„The audience immediately recognised: The two pianists at the grand piano perform in dreamlike harmony, radiating synchronicity in movement and interaction within well defined roles and almost tangible closeness and intimacy. From the outset, with Chopin’s theme and variations on a Lied by Moore they proved their tonal unity, their fantastic capacity to emphasize dynamically and demonstrated an excellent sensitivity of stroke.
… The Walachowski’s play scintillated alternatively with passion, dramatic blaze and, very pointedly, rhythmicity to be again interrupted with yearning and smoothing melos.
Anna & Ines thanked their audience for the long applause with a ravishingly dynamic counter dance by the Polish composer Moniuszko whose counter dances they also recorded on CD”.
It is not only the bloodline as sisters that links Anna & Ines Walachowski as a piano duo, but very much also their exceptionally gifted and graceful dreamwalk-like play.
During the overture they switched spheres from a surreal dreamlike mood to playful charms and mocking „puck“ hops of the Shakespearian play here so congeniously set to music. Both pianists mastered the fleeting leggiero passages as a cheerful technical challenge. In their interpretation of the piano version by Mendelssohn, the Walachowski duo captured much of the dreamlike sphere of the orchestral score.
Equally sense filling the three selected movements of the splendid piano version of Tchaikovsky’s sleeping beauty suite by Rachmaninoff, where the grand piano in the adagio figuratively conceived an exalted ballet of action and enchanted an intimate tableau with panoramic sense. The magnificent melody of the valse unfolded with furore.
The Walachowskis convinced with vivid musical sense, refined arrangement and noble tonality… this will certainly not be the last concert with the charming duo in Erlangen.“
„The piano concerto by Carl Czerny for four hands is original and unbearably virtuous. Unearthed by the theatre of Altenburg-Gera, Anna & Ines Walachowski took care of the solo part of the piece. It is really the only way one should hear it. The mere thought that a good half hour of neck-breaking trill figurations might be performed in a less precise and sparkling manner is a frightening one.
Reassuringly however, the Walachowski sisters approach the sagely fanciful squiggles with technical brilliance and musical intellect.
Thus, an entertaining season-opening concert is guaranteed.“
DRESDENER NEUESTE NACHRICHTEN
„Their play is flawlessly cast from a single mould. We perceive their play vivaciously and barely folkloric within the Hungarian Dances by Brahms, then again charmingly, luxuriously and warm-heartedly with Fauré and Tchaikovsky. Their play is never boring and diffuse, always leaving enough space for moments of improvisation. This is only accomplished, however, because each of the two pianists always exactly senses what her partner intends to do next, leaving the audience with the impression of listening to a four handed musician’s play.“
They came, performed and were rapturously acclaimed. The young Polish pianists Anna and Ines Walachowski, a piano duo of musical superlatives. They switched tempi with compelling equanimity and effortless accuracy. Four hands seemed to be flying over the keyboard in furious ease, above or below each other, not only in manual accordance but as if emanating from a single spirit or carried by a single breath. Whether in inspired lyric passages or in a firework of sparkling cascades of sound, the duo always succeeded in enchanting and convincing with an ever changing abundance of colourfully capturing interpretations, made the piano resound and fulminate with peak levels of culture in stroke and unfolded touchingly beautiful or passionately eruptive instants in many moments of joy, and exuberance.“
„The performances by the Polish sisters Anna & Ines Walachowki combine unbounded sparkling virtuosity, genuine ease, vitality and enormous musicality. As a piano duo they have long since made their mark with almost a dozen recordings and they still enchant their audience with their delicate, elegant and sensitive play, their wealth of sensibility seems unfailing and their interplay convinces with almost dreamlike aplomb and homogeneity of sound that could not be excelled.“
„Here the audience meets with natural ease and stylistic credibility instead of ostentatious and eccentric piano play. Even more so: The most recent recording of the piano duo Anna & Ines Walachowski with works by Brahms, Fauré, Tchaikovsky and Stanislaw Moniuszko is a stimulating experience as much for the attractive choice of repertoire (…), as for their performance that sparkles with vitality.
The interpretation of a selection of Brahms‘ Hungarian Dances by the sisters is characterised by love of adventure and great aesthesia and inventiveness that absolutely bears up against any comparison with recordings by the Kontarsky duo, the Labèque duo or the duo Tal & Groethuysen. Neither of the pianists lacks anything, not temperament, not sparkling rhythmic arrangement and not warmth or melodic sensibility. In the dances no. 2 (d-minor) and no. 7 (A-major) elegance, suppleness and energy unite; to me, the seriousness, exuberance and mesmerizing motion of dance no. 5 (f sharp minor) are represented with almost magical manual and emotional harmony just as the yearning romanticism and the elfish aspect of the seemingly inconspicuous dance no. 20 (e-minor).
The charming, almost fragile and beautiful Dolly suite op. 56 by Gabriel Fauré, at times dance-like and at times dreamy, shows how sensitively the two Polish pianists harmonise in rhythm, dynamics and melody.
Here the Walachowskis seduce us with lyric charm and sensuality. Even in the adaption of the Sleeping Beauty they succeed in rendering striking images of sound and character in line with a fascinating sense of order reflected in a masterful modelling of progression of individual voices, exemplary within the enthusiastic Pas d’action.
Last but not least, the six Counter dances by Stanislaw Moniuszko (1819-1872), the founder of the Polish national opera: performed by Anna & Ines Walachowski those seemingly harmless petitesses emerge as enchanting treasures full of esprit and wit.
Even if this sounds rather worn out and uninspired: this recording is simply magnificent in every respect.
KLASSIK HEUTE, CHRISTOF JETSCHKE
(…) Both musicians insist on a luxurious piano sound which puts the instrument in the limelight while the opus stays behind. In the stage version of Shakespeare’s „A Midsummer Night‘s Dream“, the elves buzz through the forest, upset by the fight between their sovereigns Oberon and Titania.
(…) In the interpretation by the Walachowski sisters the wonderfully silent notturno that sets the forestal sound apart from the other movements becomes an aesthetic calm anchor amidst the other movements that are quite agitated.
(…) Right from the start the graceful pianists mesmerised the audience with Robert Schumann’s “Pictures from the East”. No sooner than that, they dedicated themselves to F. Chopins less well known and extremely wild “Tarantella”, subsequently switching from his second more dreamlike Grande Valse Brillante op. 34 to the sparkling third waltz of their compatriot. The audience acknowledged the four waltzes of Chopin with long applause and bravos before being ultimately enchanted by the sisters with Maurice Ravels Bolero. (…)
Their most recent recording offers duo play at its very best. They have performed the compositions before on various occasions which shows both in the homogeneity of their interaction as well as in the spontaneity of approach, impressing one with the intense feel of a live performance. The Hungarian Dances by Brahms and Moniuszko‘s Conter dances – a true rarity – present themselves as incredibly elastic and light-footed compositions while the sound of the piano remains nimble and transparent in the densest of passages. This level of quality also marks Rachmaninov’s transcription of the Nutcracker suite. Its waltzing melodic charm elates the audience with gleaming sound.
The duo seems even more immersed in the refined musical art of Gabriel Fauré. The sparingly arranged lines of the Dolly-Suite are, in any case, drawn with great sensibility and create the impression of a carefully chiselled sequence of images of childhood days, bringing as much joy to the grownup child’s as to the music lover’s soul.
ROBERT NEMECEK, PIANO NEWS
(…) The Walachowski sisters, without putting themselves intrusively in the limelight, convince us with their always perfect and free interplay. Their play is so much in tune that it makes you believe you are listening to one single pianist instead of a piano duo. The impression comes easily as you lose yourself rapidly in the music and cease wondering how a single person could make a piano sound this way all by him or herself. Conscious, however, of this fact, one realizes from the very beginning of this recording: these are two musicians playing thick as thieves.
(…) Although these two siblings have played as a duo for years now, luckily enough there is no routine: At any moment their play is exciting. Anna & Ines Walachowski will not get lost in their own virtuosity, but instead leave ample space for their music to unfold in free presentation.
(…) The pianists‘ extreme harmony of articulation and dynamics, the ensemble of effervescent temper and care for detail captivates once more in the concert for two pianos and orchestra in E-major by the fourteen year old Mendelssohn as well as in Francis Poulenc’s concerto in d-minor for the same orchestration. True in style, Mendelssohn’s concert vibrates more softly, while its counterpart, written 109 years later, at times resounds with percussion-like rigour. Both works, however, sound sculptural and entertaining in the recording of the beautiful sisters.
FRANKFURTER ALLGEMEINE ZEITUNG
(…) And this is how they play: in a highly civilised and spirited manner, never boring, not for a minute. Mozart’s sonata in D-major KV448 achieves a sparkling vitality in a play of suggestive spiritedness characterising the perfect jeu perlé which both of them have skilfully mastered and demonstrate so aptly. Each run is mastered by both with fully controlled energy and exciting up to the last demiquaver, repetitions and florid passages are never performed the same way but conceived as question and answer, as aperçus and effortlessly dropped annotations, coloured with minimal detentions and nuanced accents. Thus, indeed, a highly intelligent dialogue is created which maintains a faint melancholic overtone despite all leggerezza.
The Mozart performed by the Walachowskis is a very personal one, yet comes across as vividly authentic.
So much in fact, that at times it reminds of the Mozart interpretation sung by Elisabeth Schwarzkopf or by the young Lucia Popp.
A Mozart interpretation which in its élégance is not likely rivalled at present.
NORBERT ELY, DEUTSCHLANDFUNK
(..) They are very good, these two attractive-looking young women, one blonde, the other brunette. They seem to have unlimited technique, they use a very wide dynamic palette, they have oodles of temperament and unfaltering rhythm.
We will be hearing from them again.
HAROLD C. SCHONBERG,
AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE