Perth Festival

Pascal and Ami Roge

Perth Concert Hall

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Keith Bruce

four stars

THE 150th birthday aural biography of Erik Satie on Radio Three's Composer of the Week – still available online – showed just how little of this individual talent's work we ever hear. Pascal and Ami Roge not only helped address that on Monday evening, they also played music by each of his disciples in "Les Six" and set all them in the wider context of French music of the era by including Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel as well.

If that sounds like a weighty evening, the reality was anything but. In fact there was something charmingly domestique about the way the couple went about the task, arriving and leaving the stage hand in hand to share the intimacy of four hands on Perth's fine Steinway. Satie's ballet score, Parade, set the template, her powerful stride left hand and his Monk-like chords making clear the cross-genre traffic of the 20th century. The more familiar Gnossienne No2, 1st Gymnopedie and song Je te veux, Pascal played solo, but Satie's wryly-named six-part Trois morceaux en forme de poire was a duo delight.

Elsewhere the couple swapped roles, Ami supplying the melodic flourishes on Ravel's Mother Goose suite and having the upper hand again for the funky finish of Poulenc's duet Sonata. Hearing the more familiar melodies of Debussy's Petite Suite in this form, or the modernist Orientalism of Germaine Tailleferre, the only female and longest-lived of the group, were other highlights of a superbly constructed and beautifully played programme.

Perth's festival may now be broader in scope, but this return visit by an old friend – with his partner this time – proved that classical music is still at its heart.