“The Pianists”– published by Bärenreiter

October 2013

There are more than a few siblings-partners among famous piano duos in the past and the present – the Kontarskys, the Paratores, and Labèques, just to name a few of them. As twins, Güher and Süher Pekinel are an exceptional duo even among those; without the special closeness of relationship, as the both sisters have underlined quite often, could have discharged them from working as hard for their art as other duos with a more different genome-structure.

When the Pekinels started to give concerts in the 1970’s in Germany, their playing immediately fascinated not only due to their perfect synchronism and homogeneity, which manifested itself also on a pianistically impressive high level, but through a determined own character. The special characteristics of their play are a slender, sensitive nuanced tonality and a transparent overall-sound which gives their music very clear contours. A distinctive sense of form forbids them ductile “romantic” rummage in sounds, brutish pedal-effects or uncontrolled exhaustion of dynamic on the account of the formal rounding.  In fact, their art of a racy pointed or sensitive tracing of musical sequences was highly developed from the very beginning.

The repertoire of the Pekinel-Sisters includes, beyond of the four-handed and two-piano standards of Bach, Schubert and Brahms, Ravel and Bartók – contains rarities such as the concerto of Max Bruch; they also groom the wide spectrum of Encores and the virtuous arrangements such as the versions for two pianos of Liszt’s “Mephisto’s Waltzes” and dances of Bernstein’s “Westside Story”. And as musicians who have a sense for sophisticated presentation they also like it to take part at crossover-experiments.

From their recordings for “Deutsche Grammophon” who contracted the Duo in 1980, their four-handed performance of Stravinsky’s Sacre is certainly the one which protrudes. Nikolaus Deckenbrock commented that Güher and Süher Pekinel had not even made an attempt to imitate orchestral effects on the piano or to present the music as a rhythmical “primal experience”. Instead of this, they “betted predominantly on the transparency, but also on the ability to play the rhythms resiliently … Vitality is highlighted”, the music would be a “fascinating play with piano colours”, sounding as if it could be “drawn with a feather”.
In the early CD era, the great Bartók-Sonata and the Mozart Complete Recording, whose racy-sprinkling but never belittling musical qualities, emphasized their Teldec recordings. Furthermore, a full recording series of striking scores of the semi-classical field – up to the Project “Take Bach” arose, where they came together with French Jazz Pianist Jacques Loussier. Bach-Concertos followed firstly in the new Millennium and the version for two-pianos of the F-minor-Quintet of Brahms, which are imaginable outstanding through the ensemble of a sensualistic, agravic piano-playing and rhythm.