“One particularly appreciates the smoothness and the playful intimacy of the Nutcracker Suite.… It shines with the spirit of childhood, without superficiality, with variety of attack and a measured pedal…. One admires the immediate engagement of the two soloists, their perfect complementarity. They demonstrate contrasts and a flawless technique, which advances with determination and a definite panache while avoiding overstatement. Very few interpreters manage to balance subtlety with nervous tension…. This disc offers a beautiful voyage in Russian post-romantic music.”
Stéphane Friédérich, Classica Repertoire (France)
“The duo worked wonders and makes this music fascinating to listen to.”
Frédéric Platzer, ResMusica (France)
Per Tengstrand and Shan-shan Sun started performing together in 2003. AS man solo pianists, they thought of two-piano playing in the terms of "how hard can it be?". They soon discovered that two-piano playing requires precision and flexibility at the same time, far beyond what they had experienced with other forms of chamber music.
The duo signed signed up for the Murray Dranoff two-piano competition in Miami, probably as the only contestants that had never played together: their manager actually asked them "don't you have to be a team to compete in that competition?". But with determination they practiced during the day and rehearsed 4-5 hours at night.
Some five months later, the went to Florida...and won first prize. This despite Per being so wired up that he didn't sleep for the last three nights: "I became a complete insomniac, just playing the final concerto over and over in my head".
Since the victory in Miami the duo has explanded their repertoire while performing worldwide. They have performed the two-piano concertos by Mozart, Mendelssohn, Poulenc, Carnival of Animals by Saint-Saëns, and Bartók's Sonata for two pianos and percussion. The breathtakingly virtuosic "Ride of the Cossacks" by Franz Waxman was transcribed for them by Paul Henning. A New York Times headline appropiately characterized the Tengstrand-Sun Piano Duo as "Two pianos, four hands but one heart".