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Icon - Samson François - The Chopin Recordings Box set


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Audio CD, Box set, June 8, 2010
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Editorial Reviews

Chopin pieces enjoyed a prominent place in the early concerts of this French pianist-and when he began his recording career, Chopin once again dominated his attention. A longtime lover of jazz, Francois lent an almost improvisational quality to his interpretations; his performances, in particular, of the ballades and nocturnes are not quite like any other on record. Here are 10 full CDs of Francois's highly influential, often controversial recordings of Chopin: Concertos for Piano Nos. 1 & 2; Polonaises for Piano Op. 26, 40, 44, 53, 61, 71; Fantasie for Piano in F Minor/A Flat Major; Tarantella for Piano in A Flat Major; Rondo for 2 Pianos in C Major; Ballades for Piano Op. 38, 47, 52; Nocturnes for Piano Op. 9, 15, 27, 32, 37, 48, 55, 62; Preludes for Piano Op. 28 , and much more!

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Product Details

  • Performer: Samson François
  • Orchestra: Monte Carlo National Opera Orch
  • Conductor: Louis Frémaux
  • Composer: Frédéric Chopin
  • Audio CD (June 8, 2010)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 10
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Warner Classics
  • ASIN: B0032700TE
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #229,412 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Hiram Gomez Pardo HALL OF FAME on August 14, 2011
Format: Audio CD
All of those who have listened Francois' Chopin are well aware his distinguished phrasing, excel musicality but first and foremost the way he forged and sculpted the musical phrase and the floating sound thanks his use of pedal.

For instance, the singular tempo he plays certain Waltzes (The Third, Eighth and Ninth) is simply inimitable, he doesn't let to surprise us every time we listen him. I would like to remark Lipatti's Waltzes is another must-have recording in order to decipher and go into the core of these piano works.

For many people his Ballades from 1954 find him the supreme player. I would suppport this statement with just one exception. I would rather prefer a most epic treatment of the First Ballad (Listen for William Kapell, Teresa Carreno or Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli. The rest of the three are played with accurate panache and inimitable lyric flight. The other player who gets close to him is Robert Casadesus in a set that believe or not has not been released yet in CD format, from 1947.

The Nocturnes, Mazurcas and Piano Concertos are -to my view- his inimitable achievements. If it's true Benedetti Michelangeli plays some Mazurcas (The Torino Recital, 1962) with admirable lyricism, Francois dives himself into an enraptured journey, capable to convey the listener to an unexplored universe. Forget the formal conventionalism about Chopin . Francois never will give you the vision of a Romantic Chopin or a story book Chopin for girls who still dream about or pretend to feel the scent of the great stories of love of the late XIX.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By clyde on June 4, 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Let me start off by saying that the only reason for four stars versus five is the variable sound throughout; The recordings date from '54-'66, and the digital remastering ranges from 1992-2010. This creates an uneven sound and volume from one recording to another requiring some EQ tweaks between CD's. Besides the uneven sound, much has been said about Francois' uneven performances also. I prefer to think of him as consistently inconsistent ;-). I had almost all of these pieces already by such greats as Pollini, Rubenstein, and Argerich. Some reviewers tend to get stuck on a particular performer as "the best", but I really enjoy hearing my favorite pieces performed in different ways (I have five different recordings of Debussy's Preludes and love them all for different reasons). Despite whatever drawbacks I find in these recordings, I just keep going back to them! They may not have Pollini's perfectionism, Argerich's fire, or Rubinstein's glowing beauty, but endearing and personal, as the title of this review says, is what I get from these that others may lack. I won't get into reviews of each piece, but I love his dark and sinister approach to the 24 preludes, and even his frowned upon Mazurkas have a certain lackadaisical elan that I like. In this age of technical brilliance and robotic mastery it's refreshing to hear a strong individual voice from the past. I can't help but think that a great erratic talent like his would have a hard time securing a recording contract in this age of soulless professionals. Staying out all night carousing in jazz clubs and showing up to dates a little worse for wear would be frowned upon by record execs of today. Not that it wasn't then, but you had a little leeway perhaps. To sum up, I keep reaching for this and discovering delightful quirks and flights of brilliance that don't always show up in my other Chopin recordings. At ten CD's for a great price, you really have nothing to lose!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Santa Barbara Jim on March 17, 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Francois died in 1970 and he is not well known in the U.S. He had a relatively short career, but he did some very good interpretations of Chopin. The collection gives some great listening.
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