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Eblouissant d'Ascoli !

ZIBELINE, décembre 2011

DAZZLING D'ASCOLI Listening to a recital of Bernard d'Ascoli is a memorable experience, not only because of the moving ritual due to his blindness- he is led to the piano, then measures the precise distance from the keyboard, powders his fingers, listens as if hovering above the silent audience, and finally plunges into each work. Nor even because the performance is exceptional for a blind person (not one missed note even in the most virtuoso passages), but quite simply because he is a great pianist. In his recital given at the Toursky theatre, Marseille, on 7 December, works by Liszt provided the core of a very well-conceived programme which was enhanced by his profound and virtuoso interpretations of Beethoven's visionary Sonata opus 111 and the 4th Ballade of Chopin, Liszt's life-long friend. But it was above all the sumptuous sonorities unfurled in Bénédiction de dieu dans la solitude and les jeux d'eaux à la villa d'Este of Liszt that conquered the audience, the ardour and pathos of these two key works of the Romantic period being masterfully conveyed, as did the more tender or virtuoso encores he accorded them after rapturous ovations… Jacques Freschel



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