MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around

 57,903 reviews
   and more ... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here
Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider


paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas
All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Clarissa Bevilacqua plays
Augusta Read Thomas

all Nimbus reviews

Brahms Dvorak
Brahms 2 Dvorak 7
all tudor reviews



Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom



Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
Symphonic Études [18:41]
Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849)
Mazurka in D flat major, Op. 30, No. 3 [3:01]
Mazurka in F minor, Op. 63, No. 2 [1:41]
Ballade No. 3 in A flat major, Op. 47 [7:07]
Franz LISZT (1811-1886)
Piano Sonata in B minor, HS 178 [31:28]
Reminicences of Don Juan, HS 418 [16:01]
Frédéric CHOPIN
Étude No. 9 in G flat major, Op. 25 [1:06]
Samson François (piano)
rec. live 19 January 1965, Salle Pleyel, Paris
MELOCLASSIC MC1045 [79:18]

Samson François (1924-1970) was born in Frankfurt, where his father worked at the French consulate. Early on in his life, he came to the attention of Alfred Cortot, at whose instigation he travelled to Paris to study with Yvonne Lefébure at the École Normale de Musique. Later he attended the Paris Conservatoire to study piano with Marguerite Long and harmony with Nadia Boulanger.

François’s bohemian lifestyle consisted of late nights, partying, chain-smoking and alcohol. The result of his excesses was that he died prematurely. His personal life certainly spilled out into his professional career. His music-making, built on a fabulous technique, was exciting, exuberant, volatile, unpredictable and reliant on risk-taking. Sometimes it could be heedless and tousled. Imperfections did not concern him that much, and in this respect he took a similar view to Alfred Cortot. It is almost ironic that he underwent a short period of study with Cortot, which was soon abandoned. Apparently, the master could not rein him in. There was a time when I could not bear Samson François’s playing but, over the years, I have gradually warmed to much of it.

This highly individual approach, where he wants to forcefully stamp his personality onto the music he is performing, and to distinguish himself from the pack, is most noticeable in Chopin’s Mazurka in D flat, Op. 30 No. 3. The interpretation is not for the faint-hearted. Marred by an excessively slow tempo, this mannered reading is afflicted by tortuous rubato and hesitant flow. Mazurka Op. 63 No. 2 which follows suffers, but to lesser extent, from slight tempo changes along the way.

On a more positive note, Schumann’s Symphonic Études Op. 13 are played with great musicality and confidence. In the ninth study, François makes a starling contrast between the passionate thrust of the Florestan section and the dreamy longings of Eusebius. In the eleventh, he injects fervour and intensity into the music.

The highlight of this recital for me is the Liszt Sonata. The reading in bold, courageous, passionate and intense, yet bejewelled with poetic lustre. With an intelligent command of structure and architecture, François knows how to integrate the different sections into one overarching sonata-form movement. This work alone justifies the price of the disc. It is simply wonderful.

The recital, a live recording from the Salle Pleyel, is dated 19 January 1965. The audio quality is first-rate, with air and resonance around the piano. It makes for a pleasing listen. Audience presence is registered by the retained applause. There is also a radio announcement at the end in French.

Stephen Greenbank

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month

November 2022
Bach Orchestral Suites

del Cinque
Del Cinque Cello sonatas

Fujita Mozart
Mao Fujita Mozart

Stanczyk Acousmatic Music


October 2022

Berg Violin Concerto
Violin Concerto Elmes

DEbussy Jeux
Debussy Jeux

Romantic pioano masters
Romantic Piano Masters

The future is female - Vol 2
Volume 2 - The Dance

impromptu harp music
Complete Harp Impromptus