AS part of the ongoing festival celebrating Japan 2001, Malvern Concert Club presented the young pianist Noriko Ogawa in recital.

The first half of the programme was devoted to compositions of Debussy and affirmed his many expressive timbres.

In the cycle Estampes, Ogawa brought prominence to the subdued left hand theme in Jardins sous la pluie, enhanced by finely rippling right-hand decoration.

Mouvement in Images, set 1 was incessant, then the last notes were cut off suddenly.

In Poissons d'or (Goldfish) of Images, set 2, inspiration had been given to Debussy from a Japanese lacquer depiction of koi carp. Not surprisingly, this brought Ogawa's clearest insight to bear, with evocation of warmth and the flashing fish movement, in ripples of ecstasy.

Les Yeux Clos II by Takemitsu (born in Tokyo in 1930) made much of a four-note sequence in the left hand, recurring often, in varying registers. There was an attractive echo effect, combined with bare chords and brash spasms of inconclusive sound.

Pictures at an Exhibition by Mussorgsky was delivered with assured technical prowess and substantial power (unexpectedly so, for such a small framed pianist). Ballet of the Chicks in their Shells was touched with delicate flippancy and Limoges: the Market rushed along, moving step by step. Climactically The Great Gate of Kiev was achieved with elan.

The encore, Debussy's Clair de Lune, was the most beautifully atmospheric playing of the evening.