Famous French concert pianist performs in Melrose

French concert pianist Bernard D'ascoli
French concert pianist Bernard D'ascoli

Bernard d’Ascoli will give a concert of Romantic music in the Melrose Parish Church Hall on Friday, January 13, at 7.30pm.

Praised by the Guardian as ‘one of the major pianists of his generation’, d’Ascoli, originally from Provence, developed a passion for classical music at the age of 11 and learned to play both piano and organ at 19.

At this age he won first prize at the Barcelona International Piano Competition and, later, third prize at the Leeds Competition.

After his London debut, and making his first recording with EMI, he performed across the world and in many international festivals. As founder and artistic director of Piano Cantabile, he is active in coaching and supporting highly-gifted young pianists in France.

The concert, entitled ‘From Darkness to Light’, includes Liszt’s Ballade No. 2 in B minor and his Benediction de Dieu dans la Solitude, one of ten ‘Harmonies poétiques et religieuses.’

Liszt, the 19th century Hungarian-born virtuoso pianist and composer, better known for his romantic music, was also a Tertiary Franciscan and composed several religious works.

Chopin’s Ballades are amongst the most challenging pieces in the piano repertoire and unique to Liszt’s contemporary.

No. 2 in F major was composed whilst Chopin was living in Majorca with writer Amantine-Lucile-Aurore Dupin, better known by her pseudonym, Georges Sand.

This will be followed by Franck’s Prélude, Chorale and Fugue and Ravel’s Valses nobles et sentimentales.

The concert concludes with Debussy’s L’Isle Joyeuse. Like Chopin, Debussy spent time on an island with his love, Emma Bardac, this time the Island of Jersey in the Channel Islands, and the piece provides a fitting joyous climax for a concert filled with 19th and 20th century romanticism.

Tickets at the door: £12. Free for accompanied children. For more information visit www. melrosemusicsociety.org.uk.