EMI Classics is proud to release the complete EMI recordings of one of the most well-known pianists, Samson François. This exclusive 36-CD box set includes all his early recordings that were mainly devoted to Frédéric Chopin. The height of Samson's art is probably to be found in the ballades (recorded between 26 and 28 October 1954, and first issued as an immensely successful 10" LP) and the dazzling interpretation of the nocturnes (recorded in May and June 1966). In the ballades and the nocturnes Samson establishes an allembracing color with the aid of the loud pedal, although he modulates its power and creates a rainbow effect through the highly skilled, yet quite unpredictable use of the soft pedal.
Kavakos played like a dream eliciting an almost physical pleasure from the trueness of his intonation and the way in which certain phrases, certain chords landed. ~ Deutsches Sinfonie-Orchester Berlin / Ingo Metzmacher, BBC Proms, The Independent, August 2010
Though indeed of Italian background, violinist Zino Francescatti was a Frenchman, born in Marseilles in 1902. His real name was René-Charles Francescatti. Both his parents played the violin, and his father René had been a student of Paganini.
Grammy Award-winning violinist Augustin Hadelich is one of the most impressive musicians of his generation. Pianist Joyce Yang, youngest ever medalist of the Van Cliburn Competition, is a consistently electrifying presence on stage. Together these young artists produce a plethora of pyrotechnics and an abundance of musical imagination. This unique recital program pairs two 19th-century repertory staples – Sonatas by Franck and Schumann – with 20th-century fare by Kurtág and Previn, a combination Augustin and Joyce have performed to widespread acclaim in their frequent joint performances.
Italian sisters Natascia and Raffaella Gazzana deliver a sensitively performed survey of French music of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, alongside a nod to modern Hungarian composer György Ligeti. They place Franck’s monumental Sonata in A Major at the heart of their program, its second movement Allegro blazing with passion, the final Allegretto beautifully restrained yet unleashed in the closing bars. Ravel’s Sonate Posthume is a fascinating document of a 22-year-old composer’s development, in thrall to early Impressionism, while Messiaen’s equally youthful “Thème et Variations,” played with sparkling clarity and poise, shows a composer ahead of his time. Ligeti’s direct musical language functions almost as a refreshing sorbet among the French riches.