HD-Vinyls 24/96 (EMI/Angel) Maurice Ravel – Piano Concerto In G Major / Piano Concerto In D Major For The Left Hand (François/Cluytens)

front-small-boxsetMany thanks to our friend Rumpwagger for this beauty
Samson François (1924-1970) is considered one of the most important French pianists of the 20th century. His unique sense of improvisation, which is the trademark of his recordings, blossomed even more in concert. Those who had the chance to attend his concerts recall a very special experience.
Precisely why he’s is not better known in the United States (or known at all for that matter) is a mystery. On this album he plays Ravel with absolute mastery, refusing to prettify any of the jazz rhythms in the G major concerto, and by so doing, bringing out all of its toughness…..

Composer: Maurice Ravel
Performer: Samson François
Orchestra: The Paris Conservatoire Orchestra
Conductor: André Cluytens
Vinyl (1960)
Number of Discs: 1
Format: Flac
Label: EMI/Angel
DR-Analysis: DR 12
Size: 799 MB
Scan: yes
Server: FileFactory

…..There may be impressionism in this music, but there’s plenty more, too. François gives the Concerto for Left Hand a performance filled with passion and excitement; indeed it’s just this side of abandon. His Gaspard is full of the colors Ravel imbued it with as well. André Cluytens is the ideal leader for this type of music, and while his orchestra here is hardly world class, it’s very good. And the remastered sound is excellent. –Robert Levine

We don’t hear of Francois too much–he’s been dead quite awhile, so we only get the occasional reissue.
This was some of his best work. He had a shag about him in Ravel. He insisted on Cluytens and this superb orchestra for this recording, precisely because of the sensitivity to jazz elements it had developed…playing a lot of Milhaud I imagine.
No one here speaks about his unique bass line, so I will. It’s the first thing you hear in the Left Hand. Rich. Powerful. No clatter. No tubbiness. No one knew quite how he did it, but it was a unique sound. This firm grounding keeps the snazziness of the other ranges well pinned down, as if these two concerti were really rather vertical. There’s a masculine power here that no one else ever got, and this could be considered a characteristic of the pianist, probably more than any other element.
Another thing was his ultra-clean pedal technique and sense of blend. In the G major we hear time and again where Francois and Cluytens had to have gone over the harmonic overtones to get the effects they get. The only other pianist in these pieces to work with this element was Monique Haas and her maestro Paul Paray, but they approached it from her strong carillon highs on down. This kind of consideration opens up a whole new world of sound contained in Ravel. Going at it from below as Francois does would be somewhat easier to capture in recordings I imagine.
Francois’ pedal is again evident in his solo work here, but I somewhat miss the greater degree of involvement he achieves in the concerti. This seems to have been true across his repertoire, Liszt among everything else, that he presented in his recitals.
Do get this Francois/Cluytens and put it on your shelf filed at the front with Haas/Paray. Listen often to both and recognize their considerable virtues as the prime interpretations of these works.

PAY ATTENTION: althought stated in the lower side of the rear cover, this is not a mono recording but a STEREO one (stereo vinyl in the cover of the mono release).



  Piano Concerto In G Major
A1 Allegramente 7:33
A2 Adagio Assai 8:38
A3 Presto 3:49
B1 Piano Concerto In D Major For The Left Hand 17:59

Analyzed folder: /96k Ravel – 2 Piano Concertos – Francois
DR        Peak        RMS        Filename
DR10        -1.20 dB     -15.59 dB     A1 Piano Concerto In G Major – 1. Allegramente.aif
DR14        -1.56 dB     -20.47 dB     A2 Piano Concerto In G Major – 2. Adagio Assai.aif
DR11        -1.36 dB     -14.98 dB     A3 Piano Concerto In G Major – 3. Presto.aif
DR11        -0.87 dB     -16.77 dB     B Piano Concerto In D Major For The Left Hand.aif
Number of files:    4
Official DR value:    DR12

Ripping Info


  • Software: iZotope RX 4 Advanced, Adobe Audition CS 5.5, Twisted Wave 1.9
  • Super light de-clicking with iZotope, significant clicks manually removing, no de-noising
  • DR-Analisys before converting to Flac
  • Converting Wave -> Flac: Twisted Wave 1.9
  • Artwork: Sony Alpha 350, Epson Perfection V750 Pro, Photoshop CS 5.5

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13 thoughts on “HD-Vinyls 24/96 (EMI/Angel) Maurice Ravel – Piano Concerto In G Major / Piano Concerto In D Major For The Left Hand (François/Cluytens)

  1. Thank you very much, dear Rach and Rumpwagger!
    This is one of my favorite concertos, and one of the best performances.
    I can’t wait to start to listen to it.

  2. Wonderful, thank you. I had copies of this in midprice EMI reissues so its good to have it from the original. This has always been my favourite version of the LH concerto – I particularly like the way he attacks the lower end of the keyboard as though he doesn’t care if he hits the correct keys or not. He does of course!

  3. very interesting tapestry of instruments and sounds tightly woven beautifully. Quite original and well done.
    Thank you sir.

  4. I have just learned from his obituaries that the cor anglais solo in the slow movement of the G major concerto was played by Jean-Claude Malgloire, before he became a baroque specialist. It is a beautiful performance: yet another reason for loving this version.

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