Label: The Electric Recording Company ERC 069 / EMI Columbia – SAX2469
180 Gram Virgin Vinyl – AAA 100% Analogue
300 Numbered Limited Edition – Iconic ” Holy Grail ” Recordings
Mastered from the original analog master tapes, through our unique all valve 1968 Ortofon vinyl cutting system in stereo.
Samson François was born on 18 May 1924 in Frankfurt, Germany, where his father was working at the French consulate. He discovered the piano at the age of two and his early studies were with the Italian composer Pietro Mascagni. He gave his first performance at the age of just six when he played a Mozart piano concerto under the direction of Mascagni. He went on to study at the Conservatoire in Nice from 1932 to 1935 where he won first prize. It was there that he came to the attention of the highly coveted French pianist Alfred Cortot, who encouraged him to move to Paris and study with the great Yvonne Lefébure. From 1938 he studied at the Paris Conservatoire with Marguerite Long where he won the premier prix in 1940.
At the age of 20 he won the first Marguerite Long–Jacques Thibaud Competition. This propelled Françoison to a career of international scale, touring regularly throughout Europe and around the globe. His propulsion in to the ‘jet-set’ was reflected in his personal life, known for his extravagant and hedonistic lifestyle of excess, during which time he regularly frequented the jazz clubs of Paris (he was a great admirer of Bud Powell) during the golden age of the genre. After suffering a heart attack on stage in 1968 François died just two years later at the age of 46.A pianist Of cult status, his virtuosic style was truly exceptional. In contrast to his colourful lifestyle François was incredibly disciplined at the piano – acclaimed for his interpretation of the French repertoire, and noted for his performances of Fauré, Ravel, Debussy, Chopin, Liszt and Schumann.
Samson Francois s interpretation of these popular Debussy piano works is truly exceptional. He always deliver personal interpretations, marked by an exceptional sense of narrative. One critic hailed him as one of the most important pianist in post war France with playing that was daring as it was rhapsodic, but also notable for its uncompromising integrity and extraordinary intelligence.
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.
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.
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. 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”.
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.