"With elegance and dedication, the duo interpret a piece of Grieg’s, which we follow enthralled, as if hooked on a crime thriller. […] Even though the sisters have already delighted listeners with their recently released album Lifelines, live they now take their performance up a notch. In the Birringer family, romanticism doesn’t mean to radiate bliss, but to show what a piece is actually all about. Esther wonderfully lets off steam on the piano, while Lea seemingly casually unleashes fireworks on the violin. […] In any case, the audience are blown away."
O-Ton, 15 May 2018
"The sisters Lea Birringer, violin and Esther Birringer, piano, provided emphases that must be taken seriously."
Lübecker Nachrichten, 13 May 2018
"Terrific, engaging release"
"In Grieg’s F-major Violin Sonata no. 1, the duo’s exacting technical control is paired with a strong, collective poetic sensibility that gamely draws out the music’s sometimes halting, often dissimilar personalities. Their playing is full of character, especially in the folk-like sections: the trio of the middle movement is full of vigor and the many Scandinavian fiddle gestures of the finale hold nothing back.
The Franck Violin Sonata that closes the album is similarly all-in. This is an interpretation that’s fully attuned to the score’s turbulent passions – the middle movements, with their wild contrasts and shifts of mood, color, and textures, burn particularly hot – but one that always manages to keep a cool head about itself. Textures are clear (a big plus in this busy piece), the score’s transforming structure clearly delineated, tempos consistently well-judged, and the playing pulsing with rhythmic energy.
Overall, this is a terrific, engaging release that offers the excitement of a live performance with the perfection of execution and acoustic you only get from a studio recording; in other words, the best of both worlds. Don’t miss it."
The Arts Fuse, 26 April 2018
"Characterful, if idiosyncratic, artists"
"The Liszt pieces are not exactly over-recorded, and the pair (Lea and Esther Birringer) approach them with style and the full-blooded commitment they bring to the entire disc. They sound like instinctive, physical players, and they’re very evidently on the same wavelength as regards the music’s ebb and flow. There’s a winning freshness about the way they tackle the Grieg in particular, bending into the sweep of a melody. Violinist Lea has an enjoyably springy way with a dance rhythm."
Gramophone, April 2018
With works by Grieg, Liszt and Franck, the sisters Lea and Esther Birringer play a seemingly conventional programme. But nevertheless, there is much to discover! A smart selection, according to Jörg Lengersdorf.
"Even simple airs boast stunningly inspired moments of chamber music interplay. […] Yet many chamber music fans may well still have a space on their CD shelves, and this one is definitely worth discovering."
WDR3, 15 March 2018
"Luckily, sisters Lea and Esther Birringer do not count among those musicians who are exclusively fixated on flawless notes. They seek personal, human access to these three composers. The most jubilant is their encounter with Grieg’s youthfully passionate sonata, whose zest for life and joie de vivre are clear from the very first note. The opening sparkles like the first rays of sunshine of the day, and the leisurely buildup is completely natural and unforced. The middle movement is also magical […] Liszt sounds mature and reserved, but no less expressive and oppressive too."
The New Listener, 10 March 2018
"To describe them as a team sworn to each other would be an understatement. […] But what impresses is not just the harmony, but above all their musical and technical skill."
Saarbrücker Zeitung, 05 March 2018
"With the greatest degree of precision"
"Worthy of especial praise are their intimate manner of playing and the tonal beauty. And of course it goes without saying that the whole is sustained with the greatest degree of precision."
SWR2, 03 March 2018
"A musical force to be reckoned with"
"Anyone as good-looking as Lea and Esther Birringer might occasionally encounter reservations in the classical music scene, which is becoming increasingly focused on outward appearances. These reservations are wholly unjustified, of course, because the two beautiful sisters from Saarland are a musical force to be reckoned with. Both of them also perform as soloists, but it is precisely as a duo that they captivate audiences with their technical ability, profound musicality and – above all – perfect harmony. Atmospherically dense, they play the two rarely heard Liszt Elegies, which form the centrepiece of their new CD. And they also artfully make the other two pieces, Edvard Grieg’s First Sonata and César Franck’s famous Sonata in A Major, their own: Their Grieg is poetic and subtle, and their rendition of Franck shows a real fire burning within them."
Concerti, 26 February 2018
"Interpretational Moments of Bliss"
"On this CD, the sisters Lea and Esther Birringer show just how vivaciously, excitingly, spontaneously and at the same time delightfully, homogeneously and artistically chamber music can be performed. I have to admit that I have never heard Grieg’s First Violin Sonata rendered so beautifully, in such dialogue and so full of atmosphere as on this recording. Lea and Esther Birringer prove to be an ideal team, as first-rate musical partners.
Their dialogues flow with such wonderful naturalness and the virtuosity resulting from this naturalness is captivating, but never excessive. The two Elegies by Franz Liszt are also perfectly balanced and show the Birringers to be very clever and above all highly competent musicians.
The atmospheric density and simply wonderful playing make Franck’s Violin Sonata a real jewel. At each point, the listener has the feeling that the music just has to sound like this and that Lea and Esther Birringer’s rendition is the only possible interpretation. In addition to these interpretational moments of bliss, the two performers also display a breathtaking technique that makes listening a real pleasure, especially as the excellent recording technique presents Lea and Esther Birringer’s interpretations and musical talent in an optimal light. This musical adventure is an absolute must for any chamber music aficionado."
Pizzicato, 26 February 2018
"Without a hint of routine"
"The true musical stars of the evening were the Birringer sisters: [...] the ace up their sleeve was the intimate dialogue between violin and piano: an almost blind faith, fantastically expressive in their interaction, without a hint of routine."
Ostsee-Zeitung, 16 October 2017
"A wonderful performance to experience"
"In the expressive piano part she satisfies the highest expectations with her powerful virtuosity and immaculate playing - performing as an equal partner to the orchestra, full of inner lyricism and sparkling fluency."
Vorarlberger Nachrichten, 29 September 2017
"Aural delight through and through"
"'Lifelines' gathers highly dramatic and deeply romantic pieces from Grieg, Liszt and Franck, and was also recorded at Saarländische Rundfunk. It is an aural delight through and through."
Saarbrücker Zeitung, 19 September 2017
"Rapturous applause at the end of the season"
"In Franz Liszt’s two elegies, fragile lightness alternated with passionate, gloomy emotions. The piano often sounded as clear and vitreous as a harp. Lea Birringer played in a smoky-sonorous manner on her violin, then again bright, immaculate tones, which seemed to caress the piano."
Oberbayerisches Volksblatt, 12 September 2017
"A sisterly tour de force"
" Supported by her sister Lea Birringer’s sweeping violin melodies, they created spirited moods that weren’t diluted by a soft, romantic tenderness, but were suitably transparent and dramatic. [...]”
Fränkische Landeszeitung, 11 October 2016
"Courage, determination and stylistic competence"
"Their first CD shows how easy the Birringer duo are able to embark on something new: Szymanowski, Hindemith, Respighi – no run of the mill programme. Even in the first few bars of the Szymanowski Sonata, they demonstrate how well they harmonise. 'Patetico'. Rich chords at the beginning, then a purposeful violin lick and finally, a joint crescendo. Upon fading away, it starts up again, until eventually, a second, very lyrical theme pushes through. Esther and Lea stride through this beginning with great effortlessness; powerful and confident, with feeling and with sensitivity to tone. The recording is appropriately rounded off by closing with the 'Passacaglia' from Respighi’s Sonata from 1917: snarling dotted rhythms that do not deny their baroque origins, and which seamlessly capture the turmoil of the first world war. The Birringers succeed in performing this balancing act in impressive fashion. Their recording displays courage, determination and stylistic competence, combining cold midnight blues and the shimmering blazing heat of the sun."
Musik & Theater, Special Edition Davos Festival July 2016
“In their brilliance, the two Birringer sisters [...] are simply spectacular ‘musical sorceresses’. As they wove their musical spell, the audience palpably had the need to drop to their knees in awe as they listened to the ‘Russian fireworks’ [...] that featured in the programme.”
Kronen Zeitung, 22 May 2016
“Magnificent” – Esther & Lea Birringer at Musikfestspiele Saar
“With Lea and Esther Birringer, what you get is not surface gloss, but real emotion and depth of interpretation. [...] Given the ease with which Esther Birringer elicits the piano the octaves.”
Saarbruecker Zeitung, 28 April 2015
“A firework display of Russian compositions”
“Even after the first few notes, the audience in the packed-out concert hall in the Spitalhof in Dinkelsbühl ascended into rapture and fascinated astonishment thanks to the highest possible level of dynamic, sensitive musicianship, the likes of which are so seldom heard.”
Fraenkische Landeszeitung, 26 January 2015
"Duo Birringer fascinated at 'Inselkonzerte'"
[...] "An intensity was shown with every note – extremely captivating and enthralling" [...]
Chiemgau-Zeitung, 09 September 2014
“Masterly interpretative achievement” – Duo Birringer win over audience and critics alike at the MDR Musiksommer
“As should become apparent later in an even more impressive manner, the two charming musicians delight one and all. Not only with their decidedly tight and precise interplay of the very highest level, which has developed over the course of many years, but not least with their sensual and spirited approach to those musical creations, which are virtually overloaded with technical finesse.”
Thüringische Landeszeitung, 29 July 2014
“Heartfelt playing with the utmost precision” – Esther and Lea Birringer delight at the Weilburger Schlosskonzerte
“The way that the two of them stood on stage and […] illuminated the work’s wonderful duets, full of elegance and precision, appeared completely effortless. […] The soloists’ heartfelt playing, beautifully synchronised with such a sense of certainty, allowed a deep atmosphere of peace and beauty to develop for the duration.”
Weilburger Tageblatt, 22 July 2014
“A duo on course for success”
“The decision to venture to take unusual steps in the world of classical music is a prime example of the sisters’ approach to life. They have always accepted new challenges. […] Whoever has experienced the sisters live will have felt the passion with which they play their instruments. In no way do the musicians come across as stuffy, homespun or old fashioned. On the contrary: they exude charm, elegance and vitality. And if that isn’t contagious?!”
FORUM, 06 June 2014
“Outstanding in May/June: The sisters Lea and Esther Birringer are in worldwide demand – their debut CD has delighted the music critics”
“They are young, pretty and talented. Other artists build an international career upon those things, plus a nice selection of catchy and popular classical pieces. But the sisters Esther and Lea Birringer steer clear of those well-trodden paths.”
Opus Kulturmagazin, 05 May 2014
"A Rare and Courageous Act"
"What is heard in this recording is worthy of attention and respect. Nothing popular, nothing populist, rather three violin sonatas from the 20th century, little known pieces that are rarely ever
performed. To emerge as advocates of such compositions on a debut CD is a rare and courageous undertaking on the part of the Birringer sisters. And it is worth getting to know these
ORF, 25 April 2014
"Enthusiastic Applause and Inspired Audience"
"Small gestures and almost imperceptible glances to indicate attacks and tempo changes, these are all signs of two people who know each other very well making music together. Modestly and with
disarming humour, the Birringer sisters chat in between with moderator, Ludwig Hartmann, about life and their musical beginnings and success as well as the inevitable friction. At the end of a
joyful evening concert: enthusiastic applause and an inspired audience."
NDR Kultur, 11 April 2014
"The name Birringer is one to remember"
"Lea and Esther Birringer [...] begin their CD with an exclamation mark. [...] A very bold debut by two already very independently accomplished artistic personalities. The name Birringer is one
WDR 3, 06 February 2014
"A big compliment for so much obstinacy"
"A truly exhilarating and audacious CD motif, the more so because Lea and Esther Birringer are impeccably accurate in their valiant, captivating and unbelievably sumptuous performance of the three sonatas, particularly with their perfect rendition of the dramatic and rousing tones.
Two sisters have the courage, curiosity and the musicianship to discover chamber music areas that you cannot hear in concert every day. A big compliment for so much obstinacy."
BR-Klassik, 25 January 2014
Esther & Lea Birringer play for Germany's president
On October 4th, the Birringer sisters had the great opportunity to perform in the Bellevue Palace in Berlin in honor of Mariss Jansons' being awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of
Germany by President Joachim Gauck.
Saarbrücker Zeitung, 24 October 2013
"What a performance, what a program. Soloist Esther Birringer's profound technique and a suspense-packed vitality turned the piano evening, which was a part of the series 'Internationale Konzerte im Stift Obernkirchen' into a great experience. [...]
There are concerts which exceed the purely artistic and Esther Birringer's performance in Oberkirchen was undoubtedly one of them. [...]
The performance of Debussy's 'Preludes book 2' proved that Esther Birringer could handle the situation outstandingly. It was magnificent how she let fairies dance across the hall. Birringer painted atmospheric pictures full of refractions and gradients and distinguished herself with a profound technique. Her deep understanding of Debussy's music earned her the respect of the audience. [...]
Esther Birringer had no problems whatsoever to adjust to Debussy's fast changing tunes. Colors, tempi and contrasts are impressively performed and the transparency that dominates the performance helped to understand the complex work.
The soloist's delicate nuances and touches created an intensity which put a distinctive stamp on Debussy's preludes and on Lera Auberbach's 24 preludes [...]
Esther Birringer's concert will be remembered for a long time."
Schaumburg-Lippische Landes-Zeitung, 04 September 2013
"An exceptional talent" - Esther Birringer at Philharmony Cologne
„The young pianist Esther Birringer performed her solo part with an intimately beautiful sound and with a smooth luidity, never just mechanical but lively and descriptive all the time - a strong talent.“
Kölnische Rundschau, 18 January 2013
"Gentle piano poet and powerful bundle of energy"
"Esther Birringer was able to max out the different tunes completely; her suspense-packed vitality and her technically outstanding play met the expectations of the rather intimate as well as the vivacious pieces.
She let fairies (Les fées) whiz along the keys, spread the colorful sound carpet of the heath (Bruyères), brought Spanish flair (La puerto vino) into life or raged herself out in the witch's cauldron (Les Tierces). [...] Whereas the first two parts, Ondine and Le Gibet (the gallows), are within Ravel's normal range, the grotesque Scarbo demands a headspinning virtuosity with all imaginable technical refinements, which the pianist mastered with astonishing ease. [...]
Once more Birringer presents herself as congenial interpreter, whether she is the gentle piano poet or the powerful bundle of energy."
Weißenburger Tagblatt, 15 November 2012
"The pianist, who had the leading role in the compositions of the night, brilliantly structured her parts. Especially positive to mention is the sensitive touch of the 1983 born artist. That is the reason that the balance between the instruments stays perfect in all orchestrations."
Hildesheimer Allgemeine Zeitung, 16 October 2012
"Esther Birringer structured the expanding of the layers, the density of the sound material and especially the harmonious expansion of the demanding piano setting easily and confidently."Westfälisches Volksblatt, 26 September 2012
"Wonderful sound paintings"
"Esther Birringer presented the complete range of expressions with her well chosen program. [...] Wonderful sound paintings were created with four pieces from Debussy's Préludes 2. As if hypnotized the audience listened to the extremely delicate and multilayered play, the wild turmoil, the mystic depth and the power of suggestion."
Lindauer Zeitung, 13 March 2012
"Genius combination" - Esther & Lea Birringer
"Neu-Isenburg's series of serenade concerts was continued with a genius combination in the 'Haus zum Löwen'. Not only the selected compositions [...] were genius but also the perfectly harmonizing siblings Lea Birringer (violin) and Esther Birringer (piano).
[...] After the break Lea and Esther Birringer thrilled the audience with Paul Hindemith's violin sonata in E-flat major, op.11, no.1. Especially the movement 'Im Zeitmaß eines langsamen feierlichen Tanzes' was performed accordingly to the composers intention. The siblings created an impressive highlight with Karol Szymanowski's Sonata op.9 in D minor."
Frankfurter Neue Presse, 09 February 2012
"The impressively precise play lets ever new streams flow down into the valley in jovial dialog.
The sound space during the Adagio is in contrast almost romantic a beguilingly wafting whispering during the pianissimo, as if a down feather is swept across the strings and keys, whereas a larking, mischievous Beethoven appears during the rondo. [...]
[...] When the violin is silent the piano sensitively preserves the atmosphere and leads it to expressive passion.
The andante brings impressionistic, atmospheric paintings a pulsation of the piano evokes a glockenspiel which slowly fades away before the highest expressiveness begins again. Also Brahm’s Scherzo F.A.E sonata in C minor, dedicated to Joseph Joachim, is defined by storm and calm.
After rapturous applause the sisters finish the matinee with a prelude by Lena Auerbach a soulful praise of silence."
Schwaebische Zeitung, 04 January 2012