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David Fray plays Chopin

David Fray plays Chopin


Chopin:

Nocturne No. 2 in E flat major, Op. 9 No. 2

Nocturnes (2), Op. 48

Nocturne No. 16 in E flat major, Op. 55 No. 2

Mazurka No. 41 in C sharp minor, Op. 63 No. 3

Nocturne No. 18 in E major, Op. 62 No. 2

Mazurka No. 11 in E minor, Op. 17 No. 2

Polonaise No. 7 in A flat major, Op. 61 'Polonaise-fantaisie'

Nocturne No. 15 in F minor, Op. 55 No. 1

Impromptu No. 3 in G flat major, Op. 51

Nocturne No. 10 in A flat major, Op. 32 No. 2

Waltz No. 9 in A flat major, Op. 69 No. 1 'Farewell Waltz'

Mazurka No. 40 in F minor, Op. 63 No. 2


David Fray (piano)

Chopin’s music had been absent from Fray’s active repertoire for some 15 years before he recorded this recital, which comprises seven of the composer’s nocturnes, three mazurkas, a polonaise, a waltz and an impromptu. When Fray talks about Chopin – who died in Paris in 1849 aged just 39, having exercised a transformative influence on the piano repertoire – it becomes clear that he sees the composer’s work in archetypally Romantic terms: “For me, Chopin’s music is very fragile, vaporous, perfumed … somewhat intangible. It is so fluid and evanescent – you need to feel that it could just disappear at any moment. What makes it so touching is this ephemeral quality – the mazurkas are like something that you write in the sand … You know that it will be washed away, but the memory will remain. His music palpitates with a sense of the unexpected, the inspiration of the moment. If you tried to engrave it into marble, it would die.”

“Fray uses plenty of pedal, but one is struck by his bright, clean sound, and by the way he lets each piece unfold; the ornamentation is leisurely and pellucid, every note in every arpeggiation fastidiously placed, and his singing line is a delight” BBC Music Magazine, April 2017 *****

“It is the poetry that shines through, the chaste sensuality, the gentle melancholy, not to mention the exquisite pearly tone, captured in beautiful sound…This is Chopin-playing of considerable seriousness and beauty.” Gramophone Magazine, March 2017

Released or re-released in last 6 months

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Schubert - Impromptus & Moments Musicaux

Schubert - Impromptus & Moments Musicaux


Schubert:

Moments Musicaux (6), D780, Op. 94

Allegretto in C minor, D915

4 Impromptus, D899


David Fray (piano)

After his Bach concertos, a classical bestseller in both France and Germany, the young French pianist David Fray brings his unique sensibilities to Schubert. David Fray has already declared his particular affinity with Austro-German music, and after two CDs featuring Bach (and a DVD featuring him in Bach concertos) he now turns to the early Romantic era and Schubert, with a programme of the six Moments musicaux D780, the four Impromptus D899 and the Allegretto in C minor D915, recorded in Berlin.

His approach to the music is typically questioning and illuminating. “At the piano,” he told the French magazine Pianiste, “I try to make music like a conductor, not just as a pianist. I approach the score as if it is a reduction of a symphonic work. The piano constitutes a way of getting nearer the heart of the music. How do you balance the voices? How do you find a progression in a movement? How do you put the polyphony in place?… It’s much more interesting to study Bach’s approach to the orchestra in the Magnificat or the Christmas Oratorio than to read books on how to play Bach on the piano. Each time I approach a new score, I ask myself how the composer would have written it if he hadn’t decided on the piano. Take Schubert’s first impromptu, for instance: it starts like a reduction of an orchestral score: a tutti chord and then the melody is presented on its own, as if on a flute. Then the winds take up the theme before the strings make their entry. Most of the work comprises three or four independent lines which sing together – a cello ostinato, counterpoint harmony in the violas, say, and the winds above it.”

His recording of Bach concertos, released last November, has now sold over 40,000 copies in France and Germany, singling him out as a pianist to watch. The French magazine Le Monde de la musique said: “The interpretation is always generous, enthusiastic and rich in contrasts. The fast movements appeal with their healthy energy, exuberant humour in their finales and lyricism throughout. No moments of tension stiffen the pianist’s phrases and he gives free rein to the sound,” while the German news magazine Spiegel described Fray as “perhaps the most inspired, certainly the most original Bach-player of his generation … He discovers more psychological depth, more well-rounded stories and more refined emotions than his colleagues … His approach is lyrical, flexible, elegant and instilled with a cultivated bel canto aesthetic.”

“…a Schubert disc of the rarest distinction. …few pianists have been more acutely sensitive to Schubert's complex inner world, one where an often pained and world-weary quality is thinly disguised by outward geniality.” Gramophone Magazine, December 2009

“What's immediately striking about his Schubert playing is its refinement, and variety of colour. In the melancholy unaccompanied theme that brings the first of the Impromptus, for instance, you can almost hear the plaintive sound of an oboe; while in No. 3 - a song without words in all but name - Fray allows the melody to sing in a genuine pianissimo, by making the inner-voice accompaniment sound like the murmur of a clarinet playing in its dark chalumeau register. This is altogether some of the most beautiful pianissimo playing you're likely to hear... is a memorable recital, and no Schubert-lover should miss this.” BBC Music Magazine, December 2009

“...sheer lucidity and polish...exceptional command of colour and touch...In many respects it's pianism of the highest class.” The Guardian, 21st January 2010 ***

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Bach: Piano Concerto No. 5 BWV 1056 ('Masterworks')

Bach: Piano Concerto No. 5 BWV 1056 ("Masterworks")


Warner Classics - 9996027315

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Schubert: Fantasie

Schubert: Fantasie


Schubert:

Piano Sonata No. 18 in G major, D894

Hungarian Melody in B minor D817

Fantasie in F minor for piano duet, D940

with Jacques Rouvier (piano)

Allegro in A minor 'Lebensstürme', D947


David Fray (piano)

David Fray returns to Schubert with his much-anticipated second recording of the composer’s piano music, a collection of passionate late works. Along with the Sonata in G D894 ‘Fantasie’ and the Hungarian Melody D817, Fray presents two duets for piano four-hands, both composed in the last year of Schubert’s life: the Fantasia in F minor D940 and the towering Allegro in A minor D947, ‘Lebensstürme’ (‘Storms of Life’). Fray invited Jacques Rouvier, his mentor and renowned teacher from the Paris Conservatoire, to join him in the studio, making this album a true labour of love.

“Few pianists have been more acutely sensitive to Schubert's complex inner world” Gramophone

The young French pianist’s Schubert interpretations are universally admired, both on disc and in recital. In its review of Fray’s 2009 album of the Moments musicaux and Impromptus D899, The Guardian praised his “discerning musicality… the sheer lucidity and polish of Fray’s playing, its exceptional command of colour and touch and the way he invariably uses that range of sound to point up musical structures in a meaningful way.” Gramophone declared it “a Schubert disc of the rarest distinction”, while BBC Music Magazine joined the fray with: “What’s immediately striking about his Schubert playing is its refinement, and variety of colour.”

Although Schubert composed over 20 sonatas, only three were published during his lifetime, of which the ‘Fantasie’ G Major Sonata D894, published in 1826, was the last. After Schubert’s death, Robert Schumann described this masterpiece as the "most perfect in form and conception" of all Schubert's sonatas.

Schubert spent the summers of 1818 and 1824 at the chateau of Count Johann Karl Esterházy (of the same Hungarian noble family that had been patron to Haydn), where he taught the Count’s two daughters. There he was exposed to the lively Magyar rhythms and tunes that infuse the Ungarische Melodie D817, a gem he composed in 1824 on his return to Vienna, but which went unpublished until a century after his death.

One of Schubert’s favourite forms of chamber music was the piano duet – he composed some 60 works in the genre. The Fantasia in F minor of 1828 is his last and most poetic contribution to the form as well as one of the most important works in his oeuvre.

In addition to David Fray, Jacques Rouvier – Professor of Piano at the Paris Conservatoire since 1979 – counts some of today’s most illustrious international virtuosos among his former students, including Arcadi Volodos and Hélène Grimaud.

“this new Schubert disc is exceptionally thoughtful and touching...he is joined by his mentor, the famous teacher Jacques Rouvier, for the great F minor Fantasia, where the playing is tougher, and then for the Allegro Lebensstürme in A minor: an unusually satisfying recital.” The Observer, 15th February 2015 ****

“This is a mightily impressive release with Fray and his partner Rouvier creating a wide range of colour in what are passionately felt interpretations. The interplay between the players is a constant pleasure...Fray’s variety of touch and dynamic control combined with a remarkable insight provides breathtaking results.” MusicWeb International, February 2015

“David Fray’s playing of the sonata, and of the brief, haunting Hungarian Melody, D817, is a delight. He and Jacques Rouvier give an unusually Gallic account of the F minor Fantasy.” Sunday Times, 1st March 2015

“The pianism is exemplary. David Fray has probably never hit an ugly note, nor failed to produce textures of luminous clarity and seductive depth and colour...Beautiful, certainly, in its way; but static.” BBC Music Magazine, Awards Issue 2015 ***

“David Fray is alive to the way the music moves at every point and skilled at evoking worlds of sound beyond the piano…Jacques Rouvier was David Fray's teacher. They make superb duettists, and I think one would have to go back to Murray Perahia and Radu Lupu - long ago - to find a far-reaching version of the F minor Fantasia as fine as theirs.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2015

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - May 2015

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Zen piano

Zen piano


Jean-Bernard Pommier (piano), François-René Duchâble (piano), Christian Zacharias (piano), Piotr Anderszewski (piano), David Fray (keyboards), Mikhail Pletnev (piano), David Levine (piano), The Grieg Trio, Leif Ove Andsnes (piano), Ian Brown (piano), Christopher Van Kampen (violoncello), Roger Chase (viola), Marcia Crayford (violin), Jeremy Williams (violin), Alexis Weissenberg (piano), Nicholas Angelich (piano), Jean-Philippe Collard (piano), Dmitri Alexeev (piano), Tasmin Little (violin), Martin Roscoe (piano), Anne Queffélec (piano), Andrew Litton (piano), Michael Collins (clarinet), William Bennett (flute), Rodney Slatford (violin), David Corkhill (drums), Terry Emery (drums), Susan Tomes (piano), David Fray (piano), Michel Beroff (piano), Kun Woo Paik (piano)

Sinfonia Varsovia, Staatskapelle Dresden, Die Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Nash Ensemble, The Nash Ensemble, Philharmonia Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, City Of London Sinfonia, Hans Vonk, David Fray, Dmitri Kitayenko, Libor Pesek, Andrew Litton, Richard Hickox, Jerzy Maksymiuk

Erato Zen - 9996284355

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Swing, Sing & Think - David Fray records J.S. Bach

Swing, Sing & Think - David Fray records J.S. Bach

A film by Bruno Monsaingeon


Bach, J S:

Keyboard Concerto No. 4 in A major, BWV1055

Keyboard Concerto No. 5 in F minor, BWV1056

Keyboard Concerto No. 7 in G minor, BWV1058


This absorbing 95-minute documentary about the young French pianist David Fray is directed by Bruno Monsaingeon, the distinguished filmmaker whose previous collaborations with Virgin Classics include DVDs with Piotr Anderszewski and Valery Sokolov, and whose past subjects have included David Oistrakh, Sviatoslav Richter, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Yehudi Menuhin and Glenn Gould.

This DVD complements Fray’s second CD release on Virgin Classics, a collection of Bach concertos, and it includes Live footage from the audio recording sessions of the concertos BWV 1055,1056 et 1058 (the CD also includes BWV 1052 in D minor). Issues discussed on screen with Fray, an artist of formidable intellectual energy, include his relationship with the music of Bach and his views on directing an orchestra – here the Bremen-based Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie – from the keyboard

The Austro-German repertoire is of great importance to the pianist, whose personal heritage includes Czech, Polish, Spanish, French, Finnish and Jewish strands. He has said that: “If, over my life, I can play all the works of Bach, Mozart, Schubert, Haydn, Brahms and Schumann, then I shall be very happy!” but describes Bach as “a pinnacle; both a beginning and an end”.

2008 has been an important year for Fray, bringing his New York debut and his marriage (in July) to the Italian actress Chiara Muti, daughter of conductor Riccardo Muti. His first CD release on Virgin Classics, a thought-provoking juxtaposition of Bach and Boulez, came in may 2007 and in April 2008 it brought him the Best Newcomer Award from BBC Music Magazine. The recital also prompted Gramophone to speak of his: “unselfregarding mastery and musical maturity and the “intimate, poetic spell” cast by his Bach with its “gorgeous tone and ravishingly shaded trills.” The New York Times found it a “superbly played and thoughtful program … In both Bach and Boulez, Mr. Fray displays an articulate touch, splendid command of shadings and nimble finger work. The youthful freshness of the performances is especially appealing. Mr. Fray is not intimidated by either giant ... He brings a fluid sense of rhythm and much sparkle to Bach's D major Partita … [the] account of Bach's D minor French Suite is also captivating,” while the “playful, crystalline and wondrously delicate account” of Boulez’s 12 Notations” was summarised as “breathtaking”.

‘Fray’s debut is marked by an imaginative collation, Bach and Boulez, played with vibrant imagination. He pushes the boundaries but resists the merely quirky. Impeccable technique allows him to speak from the heart with deceptive ease.’ BBC Music Magazine

Running Time: 133 mins

Format: NTCS 16:9

Sound: PCM Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1

Original Version: French, English

Subtitles: French, English

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Format: NTSC

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Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 22 & 25

Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 22 & 25


Mozart:

Piano Concerto No. 22 in E flat major, K482

Piano Concerto No. 25 in C major, K503


David Fray – named Instrumentalist of the Year in France’s Victoires de la Musique 2010 – retains his focus on Austro-German repertoire with his second CD of concertos for Virgin Classics: Mozart’s Concertos Nos 22 and 25 with London’s Philharmonia Orchestra under Dutch violinist-turned-conductor (and Music Director of the Dallas Symphony), Jaap van Zweden.

“Above all, I would like to advocate a certain vision of music and to make it accessible without altering its value or the level on which it operates.” David Fray – Instrumentalist of the Year in France’s Victoires de la Musique 2010 – turns to Mozart for his second CD of concertos for Virgin Classics. The response of The Sunday Times to his last solo release was: “No Schubert-lover should miss this piano recital by David Fray,” while The Guardian evoked “pianism of the highest class”.

Fray’s last release was a solo programme of Schubert, a figure who embodies the transition to Romanticism from the Classicism of Mozart, a fellow Austrian. The recital was praised by the critics for its distinctive and many-layered interpretation: “No Schubert-lover should miss this piano recital by David Fray,” urged the BBC Music Magazine, while The Sunday Times felt that: “These are wonderful performances by the young French pianist David Fray, a player with a beautiful touch and the finest control of dynamics and chording ... By taking his time, without ever weakening the music’s inexorable momentum, Fray fills every note with meaning, in such a way that we feel intensely each mercurial change of mood and colour and texture, relish Schubert’s astonishing harmonic invention to the full, and relive the heartbreak, the ferocity, the elation, the visionary flights of these inexhaustible works.” The Guardian was enthused by “the sheer lucidity and polish of Fray's playing, its exceptional command of colour and touch, and the way he invariably uses that range of sound to point up musical structures in a meaningful way … pianism of the highest class.”

“with superb orchestral support from the Philharmonia and Jaap van Zweden, [Fray] makes no apologies for presenting them in a suitably grand, rather old-fashioned way...The range of colour he draws from the instrument, later in that same movement of K503 but also in its equivalent in the E flat concerto K482, is exquisite, each phrase perfectly weighted.” The Guardian, 2nd December 2010 ****

“On the basis of these recordings, Fray has an instinctive Mozartean affinity – he communicates fresh ideas with subtle, stylistic deftness...Throughout, Fray and Zweden work together with remarkable symbiosis.” Graham Rogers, bbc.co.uk, 30th November 2010

“he is very fine in the grand first movement: the richness and variety of colour he finds in the development section (particularly in the long, quiet lead-back to the reprise), and in the sad, mysterious second movement, are magical. Fray’s carefully thought-out but vivid interpretations of both concertos are ably supported by the conductor and the Philharmonia’s splendid wind section.” Sunday Telegraph, 9th January 2011 ****

“his touch can be exquisitely delicate, he can generate impressive grandeur when required, and there are some very successful transitions between the two.” Gramophone Magazine, March 2011

“Rising star David Fray has an exceptionally beautiful tone, which is a joy in a world when so many pianists crash about regardless. Everything is clear and singing.” Classic FM Magazine, March 2011 ***

“The need to be on the look-out for new colours, new lines of thought, as if improvised on the fly, are concerns Fray has obviously taken great pains to weave into his performances, and the music breathes very naturally as a consequence of his solicitous temperament. Van Zweden's handling of the textures is craftsmanlike.” International Record Review, March 2011

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Klassik Hits

Klassik Hits


Sol Gabetta (violoncello), Cappella Gabetta, Jonas Kaufmann (tenor), Alberto Bologni (concert master), Orchestra dell'Opera di Parma, Martin Stadtfeld (piano), Emmanuel Pahud (flute), Kammerakademie Potsdam, Vittorio Grigolo (tenor), Orchestra Roma Sinfonietta, Xavier de Maistre (harp), Mozarteum Orchester Salzburg, Joyce DiDonato (mezzo-soprano), Il Complesso Barocco, Khatia Buniatishvili (piano), Münchener Kammerorchester, François Leleux (oboe), Plácido Domingo (baritone), Orquestra de la Comunítat Valencíana, Igor Levit (piano), Simone Kermes, La Magnifica Comunità, Alexander Krichel (piano), David Fray (piano), Wiener Philharmoniker, Lang Lang (piano), David Garrett, Rolando Villazon (tenor), Orchestra del Teatro Regio di Torino, Cecilia Bartoli (mezzo-soprano), I Barocchisti, Alison Balsom (trumpet), The English Concert, Daniel Hope (violin), Jacques Ammon (piano), Sol Gabetta (cello), Hélène Grimaud (piano), Max Emanuel Cencic (countertenor), Franco Fagioli (countertenor), Olga Peretyatko (soprano), NDR Sinfonieorchester, Olga Scheps (piano), Klaus Florian Vogt (tenor), Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin, Dorothee Oberlinger (recorder), I Sonatori de la Gioiosa Marca, Nils Mönkemeyer (viola), Nicholas Rimmer (piano), Erwin Schrott (baritone), Radio Symphonie Orchester Wien, Wiener Staatsopernchor, Philippe Jaroussky (countertenor), L'Arpeggiata

Andrés Gabetta, Pier Giorgio Morandi, Trevor Pinnock, Fabio Cerroni, Ivor Bolton, Alan Curtis, François Leleux, Pablo Heras-Casado, Franz Welser-Möst, Gianandrea Noseda, Diego Fasolis, Enrique Mazzola, Peter Schneider, Daniele Rustioni, Christina Pluhar

Sony - G010002932809P

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Les Pianos de Demain (The Pianos of Tomorrow)

Les Pianos de Demain (The Pianos of Tomorrow)


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Bach - Piano Concertos

Bach - Piano Concertos


Bach, J S:

Keyboard Concerto No. 4 in A major, BWV1055

Keyboard Concerto No. 5 in F minor, BWV1056

Keyboard Concerto No. 7 in G minor, BWV1058

Keyboard Concerto No. 1 in D minor, BWV1052


This collection of Bach concertos is the French pianist David Fray’s second recording for Virgin Classics. His first, with its thought-provoking juxtaposition of Bach and Boulez, was released in May 2007 and in April 2008 brought him the Best Newcomer Award from BBC Music Magazine. The recital also prompted Gramophone to speak of his: “unselfregarding mastery and musical maturity,” and the “intimate, poetic spell” cast by his Bach with its “gorgeous tone and ravishingly shaded trills.” The New York Times found it a “superbly played and thoughtful program … In both Bach and Boulez, Mr. Fray displays an articulate touch, splendid command of shadings and nimble finger work. The youthful freshness of the performances is especially appealing. Mr. Fray is not intimidated by either giant … He brings a fluid sense of rhythm and much sparkle to Bach's D major Partita … [the] account of Bach's D minor French Suite is also captivating,” while the “playful, crystalline and wondrously delicate account” of Boulez’s 12 Notations” was summarised as “breathtaking”.

2008 has been an important year for Fray, bringing his New York debut, his marriage (in July) and a documentary about him by distinguished filmmaker Bruno Monsaingeon. Now comes this collection of four of Bach’s six concertos for keyboard, with Fray directing the Bremen-based Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie from the piano.

The Austro-German repertoire in general is of great importance to the pianist, whose personal heritage includes Czech, Polish, Spanish, French, Finnish and Jewish strands. He has said that: 'If, over my life, I can play all the works of Bach, Mozart, Schubert, Haydn, Brahms and Schumann, then I shall be very happy!” but describes Bach as “a pinnacle; both a beginning and an end”.

‘Fray’s debut is marked by an imaginative collation, Bach and Boulez, played with vibrant imagination. He pushes the boundaries but resists the merely quirky. Impeccable technique allows him to speak from the heart with deceptive ease.’ BBC Music Magazine

“Fray's command of colour and imaginative highlighting is intoxicating, and there is a freshness which makes for indisputably rewarding listening.” BBC Music Magazine, December 2008 ****

“his intelligent phrasing and emotional language are what one would expect of a much older pianist, but they are presented with a healthy dose of Young Man vigour and fun. It is playing which carries the impression that something profound is being communicated.” Charlotte Gardner, bbc.co.uk, 22nd October 2008

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