Samson Francois Complete Warner Box: New Release

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maestrob
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Samson Francois Complete Warner Box: New Release

Post by maestrob » Mon Sep 28, 2020 2:45 pm

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The EMI box of Samson Francois playing Chopin has been a mainstay in my listening since it was gifted to me by a former CMG member some years back, and I have been eager to hear more of his playing. The release pictured above will be available here in the USA as of October 30 for a true bargain price, as it includes all of his EMI recordings in their original jackets (55 in all) for $119. An extremely gifted pianist who sadly died at only 46 years of age, Francois became a celebrity in Europe and Japan during his all too brief lifetime, but was known only to connoisseurs here in America.

Here is the text from the Presto website accompanying this welcome release:
Samson François was a true poet of the piano. A brilliant, inspired pianist especially identified with the music of Chopin, Debussy and Ravel, he played with both the proverbial clarity of the French school and a visceral immediacy and spontaneity. Charismatic, sometimes provocative, and numbering jazz among his passions, he achieved celebrity status – notably in France and Japan. The works of Chopin are prominent in this collection – melodic contours were always a priority for François – but the complete list of composers is richly diverse. Three major new bonuses are the long-awaited world premiere release of François’ penultimate live recital, recorded at the Nohant Festival in France in June 1970, just four months before his death at the age of 46; a recital recorded in Tokyo in 1969, and a DVD documentary, written by his son, Maximilien François. This new edition places all recordings in the context of their original couplings and the CD wallets carry the original artwork.This 55-disc box set marks 50 years since the death, on 22 October 1970 at the age of just 46, of the French pianist (and composer) Samson François. The box is an expanded version of a collection first released 10 years ago. This new edition places all recordings in the context of their original couplings and the CD wallet designs feature the original artwork.Samson François was a brilliant, inspired pianist, particularly identified with the music of Chopin, Debussy and Ravel. His playing combines the proverbial clarity of the French school with a visceral immediacy and spontaneity. François himself said that a pianist “should never sound under any obligation to play the next note,” or feel constrained by barlines. Gramophone magazine has noted the “strange and alluring genius” of his playing, describing it as “alive with personal magic” and sharing “every imaginative possibility”.Samson François’ life was colourful, even dramatic. He was born in Frankfurt in 1924 to a French family that moved from country to country, and he often took a creative approach to his own biography. A charismatic, sometimes provocative figure, he achieved celebrity status, notably in France and Japan, and was renowned for his charm and eloquence. His lifestyle was idiosyncratic and undisciplined. A heavy smoker and drinker, he liked to stay up all night, often in jazz clubs. In 1968 he suffered a heart attack on stage, dying two years later.François’ credentials as a French pianist were impeccable. After initial studies in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, he became a student in Nice and subsequently in Paris, where, on the recommendation of Alfred Cortot, his teachers were Yvonne Lefébure (at the École Normale de Musique, co-founded by Cortot in 1919) and Marguerite Long (at the Paris Conservatoire). He also studied harmony with the great composition teacher Nadia Boulanger. He first performed a concerto in Paris (Liszt’s Piano Concerto No 1) in 1941, at the age of just 17, but his career was well and truly launched by his victory in the inaugural Long-Thibaud Competition in 1943. Beyond France, he appeared around Europe, the USA, the Middle East and Japan, and broke ground with his performances in the Soviet Union and China.Samson François: The Complete Recordings: The works of Chopin are especially prominent in the collection – the melodic contours of any music were the determining factor for François – but the complete list of composers is richly diverse: Bach, Bartók, Beethoven, Debussy, Fauré, Franck, Hindemith, Liszt, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Prokofiev, Ravel (including the famous recording of the two piano concertos, conducted by André Cluytens), Saint-Saëns, Schumann and Scriabin. There is also music by François himself, including a film soundtrack.During his life, François achieved star status in France and Japan. However, the limited currency of his recordings in some other markets meant that his genius was not fully recognised everywhere. Be that as it may, there can be no doubt that he was one of the leading French pianists of his time – and probably the greatest of them.For this 2020 release, three major additions have been made to the contents of the 2010 collection:• The long-awaited world premiere release of a recording of François’ penultimate live recital, which took place in June 1970 – just four months before his death – at the Nohant Festival in central France. He performs music by Schumann and Ravel, but the venue has a special association with his beloved Chopin: Nohant was the country home of Chopin’s mistress George Sand.• A recital recorded at the Nissay Theatre in Tokyo in 1969 (Franck, Fauré, Debussy)• The 1998 documentary Samson François l’enchanteur, directed by Christian Girier and written by the pianist’s son, Maximilien François, available for the first time in DVD.

Rach3
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Re: Samson Francois Complete Warner Box: New Release

Post by Rach3 » Mon Sep 28, 2020 5:54 pm

Thanks for the advice.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DAEHwh0aT50 ( 1968 , a 2 minute improvisation video)

2 of my litmus tests for Chopin playing here. For me, Francois does not pass this admittedly very small sample test , perhaps not his best days:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CfpCBnkmGow ( Chopin Ballade # 1 , date ,venue not given )

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RICJlCLpxsc ( 3rd Scherzo,Op.39, recorded 1954 )

Rach3
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Re: Samson Francois Complete Warner Box: New Release

Post by Rach3 » Wed Sep 30, 2020 4:04 pm

On the other hand, listened at YT to mid-50's recordings by him of Faure's 4th Nocturne,the Franck CP&F,and Scriabin 3rd Sonata. The Faure and Scriabin were outstanding, the Franck not.

I may look for a single cd of his playing various works.Had of course heard his playing before over the years, including some concerti, mostly fine , but I was not inspired to add more interpretations of works I had in abundance.This Faure and Scriabin YT have renewed my interest.

Thanks again.

barney
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Re: Samson Francois Complete Warner Box: New Release

Post by barney » Wed Sep 30, 2020 5:38 pm

He gets a volume (2 CDs) in the Philips Great Pianists of the 20th Century edition (still, to my mind, the greatest recording project in classical history).
One CD is Chopin, the other has Debussy, Faure, Prokofiev, Ravel and Schumann. I might not have played it since the first time when I first got it in 2001, so I can't say much. A 200-CD set takes a lot of listening.

Rach3
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Re: Samson Francois Complete Warner Box: New Release

Post by Rach3 » Wed Sep 30, 2020 8:04 pm

A superb live video Debussy " L'Isle Joyeuse " :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evU5ubgtRXA

maestrob
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Re: Samson Francois Complete Warner Box: New Release

Post by maestrob » Thu Oct 01, 2020 9:12 am

Samson Francois's complete Debussy, Ravel, and Chopin (the three composers he's known for) are all available for free listening on American amazon.

So far, I've only heard his Chopin, which, while quite individual, hasn't offended me in any strong way, except for his very odd interpretation of the Piano Concerto I, which, after hearing it once, I swore I would never bother with again!

Sure, it's a lot of listening, but I've found him quite rewarding so far. He was quite a celebrity among my French community of friends in college, sort of a Jacques Brel of classical piano.

Rach3
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Re: Samson Francois Complete Warner Box: New Release

Post by Rach3 » Thu Oct 01, 2020 3:26 pm

The 24-year old Francois playing the "Scarbo" from Ravel's "Gaspard", recorded in 1947 per the YT:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1niPB5jDWfQ

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Re: Samson Francois Complete Warner Box: New Release

Post by Lance » Sun Oct 04, 2020 6:46 pm

As you might suspect, I have long had an interest in Samson François. A few years ago I was having conversations with Maximilien François, the former's son. But I understand he wasn't well and passed away though I could be wrong about that. He did much to further his father's career while living in, I think, the state of Florida.
Lance G. Hill
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Re: Samson Francois Complete Warner Box: New Release

Post by Lance » Sun Oct 04, 2020 6:55 pm

A further thought. I do have the EMI 36-CD edition entitled "The Complete EMI Recordings and Live Concerts," which I acquired in 2010. Now Warner/Erato comes forth with another "complete" edition comprised of 55 CDs. The 1969 Japan recital was once issued on the Weitblick label [0021], now in this new boxed edition. He was an amazing pianist, highly individualistic (which can often make music more interesting at times). This looks like a marvelous set augmented with 19 more discs than the original EMI "complete" edition.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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CharmNewton
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Re: Samson Francois Complete Warner Box: New Release

Post by CharmNewton » Mon Oct 05, 2020 7:45 pm

Lance wrote:
Sun Oct 04, 2020 6:55 pm
A further thought. I do have the EMI 36-CD edition entitled "The Complete EMI Recordings and Live Concerts," which I acquired in 2010. Now Warner/Erato comes forth with another "complete" edition comprised of 55 CDs. The 1969 Japan recital was once issued on the Weitblick label [0021], now in this new boxed edition. He was an amazing pianist, highly individualistic (which can often make music more interesting at times). This looks like a marvelous set augmented with 19 more discs than the original EMI "complete" edition.
The new edition follows the original LPs so may be spread over many more discs. Warner may have re-digitized the analog tapes or found better source materials that weren't available 10 years ago. If the set differs in some major way, the musical press will tell us. I'll probably pass on this one.

John

Handelian
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Re: Samson Francois Complete Warner Box: New Release

Post by Handelian » Fri Oct 30, 2020 3:46 pm

I came across Samson François when I was a lad and bought his recordings of Chopin and Schumann piano concertos which were pretty eccentric. He had a fabulous technique but in addition a drug and alcohol problem combined with a pretty wild lifestyle, if reports are to be believed. I have his recordings of Ravel which are absolutely fabulous and include the greatest performance ever of the left-hand concerto. Apparently he was very unpredictable as a pianist and was better heard live than in the studio

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Re: Samson Francois Complete Warner Box: New Release

Post by Lance » Fri Nov 13, 2020 9:42 pm

The new Samson Francois set arrived yesterday. It has lovingly been put together ... and it does look like an original album-by-album release from all the original jackets and all 54 CDs are under the ERATO logo label. The booklet has two wonderful articles about the pianist, one by his late son, Maximilien. Much of the repertoire was recorded early on in mono and later rerecorded in stereo. There are several live recordings in the boxed set, plus a DVD. I have already found someone who wants to buy the second Francois set of 36 CDs, so I don't lose out entirely and have an expanded more deluxe edition.

The late Maximilien wrote a book about his father, but I have been unable to determine if it is only available in French ... not English, which would be too bad.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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maestrob
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Re: Samson Francois Complete Warner Box: New Release

Post by maestrob » Sat Nov 14, 2020 8:20 am

Lance wrote:
Fri Nov 13, 2020 9:42 pm
The new Samson Francois set arrived yesterday. It has lovingly been put together ... and it does look like an original album-by-album release from all the original jackets and all 54 CDs are under the ERATO logo label. The booklet has two wonderful articles about the pianist, one by his late son, Maximilien. Much of the repertoire was recorded early on in mono and later rerecorded in stereo. There are several live recordings in the boxed set, plus a DVD. I have already found someone who wants to buy the second Francois set of 36 CDs, so I don't lose out entirely and have an expanded more deluxe edition.

The late Maximilien wrote a book about his father, but I have been unable to determine if it is only available in French ... not English, which would be too bad.
Good morning, Lance. :D

My copy arrived last evening as well, and, upon the usual cursory inspection, all seems to be OK. Will begin listening shortly, as soon as I finish with my latest run-through of Gieseking's Debussy and a set of Edwin Fischer CDs. Delighted to have this!

As for Maximilien's book about his father, I checked ISBN numbers, and so far it has not been translated into English as far as I can determine. Too bad. Since I do read French, I may acquire it as a Christmas present!

Rach3
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Re: Samson Francois Complete Warner Box: New Release

Post by Rach3 » Sat Nov 14, 2020 5:35 pm

With all your thoughts in mind, I did order today from an Amazon seller the single EMI “ Poet of the Piano” cd , short works of Chopin,Ravel,Debussy, as my first Francois cd. Thanks for all the opinions.

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Re: Samson Francois Complete Warner Box: New Release

Post by Lance » Sun Nov 15, 2020 12:08 am

Brian! Maybe you could do the translation and with, perhaps, the consent of his remaining family members, it could be published! Stranger things have happened. This is a book I would very much like to read. Consider it, eh?
maestrob wrote:
Sat Nov 14, 2020 8:20 am
Lance wrote:
Fri Nov 13, 2020 9:42 pm
The new Samson Francois set arrived yesterday. It has lovingly been put together ... and it does look like an original album-by-album release from all the original jackets and all 54 CDs are under the ERATO logo label. The booklet has two wonderful articles about the pianist, one by his late son, Maximilien. Much of the repertoire was recorded early on in mono and later rerecorded in stereo. There are several live recordings in the boxed set, plus a DVD. I have already found someone who wants to buy the second Francois set of 36 CDs, so I don't lose out entirely and have an expanded more deluxe edition.

The late Maximilien wrote a book about his father, but I have been unable to determine if it is only available in French ... not English, which would be too bad.
Good morning, Lance. :D

My copy arrived last evening as well, and, upon the usual cursory inspection, all seems to be OK. Will begin listening shortly, as soon as I finish with my latest run-through of Gieseking's Debussy and a set of Edwin Fischer CDs. Delighted to have this!

As for Maximilien's book about his father, I checked ISBN numbers, and so far it has not been translated into English as far as I can determine. Too bad. Since I do read French, I may acquire it as a Christmas present!
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

Image

maestrob
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Re: Samson Francois Complete Warner Box: New Release

Post by maestrob » Sun Nov 15, 2020 8:50 am

Lance wrote:
Sun Nov 15, 2020 12:08 am
Brian! Maybe you could do the translation and with, perhaps, the consent of his remaining family members, it could be published! Stranger things have happened. This is a book I would very much like to read. Consider it, eh?
maestrob wrote:
Sat Nov 14, 2020 8:20 am
Lance wrote:
Fri Nov 13, 2020 9:42 pm
The new Samson Francois set arrived yesterday. It has lovingly been put together ... and it does look like an original album-by-album release from all the original jackets and all 54 CDs are under the ERATO logo label. The booklet has two wonderful articles about the pianist, one by his late son, Maximilien. Much of the repertoire was recorded early on in mono and later rerecorded in stereo. There are several live recordings in the boxed set, plus a DVD. I have already found someone who wants to buy the second Francois set of 36 CDs, so I don't lose out entirely and have an expanded more deluxe edition.

The late Maximilien wrote a book about his father, but I have been unable to determine if it is only available in French ... not English, which would be too bad.
Good morning, Lance. :D

My copy arrived last evening as well, and, upon the usual cursory inspection, all seems to be OK. Will begin listening shortly, as soon as I finish with my latest run-through of Gieseking's Debussy and a set of Edwin Fischer CDs. Delighted to have this!

As for Maximilien's book about his father, I checked ISBN numbers, and so far it has not been translated into English as far as I can determine. Too bad. Since I do read French, I may acquire it as a Christmas present!
Oh, my!

I haven't used my conversational French in decades. I did learn to speak the language fluently when I went to Villanova and became an honorary member of the French community in Philadelphia during my college years. I even had a girlfriend from Paris who moved in with me while she was studying at Bryn Mawr College, and was close to a Belgian woman who nurtured all us Francophiles with parties and a lovely 2-acre home with an very large swimming pool on the Main Line. They all attended my mother's funeral when she passed when I was 22 from a terrible stroke (She had juvenile diabetes from age 15 and had sadly gone blind by then at the very young age of 51.).

So, I acquired a Parisian accent, much to the chagrin of my Canadian friends, but when I moved to NY I only kept in touch for a few years, and my French girlfriend flew back to Paris and stopped writing me when I got married a couple of years after I graduated from Villanova.

So, I'm licensed to teach French at a high school level, but not to discuss philosophy for sure, let alone translate complex musical terms! Reading a book is one thing, but capturing the nuances of such an important life story would really test my limits, I'm sure!

Also, sadly, my eyes are not what they used to be. Even though I've recently had both lenses replaced, I have a weak right eye that tires easily and goes out of focus rather quickly, so reading a book is difficult for me.

I'm sincerely touched that you would think of me as the translator of such an important tome. Thank you. I will buy it, certainly, and see what I think when I read it. If the prose is not too deep and complex, and not too intimidating, well, who knows?

maestrob
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Re: Samson Francois Complete Warner Box: New Release

Post by maestrob » Sun Nov 15, 2020 1:59 pm

Lance wrote:
Fri Nov 13, 2020 9:42 pm
The new Samson Francois set arrived yesterday. It has lovingly been put together ... and it does look like an original album-by-album release from all the original jackets and all 54 CDs are under the ERATO logo label. The booklet has two wonderful articles about the pianist, one by his late son, Maximilien. Much of the repertoire was recorded early on in mono and later rerecorded in stereo. There are several live recordings in the boxed set, plus a DVD. I have already found someone who wants to buy the second Francois set of 36 CDs, so I don't lose out entirely and have an expanded more deluxe edition.

The late Maximilien wrote a book about his father, but I have been unable to determine if it is only available in French ... not English, which would be too bad.
After searching the Forum, I found this post from 2013 by Piston, where he says that Maximilin's book about his father had been translated into English as of then:
(Unread post by piston » Fri Nov 15, 2013 3:40 pm) Lance met his son, Maximilien-Samson François, in 2010. He was only 15 when his father died and he published a biography of the pianist titled Samson François: Histoire de Mille Vies which was recently translated in English. Lance will probably be saddened to know that Maximilien-Samson died last month, also at a young age:
Unfortunately, I have as of yet been unable to find a copy, but will keep trying!

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Re: Samson Francois Complete Warner Box: New Release

Post by Lance » Mon Nov 16, 2020 12:09 am

Brian, if you ARE able to find a copy if you are searching - maybe two (2) copies — one for you, one for me, I would be delighted and will pay the price accordingly. So far, no luck for me in tracking down the translated-to-English book.
maestrob wrote:
Sun Nov 15, 2020 1:59 pm
Lance wrote:
Fri Nov 13, 2020 9:42 pm
The new Samson Francois set arrived yesterday. It has lovingly been put together ... and it does look like an original album-by-album release from all the original jackets and all 54 CDs are under the ERATO logo label. The booklet has two wonderful articles about the pianist, one by his late son, Maximilien. Much of the repertoire was recorded early on in mono and later rerecorded in stereo. There are several live recordings in the boxed set, plus a DVD. I have already found someone who wants to buy the second Francois set of 36 CDs, so I don't lose out entirely and have an expanded more deluxe edition.

The late Maximilien wrote a book about his father, but I have been unable to determine if it is only available in French ... not English, which would be too bad.
After searching the Forum, I found this post from 2013 by Piston, where he says that Maximilin's book about his father had been translated into English as of then:
(Unread post by piston » Fri Nov 15, 2013 3:40 pm) Lance met his son, Maximilien-Samson François, in 2010. He was only 15 when his father died and he published a biography of the pianist titled Samson François: Histoire de Mille Vies which was recently translated in English. Lance will probably be saddened to know that Maximilien-Samson died last month, also at a young age:
Unfortunately, I have as of yet been unable to find a copy, but will keep trying!
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

Image

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