Magazine article Musical Opinion

Dominique Merlet at Leighton House

Magazine article Musical Opinion

Dominique Merlet at Leighton House

Article excerpt

Arapturous reception was accorded the piano recital by the French pianist Dominique Merlet at a capacity-filled Leighton House on 18 May. Merlet, erstwhile winner of the Geneva Competition with many award-winning recordings to his credit, and a distinguished pedagogue, has perhaps received less exposure to British audiences than he warrants. His stimulating programme, presented in tandem by the Beethoven Piano Society of Europe and the West London Chapter of the UK branch of EPTA, of which he is European President, well demonstrated his many qualities, a rich tonal palette, highly structured interpretations and dexterity. In the French works of the second half particularly, he elicited luxuriant tableaux of texture and colour, more reminiscent of Bolet and Perlmutter and far removed from the often cautious and delicate approach to this repertoire.

His majestic account of Brahms's Variations on a Theme by Handel evinced a masterly control of large scale tension and architecture, each variation building up to or contrasted with its neighbour, and strikingly portrayed, in turn powerful, vital, or inwardly lyrical. if the rich orchestral textures sometimes became slightly thick in the bass, this was a small price for the sheer beauty of tone in the melodic textures and lucid harmonic felicities. The Sicilienne, lively in tempo, were crowned by the magisterial Fugue, which climaxed in splendid stretto with thrilling inverted pedal points that never obscured the main thematic thrust of the work. Earlier we heard Merlet's intrepid and dramatic account of Beethoven's Opus 10 no. …

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