Last Friday's recital at the Jacqueline du Pré Music Building was a welcome opportunity to hear the French pianist Bernard d'Ascoli. The programme included works by four 19th-century contemporaries who between them revolutionised music for the piano and, in their different ways, transformed the sound world of the instrument.

First we heard Schumann's Kinderszenen op15 - a sequence of concentrated miniatures reflecting a range of moods from the boisterous and portentous to the contemplative and dreamy. Schumann packs an immense amount into each of these brief movements. d'Ascoli's intelligent playing captured nicely the character of each piece and the ever-shifting mood.

Two pieces by Liszt followed, offering a complete contrast in style. The opening passages of Les Jeux d'Eaux à la Villa d'Este is magically evocative of water gushing from a fountain. D'Ascoli conveyed the contemplative quality of the work with freshness and conviction. The second piece, La Leggierezza, with a similarly poetic colouring, displayed equally accomplished technique.

Mendelssohn's Variations Serieuses op 54 completed the first half of the concert. A four-part chorale-like theme provides the material on which this work is based. The sober tone of the music and the backward nods to Bach and Beethoven offered yet a further counterpoint in style.

The second half of the programme was devoted to Chopin - the Ballade No1, five of the Études and the Polonaise op 53. d'Ascoli is well known as an interpreter of Chopin's music. His 2005 recording of the Nocturnes on the Athene-Minerva label was selected as an Editor's Choice by Gramophone magazine and certainly stands comparison with other performances on disc.

D'Ascoli's playing is muscular and impassioned. At times I found this a little heavy. For example, the Ballade seemed rather mannered and constrained, and I would have like more spring in the rhythms of the middle section of the Polonaise. The audience, however, was attentive and enthusiastic, and d'Ascoli played two encores - a Prelude by Debussy (Minstrels) and a Prelude by Chopin. Those who missed the concert might judge d'Ascoli's playing themselves by buying the CD.