Tweens merge together without eye contact,
Piano-Festival: Shining stars, Güher and Süher Pekinel duo

Gerda Neunhoeffer, November 2017

Piano duo Güher and Süher Pekinel convinced with their intuitive interplay at the KKL-Concert Hall. On the world’s stages for 40 years with a comprehensive repertoire, they now play in a very particular and unusual positioning: no longer facing one another, but rather at slightly offset grand pianos, staggered one behind the other, without any eye contact.

First, they played Mozart’s fourhanded “Fantasia for Mechanical Organ” in F minor with softly entwined ornaments. Later, for the Fugue in C minor, K. 426 and the Sonata for Two Pianos in D major, K. 448, they then took their places at both pianos – and yet they played the precisely phrased themes with instinctive certainty – even  melting delays sounded together.

In Claude Debussy’s “En blanc et noir” (In black and white) for two pianos, they displayed an unmistakable feeling for Debussy’s changing sensitivities between impetuous chords and lightly flowing runs. The first movement is titled “Avec emportement” (with fury); this feeling came clearly to expression, but was withdrawn again and again and cleared into fine cascades of sound. In the second movement a bell-like melody swung aloft darker depths; it came to expression alternating in both pianos and wove into ever-denser sounds. In the Scherzando, the partly grotesque and partly song-like themes blended to a mysterious root, from which crystalline tones lightet out.

With its Anadalusian dance rhythms, Manuel Infante’s (1882-1958) “Sentimiento” was played at the Lucerne Festival for the first time and effectively was the preparation for Maurice Ravel’s “Rapsodie espagnole” (Spanish Rhapsody). Here, Güher and Süher Pekinel’s orchestrally configured richness of sound showed to particular advantage. Filigree drew the floating runs from one keyboard to the other; the rhythms coalesced impressionistically tender and intensified into dancing ecstasy. And after a long applause, the audience were once again bid farewell virtuosically with Lutoslawski’s Variations on a theme of Paganini.