833 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
47.
Nocturnes (2) for Piano, Op. 27 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1835; Paris, France 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
48.
Nocturnes (2) for Piano, B 106/Op. 32 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1836-1837; Paris, France 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
49.
Nocturnes (2) for Piano, Op. 37 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1838-1849; Paris, France 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
50.
Nocturnes (2) for Piano, B 142/Op. 48 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1841; Paris, France 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
51.
Nocturnes (2) for Piano, B 152/Op. 55 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1843; Paris, France 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
52.
Nocturnes (2) for Piano, B 161/Op. 62 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1846; Paris, France 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
53.
Nocturne for Piano in E minor, B 19/Op. 72 no 1 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1827; Poland 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
54.
Preludes (24) for Piano, Op. 28 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1836-1839; Paris, France 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
55.
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 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
56.
Polonaises (2) for Piano, B 90/Op. 26 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1834-1835; Paris, France 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
57.
Polonaises (2) for Piano, Op. 40 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1838-1839; Paris, France 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
58.
Polonaises (3) for Piano, Op. 71 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1825-1828; Poland 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
59.
Waltzes (3) for Piano, Op. 34 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831-1838 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
60.
Waltzes (3) for Piano, B 164/Op. 64 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1846-1847; Paris, France 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
61.
Waltzes (2) for Piano, Op. 69 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1829-1835 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
62.
Waltzes (3) for Piano, Op. 70 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Samson François (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1829-1841 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 

Sound Samples

Concerto Pour Piano & Orchestre N°1 En Mi Mineur Op.11 : I Allegro Moderato (Remasterisé En 1995)
Concerto Pour Piano & Orchestre N°1 En Mi Mineur Op.11 : II Romance (Larghetto) (Remasterisé En 1995)
Concerto Pour Piano & Orchestre N°1 En Mi Mineur Op.11 : III Rondo (Vivace) (Remasterisé En 1995)
Concerto Pour Piano & Orchestre N°2 En Fa Mineur Op.21 : I Maestoso (Remasterisé En 1995)
Concerto Pour Piano & Orchestre N°2 En Fa Mineur Op.21 : II Larghetto (Remasterisé En 1995)
Concerto Pour Piano & Orchestre N°2 En Fa Mineur Op.21 : III Allegro (Vivace) (Remasterisé En 1995)
Polonaise N°1 En Ut Dièse Mineur Op.26 N°1
Polonaise N°2 En Mi Bémol Mineur Op.26 N°2
Polonaise N°3 En La Majeur Op.40 N°1 ''Militaire''
Polonaise N°4 En Ut Mineur Op.40 N°2
Polonaise N°5 En Fa Dièse Mineur Op.44
Polonaise N°6 En La Bémol Majeur Op.53 ''Héroïque''
Polonaise N°7 En La Bémol Majeur Op.61 ''Polonaise Brillante''
Andante Spianata Et Grande Polonaise Pour Piano & Orchestre En Mi Bémol Majeur Op.22 (Remasterisé En 1995)

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  3 Customer Reviews )
 Better Chopin Than Even the Liner Notes Aver November 26, 2013 By E. Barnes (Dunn Loring, VA) See All My Reviews "What you get: Not every piano piece Chopin ever wrote, but pretty close (a couple of CDs shy, and mainly missing the First Sonata). Buried in the booklet is an evaluation of the performances by one Jean-Charles Hoffele (author of a bio on Manuel de Falla and a co-author of a guide to CDs -- and I'm sure the list goes on). M. Hoffele comes down hard on half the waltzes and most of the mazurkas, and there are other back-handed compliments. He seemed pretty knowledgeable so it was a good read, but in fact I disagree on the waltzes and mazurkas -- they are quite fine. Where I have a problem are the Polonaises and the scherzos, rather too intellectual and bloodless. (I'm spoiled, I suppose, by some wonderful renditions by Dmitri Bashkirov -- if you can find them, give them a listen -- it will change your life.) But even these performances are informed with great musicality, even, dare I say, genius. Also, realize that the two other reviewers, from August 2013, and I, bought this set here at a very attractive price. But as I write this, this set is now only $5.00 less than the complete set of Samson Francois (all this Chopin, plus other composers) on EMI (36 CDs!). I know which set I would buy! As EMI reconfigures its product line following its merger, keep an eye on the availability and prices. Things might get interesting soon." Report Abuse
 Chopin Recordings of Pianist Samson Francois August 25, 2013 By George Klump (La Crescenta, CA) See All My Reviews "Samson Francois is quite possibly the most phenomenal but least recognized French pianist of the mid-twentieth century This particular album of the music of Chopin is repertoire close to his heart. This is apparent enough. Generally speaking, Francois brings a muscularity to the music which Chopin himself often wished he could bring judging by remarks he is supposed to have made to Liszt, especially when he heard Liszt play some of his music. He is careful with the two concertos in the sense that he is not interested in rushing tempos for the sake of bravura but takes time to enjoy the many moments of introspection Chopin wrote into the music. On the other hand he can be completely open with his playing of the four Ballades with all of their Polish associations these pieces had for Chopin. A case can be made for the demonic in the composition of all four of the Scherzi and Francois is positively demonic in his rendition of them leaving no doubt with the listener of the intent. Even the third Scherzo, which makes its deliberate bow to Bach in the chorale sections, Chopin engages in the Romantic preoccupation of summoning up the forces of evil which are, of course, conquered in the end by the forces of good. Better and more satisfying recordings of the Preludes and the Etudes would be difficult to find, the Preludes as miniatures of intense emotion and the Etudes as examples of pedagogical material carried to the highest musical and compositional levels. The Polonaise output of Chopin has been made famous by the two best known, the A Major of opus 40 and the A-flat Major of opus 53. However, even more difficult and certainly less well known are two others, the F# minor of opus 44 and the A-flat Major of opus 61. One cannot argue that with great music there is only one way to play it, since great music admits of a wide gamut of interpretations within reasonable parameters. Samson Francois's playing of these two works is hardly meant to be the last word on this music, but the statements he makes through Chopin's music here are unquestionably compelling from any musical standpoint and there have been few pianists in recorded history to surpass him." Report Abuse
 Tremendous buy August 23, 2013 By Gregory  Carlson (Marshall, VA) See All My Reviews "I realized I was taking a chance buying a box set of a pianist I had never heard of, but I won. I have absolutely no criticisms of his playing or of the engineering, and at $2.00/CD how can you go wrong? Pous, I consider it a bonus that he has a moustache - about the only one I know of on a classical pianist, and looks like a cool dude." Report Abuse
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook




YOU MUST BE A SUBSCRIBER TO LISTEN TO ARKIVMUSIC STREAMING.
TRY IT NOW FOR FREE!
Sign up now for two weeks of free access to the world's best classical music collection. Keep listening for only $19.95/month - thousands of classical albums for the price of one! Learn more about ArkivMusic Streaming
Aleady a subscriber? Sign In