Güher & Süher Pekinel In Concert
Michael Wersin, 10.11.2014
Béla Bartók, Franz Schubert, Claude Debussy, Johannes Brahms, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Witold Lutosławski,Francis Poulenc, Darius Milhaud
Twin sisters Güher and Süher Pekinel, born in 1953 and initially taught by their mother before receiving international training, form one of today’s most interesting piano duos: Their communication is so instinctual on the two pianos that the grand pianos are not arranged according to the usual Yin-Yang principle, where they can look into each other’s faces. More often than not, they make music – and you can marvel at this on the DVD – facing in the same direction, placing their instruments in a staggered position, so as one can only see the other’s back, while the other can’t see the other at all.
At the 2010 Ludwigsburger Music Festival, the duo succeeded in giving a passionate concert, increasing in its intensity, in exactly this position: If they initially play somewhat cautiously with Schubert’s “Fantasie in F Minor” on a single piano, it’s immediately followed by Mozart’s “Sonata in D Major” in which they present themselves with remarkable virtuosity on two pianos (and correct those who hold that Mozart no longer constitutes a technical challenge for the base 19th century repertoire). Their performance of Claude Debussy’s “In Black and White” and Poulenc’s “Elegy” carries a fascinating tonal magic and in Lutosławski’s “Paganini Variations,” the twins almost unleash themselves.
Bartók’s “Concerto for Two Pianos, Percussion, and Orchestra,” which they recreated live under the direction of Zubin Mehta in Florence in 2012, is performed by the Pekinel’s in an equally commanding manner; The piece is devilishly difficult.
The listener can choose between both CD and DVD versions, and those who opt for the DVD additionally receive at least a part of the program as a Bonus-Disc with better sound quality.
For this reason, this reviewer prefers the DVD option, as through their symbiotic understanding on stage, the Pekinel’s always provide a visual treat, as well.