This recording is evidence of a Turkish piano-duo tradition
In the beginning we were captivated by the internationally renowned piano duo of Güher-Süher Pekinel and, in the years that followed, a succession of piano duos convinced us that there was a tradition of duo pianists of Turkish origin. As further proof of this, we had just finished listening to a recording by Selin Sekeramber & Yudum Çetiner when this excellent recording from Arzu & Gamze Kırtıl arrived. The two sisters have put together a dramatic and impeccably organized programme.
The recording begins with the Rondo in C major (Op. 73) by F. Chopin, the only work he composed for two pianos, which has all the splendour, radiance and virtuosity typically associated with Chopin. By using this piece to open the CD, the two pianists have made an intelligent choice. The rondo form allows them to get quickly to the heart of work and, as it progresses, their technique comes convincingly to the fore.
The Rapsodie Espagnole for two pianos by Ravel, which comes second, is a work which captivates the listener. The air of a mystical and secretive evening depicted in the opening part is not fully reflected in their playing, but the dance-like elements of the Malagueña and Habanera are better expressed, while the concluding movement is the finest section. This work and Shostakovich's Concertino opus 94 which follows demonstrate that the duo excel in works where rhythmical elements predominate.
Those who listen to Wintermorgen in Istanbul by Fazıl Say will feel transported to another world. Again the atmosphere could have been a touch more mystical, but it seems that this is not the Kırtıl's approach. They begin Lutoslawski Variations on a Theme by Paganini with thunder, continuing with a pure and sparkling touch and finishing with a conclusion full of excitement.
Those pieces written for the duo are interpreted with conviction, adapting to their different styles with ease, this makes them understandable, and that is a virtue beyond all praise. These very fine works and the keen awareness of dynamics demonstrate the twin's remarkable and well-rehearsed ensemble playing.
AGK-Music have made a flawless recording, and no-one should refrain from discovering further recordings of the duo Arzu-Gamze Kırtıl, most of all those of the contemporary repertoire.
Andante Classical Music Magazine, October 2014