SAMSON FRANÇOIS

The Magnetic Poet

OUR DISCOVERIES

Tape No. 1

Tape No. 1

SAMSON FRANÇOIS

THE UNRELEASED SWISS RECORDINGS

No sooner do we hear the first notes of Schumann’s Papillons, recorded in the RTS studios in Geneva in 1961, than we understand why François’s flowing interpretation achieves a synthesis between two theories of music: that of Jean-Philippe Rameau, who saw in music only rhythm and order, and that of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, for whom music was the purest expression of feeling. François draws out the concentrated essences of the piece, giving us a particularly mesmerising interpretation of the youthful Schumann’s work inspired by a masked ball. The next pieces, Mendelssohn’s two Songs without Words, were recorded at the same time and are made of the same stuff. After succumbing to the hypnotic effect of the pianist’s sound with its unfathomable subtlety – the delicately chiselled accompanying delivery, perfect legato and superbly elegant rubato over an ideal beat – one can only wonder if there are any more spellbinding renderings of these miniatures than these.

SAMSON FRANÇOIS

THE UNRELEASED SWISS RECORDINGS

SAMSON FRANÇOIS

THE UNRELEASED SWISS RECORDINGS

The story of this discovery

"We are following the trail of these recordings thanks to one of our clients. A private collector reportedly holds unpublished recordings made in Switzerland, of the great Samson François on analogue tapes. After weeks of discussion, this person finally agrees to send us the two tapes in question. These are studio and live recordings of Samson's performances in Switzerland. We choose our MCI tape recorder to play them. I am literally overwhelmed by what I hear and I start listening to the Butterflies, the Romances without. lyrics, Liszt's Etudes... I have never heard these works played like this. Every phrasing, every intonation and every color hypnotizes me. The recordings revealed very different eras and some pieces were not recorded originally on magnetic tapes but using direct-cut matrix and then transferred to these tapes in the early 1960s. It took us a lot of effort to identify the dates and locations of these recordings and we spent an infinite amount of time to restore and thus immortalize this absolute musical treasure".

Frédéric D'ORIA-NICOLAS
Musical treasure seeker

THE FORMATS OF THIS DISCOVERY


Le Journal du Dimanche

“The restorations of The Lost Recordings are worthy of those devoted to master paintings”

Shipped from 28/06/24 DOUBLE VINYLE SAMSON FRANÇOIS THE UNRELEASED SWISS RECORDINGS 68€

Mystery surrounds the French pianist, Samson François, who was born on May 18, 1924 in Frankfurt-am- Main.



Strength and Spirit

His father working as a diplomat at the French Consulate in Frankfurt am Main, Samson François was born in Germany and was named by his mother, Rose: Samson, for strength, and Pascal, for spirit. During his childhood, he lived here and there across Europe, following his father's professional changes. He began playing the piano at the age of two and, according to his statements, which are subject to caution2, studied in Italy with Pietro Mascagni, who encouraged him to give his first concert at the age of six: a Mozart concerto under the direction of the Italian composer. Then, with Cyril Licar, who presented him with compositions by Béla Bartók, he studied at the Belgrade Conservatory where he won first prize. After studying from 1932 to 1935 at the Nice Conservatory, where he also won first prize, he attracted the attention of Alfred Cortot, who encouraged him to go to Paris to study with Yvonne Lefébure at the École Normale de musique. He also completed his apprenticeship with Cortot (who said of him that it was almost impossible to teach him anything), and studied harmony with Nadia Boulanger. In 1938 he joined the Paris Conservatory, where his master was Marguerite Long and where he won first prize in 1940.



An appetite for risks

In 1943 he was the first winner of the Long-Thibaud competition and began a “sparkling” career, becoming “the most remarkable representative of the French school of piano” according to the new dictionary of musicians by Alain Pâris.
After the war, during which he gave several concerts organized by the British producer Walter Legge, in factories and military camps in England, he regularly undertook tours across Europe. In 1947 he gave his first concerts in the United States, where he met with great success, notably in New York, where he played Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 5 in G major under the direction of Leonard Bernstein. He returned in 1959, playing at Carnegie Hall, also with Bernstein. He then performed all over the world and was notably the first Western pianist to be invited to the USSR in 1956, and by People's China in 1964.
On February 4, 1959, Samson François was the featured guest on the first broadcast of Discorama, an ORTF television program produced by Denise Glaser.



A premature disappearance

Samson François suffered a heart attack in the middle of a concert in 1968. Disdaining to seek treatment, he suffered another heart attack in Paris on October 22, 1970 and died the same day after being rushed to Hôtel-Dieu Hospital in Paris. Having been unable to record the Études, book I, he did not complete his recording of the complete piano works by Debussy.

 

“I would have liked to make a pact with the devil, but he didn’t want me”

OUR HAPPY MUSIC LOVERS