Home Recordings Biography Clips Reviews
 
Reviews/Composer Comments
 
“As a pianist David Francis can do anything. He hits the right notes with the right tone at the right time. (What more can you ask of any performer?) And with this, he adds that indefinable element of himself, which is the magic of all true interpreters”.
    Ned Rorem
    Pulitzer Prize Winner for Music
    New York City, New York
“Your CD of my Etudes is among my most valuable possessions. Your performance of the Etudes is caring, correct and personal. There’s nothing I’d want to say to change them”.
    Ned Rorem
    Pulitzer Prize Winner for Music
    New York City, New York
"David Troy Francis is an exciting and authoritative performer - he has a combination of virtuosity and musical understanding that allows a composer’s thought to shine through.  His album The Americans is a recording event, not only for his hair - raising premiere of Ned Rorem’s Etudes, but also for the impassioned readings he gives of the other works on the CD, including my own Gargoyles.  American music needs more pianists like him”.
    Lowell Liebermann, Composer
    New York City, New York
“David Troy Francis is a modern pianist. He’s performed Rachmaninoff on electronic keyboards. He’s about to record a CD of works by living American composers including Ned Rorem. His Pieces of My Childhood looks back on the hymns of his Southern Baptist childhood from an adult’s perspective: You hear nostalgia, beauty and inspiration, but you also hear re-imaginings, tinges of dissonance, complete reharmonizations behind simple melodies. Maybe a better word than modern is immediate - if he’s playing something, you know it means a lot to him right now. Tonight, in addition to the neoclassical music he’s known for interpreting, Francis will dig into Gershwin (Preludes and Rhapsody in Blue). Whatever he does, you’ll hear it in a new way. This is the first in a series of Tuesday-night piano performances at Rocco, and rather special in that you get to hear a concert pianist in a club setting”. (also Wednesday).
    Greg Burk
    Los Angeles, California
    LA Weekly
“For the socially minded, the inexhaustibly quotable composer Ned Rorem once defined concerts as 'that which surrounds intermission'. Well, David Troy Francis’ piano recital Sunday afternoon had no intermission and it did have Rorem; confounding for stray socialites, no doubt, but a double blessing for the rest of his attentive audience at the Neighborhood Church in Pasadena.
The local pianist’s compact program was consistently absorbing, whether in lyrical repose or propulsive fury. There was plenty of both alternating in Rorem’s Eight Etudes, composed in 1975, the year before he won the Pulitzer Prize for music. The spare textures and warm sonorities of the slow music seem quite characteristic, reminiscent of some of the composer’s best known songs while suggesting something French, particularly Satie or Messiaen.

The toccata-like tempests however, sound vaguely Russian-Shostakovich or Prokofiev, perhaps. Which may be only to say that Rorem is a typical American chameleon, open to myriad influences but still somehow elusively yet identifiably personal.

Francis had all aspects of this protean music well in hand, and these are indeed daunting technical studies. Francis also had them well in mind, playing from memory throughout the recital, a level of commitment seldom found these days among even the most aggressive champions of contemporary music.

Lowell Liebermann’s Gargoyles, a four-movement suite from 1989, exhibits similar qualities of intense physicality and clarity. Francis possessed the control for the delicate song of the Adagio, the wit for the teasing Allegro and the athleticism for the framing Prestos.

Michael Boustead’s classically jazzy little Prelude No. 1 -think Chopin at Le Club Hot-and Tobias Picker’s austerely poignant Old and Lost Rivers, played with tender care, completed the program. Francis offered his own gently elaborated version of the hymn What a Friend We Have in Jesus from his Pieces of My Childhood album as an encore”.

    John Henken
    Los Angeles, California
    Los Angeles Times
“Your Rachmaninoff rings clear and true”.
    Ned Rorem
    Pulitzer Prize Winner for Music
    New York City, New York
"Listened to your CD (The Americans) again today. It's first rate pianism. Exceptional music making. Bravo to you!!!"
    Robert Edward Thies
    Concert Pianist
    II International Prokovief Competition Gold Medal Winner
    Los Angeles, CA
"This delightful disc (Elves in the Piano), self-produced by Los Angeles-based pianist/composer David Troy Francis, fast moves beyond the classical style of its opening selection, J.S. Bach's Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring, to offer jazz, blues, and stride-influenced arrangements of classic Christmas tunes. There's a delightful, upbeat quality to Francis' arrangements that cannot fail to bring a smile to the listener. On only one occasion - a particularly grandiose The First Noel that at its climax sounds as though Christ himself has arisen from the keyboard - does Francis go overboard. But he more than redeems himself with the subsequent I Saw Three Ships, in which he becomes so playful as to suggest a melding of Ring around the Rosy and Three Blind Mice.

Recorded by Jennifer Nash, this homegrown effort boasts neither the sonic splendor nor instrumental richness heard on some commercial discs. Yet Francis offers a level of freshness rarely encountered on more widely distributed recordings."
    Jason Serinus
    Music Critic
    San Francisco, CA
"Los Angeles-based David Francis, a frequent composer for television, is known for his championing of 20th century piano music and his frequent collaborations with gay writer/poet Gavin Dillard. The handsome Francis has even earned the accolade expert pianist from two-time Pulitzer Prize winning composer Ned Rorem. (Francis promises a future CD of previously unrecorded 20th century American piano compositions, including the debut recording of Ned Rorem’s Eight Etudes).

Francis herein offers arrangements of 12 hymns he learned as a child born in Memphis. While the tracks, including What a Friend We Have in Jesus, Sweet Hour of Prayer, and Amazing Grace, are meant to reflect the nostalgic yet bittersweet memories of Francis’ Baptist upbringing, the sweetness of a lovely, fluid touch and a sensitive soul predominate. Only Trust Him does have its share of irony, and Blessed Assurance, Jesus is Mine its force, but as the Precious Lord takes Francis’ hands in a jazzy manner, one senses that the pianist has, in many ways, made peace with his upbringing. This is an easy-to-listen-to CD that can provide perfect accompaniment to a hazy afternoon or mellow evening. It can certainly warm the heart and sweeten one’s day.

Francis plays a Steinway, digitally recorded at close range without equalization or signal processing. While the engineer has curiously put the bass notes on the left and the treble on the right, the flow of the music comes through abundantly clear."

    Jason Serinus
    Music Critic
    San Francisco, CA
 
 
Home  |  Recordings  |  Biography  |  Clips  |  Reviews
 
Website Design by Paula
PjEaston & Associates
for optimal enjoyment, please equip your browser with these plug-ins
Get Quicktime Get Real Player Get Flash Player
Copyright © 2016, all rights reserved
Barbarian Records, David Troy Franics