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Guher & Suher Pekinel - Live In Concert

Pekinel,Guher & Suher / Mozart / Poulenc / Milhaud
Release Date: 11/17/2009 
Label:  Arthaus Musik   Catalog #: 101349  
Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus MozartFrancis PoulencDarius MilhaudJohannes Brahms,   ... 
Performer:  Güher PekinelSüher Pekinel
Conductor:  Sir Colin DavisMuhai Tang
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber OrchestraZurich Chamber Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

GÜHER AND SÜHER PEKINEL LIVE IN CONCERT Güher and Süher Pekinel (pns); Sir Colin Davis, cond; 1 English CO; Muhai Tang, cond; 2 Zurich CO ARTHAUS 101349 (DVD: 130:00)

MOZART Concerto in E for 2 Pianos, K 365. 1 POULENC Concerto in d Read more for 2 Pianos. 2 MILHAUD Scaramouche. BRAHMS Sonata in f for 2 Pianos. LUTOS?AWSKI Paganini Variations

It seems only natural that so many of the celebrated duo piano teams over the years have also been personally connected in some significant way: husband and wife, life partners, father and son, father and daughter, and in the case of the Pekinels, twin sisters. On this DVD, the virtue of such closeness is vividly demonstrated with such showpieces as the Milhaud Scaramouche and Lutos?awski’s brilliant Paganini Variations. The accuracy and brio of their playing of this music, which by now have become signature works for the Turkish-born women, is really impeccable. The perspective afforded by video is even more revealing, showing off remarkably similar body and hand positions, and even the same facial expressions (they both mouth the rhythms of the music in fast passages). But is such uniformity always a virtue in the four-hand repertoire? I admit, the reason I even ask the question is that I recently had the great pleasure of hearing a two-piano recital given by Richard Goode and Jonathan Biss, musicians separated in age by a generation. Goode and Biss share many esthetic values (they both studied at Curtis, Goode with Serkin and Horszowski, Biss with Fleisher), but differences in touch, phrasing and even dynamic emphasis gave their program of Schubert, Debussy, Beethoven, and Stravinsky tremendous vitality and expressive depth (these guys really need to make a recording or two!). The Pekinel sisters could use just that sort of textural variety in the Mozart and Brahms heard here, which, although very beautiful and musical, lacks the verve and style that others have brought to these scores. The Poulenc, a lovely if rather more superficial piece, is better suited to their glitter and precision.

These quibbles aside, this DVD is a superbly produced tribute to a true musical phenomenon, namely, Güher and Süher Pekinel. Both orchestras play very well, and it is always a treat to hear Sir Colin Davis conduct Mozart.

FANFARE: Peter Burwasser

This is very much a value for money DVD, with music from a variety of concert situations spanning Bach to Lutoslawski. Throughout the experience, one is continually impressed by the Pekinels’ love of this music.

The Mozart is a joy. The two pianos are one in front of the other as opposed to opposite each other - as the Labèques opted for at last year’s Proms. The bright, civilised setting of Cadogan Hall seems perfect for this life-affirming piece. Interplay is joyous, the sisters’ textbook techniques entirely at the service of style. Staccati laugh infectiously, and the accompaniment under Sir Colin is miraculously fresh. Only the first movement cadenza loses momentum. The second movement’s exchanges are well portrayed here, with one camera fading as the other pianist begins her reply to the first. The slow movement seems slower than the prescribed Andante but contains many moments of magic; the finale is stately yet with plenty of energy, and the cadenza here seems infinitely more involving than that of the first movement.

Somehow their playing puts me in mind of the LP of Mozart duets Christoph Eschenbach and Justus Frantz put together – not slavish to performance practice, yet ever striving to get to the heart of Mozart.

The New Year’s Concert 2007 from Zürich kindly places the names of the sisters over the actual people as they sit down at their respective pianos, so we know which is which. The sisters seem to be telepathically linked – in some shots you can see their mutual reactions to passages in which they both play and the synchronous nature of their facial expressions is remarkable. They enter into the spirit of the Poulenc superbly, just as much if not more so than the Labèques in this piece, and also capture the Poulenc’s magic in the slower sections. The actual picture seems grainier than the concert in London. The finale is a miracle of repeated-note articulation amid an atmosphere of positively feline play. The encore is from Milhaud’s Scaramouche, with added percussion - the maracas make it. From the pianists, it is beautifully, yet festively, played. Only the tambourinist looks mildly embarrassed.

The opening concert of the 2006 Lucerne Piano Festival (20 November 2006) featured the two piano version of the Brahms Op. 34 Piano Quintet - under the catalogue number Op. 34b, and a version which predates the work in its final form. The Pekinels give a reading that can only be described as delicious and properly Brahmsian in bass-rich sound married to careful delineation of the unfolding structure. The sheer tranquillity of the opening of the Andante, un poco adagio, is delightful, a Brahmsian rocking that soothes the soul. The contained energy that begins the finale is magnificent. A shame the final camera-pan to the back of the hall is so jerky and unprofessional.

The Lutoslawski is tremendous. Both players revel in this thorny, spiky take on the famous theme. Tremendous glissandi and a real sense of involvement make this a memorable account; presumably it was an encore.

The “extras” are interviews with the sisters and a bonus selection which is listed in the DVD menu as “Trailers”. The second movement of Rachmaninov’s “Suite No. 5” is lovely and lush without descending into mush, while Bach/Loussier is intriguing. Loussier plays minus any score, while the sisters play from carefully notated sheets. The excerpt is faded out mid-stream. Next up is the first movement of Bach’s Concerto for Two Keyboards in C minor, BWV1062 with the ECO and Davis - presumably from the same Cadogan Hall concert. It is a delightfully pointed performance, but note that the DVD menu gives this, also, as ‘arranged Loussier’!

The Vivaldi “Spring” that follows most definitely is Loussier, and great fun it is, too. Excepts from the film “Double Life” by Hanno Rinke follow - the film is in German, but subtitles are available - wherein we hear extra excerpts from the Schubert F-minor Fantasie - a beautifully moulded performance of the opening. They discuss their education in Frankfurt, and their time in Philadelphia. The film recycles excerpts already heard in the sampler and in the main body of the programme, though: Mozart and Bach/Loussier, among others. Gershwin’s Second Prelude is seen performed on a smoky stage. The Pekinels’ project for young people is also mentioned.. A short Bach trailer produced by Abdullah Oguz at the Byzantine Cistern, Istanbul - beautifully and intriguingly filmed - rounds off the extras.

The packaging for this release leaves something to be desired. Card covers will fray easily, and even though the bonus is that this approach takes up less shelf space, it somehow feels second division. Nevertheless, recommended.

-- Colin Clarke, MusicWeb International



Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Concerto for 2 Pianos in E flat major, K. 365

Güher and Süher Pekinel, pianos
English Chamber Orchestra
Colin Davis, conductor

Recorded live from Cadogan Hall, London, 2007


Francis Poulenc: Concerto for 2 Pianos in D minor
Darius Milhaud: Scaramouche, Op. 165b: III. Brazileira

Güher and Süher Pekinel, pianos
Zurich Chamber Orchestra
Muhai Tang, conductor

Recorded live at the Tonhalle Zurich, 2007


Johannes Brahms: Sonata for 2 Pianos in F minor, Op. 34bis
Witold Lutos?awski: Variations on a Theme by Paganini

Güher and Süher Pekinel, piano

Recorded live from the Lucerne Piano Festival, 2006


Interview with Güher and Süher Pekinel

London 2009, directed by Oliver Becker

Bonus features:
- Excerpts from music by Rachmaninov, J.S. Bach (with Jacques Loussier Trio) and Vivaldi
- Trailer with concert and interview excerpts of the portrait by Hanno Rinke
- Bach and Jazz - Güher and Süher Pekinel with Jacques Loussier

Picture format: NTSC 16:9
Sound format: PCM Stereo
Region code: 0 (worldwide)
Subtitles: English, German, French, Spanish, Turkish
Running time: 85 mins (concerts) + 45 mins (interview and bonus)
No. of DVDs: 1 (DVD 9)
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Works on This Recording

Concerto for 2 Pianos in E flat major, K 365 (316a) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Güher Pekinel (Piano), Süher Pekinel (Piano)
Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1779; Salzburg, Austria 
Concerto for 2 Pianos in D minor by Francis Poulenc
Performer:  Güher Pekinel (Piano), Süher Pekinel (Piano)
Conductor:  Muhai Tang
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Zurich Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1932; France 
Scaramouche, Op. 165b: no 3, Brazileira by Darius Milhaud
Performer:  Güher Pekinel (Piano), Süher Pekinel (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1937; France 
Sonata for 2 Pianos in F minor, Op. 34b by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Güher Pekinel (Piano), Süher Pekinel (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1864; Austria 
Variations on a theme of Paganini for 2 Pianos by Witold Lutoslawski
Performer:  Güher Pekinel (Piano), Süher Pekinel (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1941; Poland 

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