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Raymond Beegle
Fanfare, September 2019

Samson François, in this 1960 SWR broadcast, speaks the language of his venerable predecessors. Notwithstanding the flamboyant cast of his personality there is an inherent humility in his work, as he is willing to risk going beyond his technical powers to deliver his conception of the music.

François speaks perfect French in his Debussy préludes, elegant, with an array of beautiful tone and subtle nuance. Although he speaks Russian with a slight French accent, the Prokofiev Sonata, with its hard surfaces and sharp edges, rings with authenticity, a powerful statement of the human condition at the extremes of fear, despair, and wonder. © 2019 Fanfare Read complete review



Bruno Repp
American Record Guide, September 2019

The interpretations of these pieces, while recognizably similar to the ones at hand, struck me as quite fascinating and beautiful, and so it was with the rest of the program. That recording also has a much better (though not optimal) sound. © 2019 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



International Piano, August 2019

From such impeccable credentials to France’s enfant terrible, a pianist who was part genius and part wild, untutored phoenix. © 2019 International Piano



Rob Cowan
Gramophone, July 2019

Perhaps the most individualistic piano recital to come my way in recent months dates from May 1960 (in Ettlingen) and features Samson François, who’s elegantly communicative in a couple of Mendelssohn Songs without Words and Chopin’s ambling Nocturne Op 55 No 1, save for the more anguished central section. Chopin’s B flat minor Sonata is something else again, ablaze for the duration, with an augmented bass line for the return of the outer section of the ‘Marche funèbre’. It’s very impressive. A trio of Debussy Préludes (including an imposing ‘La cathédrale engloutie’) precedes a blistering account of Prokofiev’s Seventh Sonata, uncompromisingly aggressive, rhythmically very free and with a 3'03" closing Precipitato that sounds as if it’s dodging shrapnel at every turn – a maverick alternative to various ‘saner’ options, including those by Pollini, Richter and Horowitz! © 2019 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone





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