Notes and Editorial Reviews
“D’Ascoli brings you as close to Chopin’s intentions as could be possible..."
R E V I E W S:
“Since winning the Barcelona Competition in 1978, the blind French pianist Bernard d’Ascoli has had an active career...His recordings have been regrettably few, however, though they have included impressive accounts of the Liszt Sonata, Schumann’s Carnaval and Chopin’s four Ballades. Recently he has added Schumann’s
Piano Quintet and the present Chopin disc; and a complete set of
Nocturnes will follow.
He obviously has a strong affinity for Chopin’s music and much of the playing on this disc – especially of the Scherzos – reminded me of Rubinstein’s and Ax’s. He shares their directness of approach, firm rhythm, tonal refinement and judicious use of rubato. Textures are clear, melodies are shaped with a singer’s sense of line, and inner voices are handled with subtlety... D’Ascoli’s well-rounded technique meets every demand of the Scherzos, from the spiky brilliance of No.1 to the bravura octaves of No.3 and the light filigree of No.4. Although he provides plenty of drive and drama when needed (especially in Nos.2 and 3) I find that he makes a lasting impression in the more lyrical moments. The breadth and colour he brings to those passages in Nos.3 and 4 is exceptional, and it’s done with dignity and inner strength, with no hint of sentimentality or fussiness. He also has a fine sense of structure, pacing the transition passages notably well, especially those that lead into the codas. The Impromptus round out this impressive disc with an ideal combination of flexibility and elegance, the variety of sound and mood in No.2 being especially notable. I eagerly await this pianist’s account of the Nocturnes."
– Charles Timbrell, INTERNATIONAL RECORD REVIEW
“D’Ascoli brings you as close to Chopin’s intentions as could be possible... Soak in Bernard d’Ascoli’s delight in flinging his deft fingers into dramatic bouts of virtuosity, yet never losing the overall shape and purpose of the musical architecture.” – Denby Richards, Musical Opinion
“Solid, stylish and communicative mastery.” – Jed Distler, Gramophone
“Measures up very well, with the notes seeming to glow.” – Michael Church, The Independent
“Impressive sound, fine technique, and unfailing musical values.” – Becker, American Record Guide
Also Available - Bernard d'Ascoli's Complete Chopin Nocturnes
“This ranks among the most remarkable of Chopin Nocturne recordings…such bold and declamatory playing is never less than enlivening, positively forbidding the listener to sink into complacency or repose...performances of a living, breathing presence...The recordings are vivid and immediate" - THE GRAMOPHONE
Works on This Recording
Scherzo No. 1 in B minor, Op. 20
Scherzo No. 2 in B flat minor, Op. 31
Scherzo No. 3 in C sharp minor, Op. 39
Scherzo No. 4 in E major, Op. 54
Impromptu No. 1 in A flat major, Op. 29
Impromptu No. 2 in F sharp major, Op. 36
Impromptu No. 3 in G flat major, Op. 51
Fantasy-Impromptu in C sharp minor, Op. 66
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