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Ravel: Concertos and Solo Piano Works / Samson Francois, piano [3 CDs]

Notes & Reviews:

For the very first time, EMI Classics releases all of Samson Francoins' celebrated Ravel recordings in one 3-CD set, fully remastered. Known as one of the greatest French pianist of the 20th century, Samson Francois was admitted for his performances of Chopin, Schumann, Debussy and most importantly Ravel. The 3-CD set includes favorites Ravel works such as Gaspard de la nuit, Le Tombeau de Couperin, Miroirs, and both of his concertos, one being his monumental concerto for the Left Hand. The concerto was written originally for pianist Paul Wittgenstein who had lost his right arm during World War I. Samson made a name for him by interpreting Chopin, but the publication of the two concertos by Ravel helped him explode onto the scene. At the time, only three pianists had ventured to record both concertos.

Samson Francois plays the way he is, in an atypical, rebellious and surprising manner. "Playing piano, how awful! Playing at the piano!" is how he likes to put it. This collection demonstrated the broad range of personality in Ravel's pieces, which coincides with Samson's free, yet dark inner workings. Le Tombeau de Couprin light, allusive, and rhythmically flexible while the color palette turns to gray with the disturbing Sonatine.


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