La Marseillaise

One does not need, inevitably, to go far to seek talented soloists. The pianist Bernard d’ Ascoli was born in Aubagne (where he still resides), and studied in Marseilles with Perre Barbizet. Prize winner of the Marguerite Long Chopin competition in Warsaw, preceded on Barcelona and Leeds, Bernard d’ Ascoli imposed himself, initially on the other side of the channel, then on the international scene: Vienna, Amsterdam, Sydney, Tokyo, Montreal… Whilst he played at the Festival of the Castling of Anthéron or “Harmed pianistic”, the artist does not have in France and especially in our area, the recognition which he deserves. We know in addition that he directs, also in Aubagne, a school of vocational training (Cantabile Piano) intended for the young high level pianists wishing to improve, and prepare for competitions. Hearing these two Chopin CDs, one is struck by the apparent simplicity of the style, the flexibility, the clearness and the well-phrased breathing. Where others rely strongly on exuberant digital percussions, or, contrary, effect a musical language requiring a minimum of flame and of emphasis, Bernard d’ Ascoli presents a climate based on balance, elegance, halfway between necessary virtuosity and an intimate sobriety. The Scherzos have what it is necessary of heroic spirit and expressive frisson, the Impromptus of smoothness and lyricism, the Nocturnes of melancholy grace. A very beautiful pianistic work, which from the start invites one naturally to praise!

—J.F.