The Feinstein Ensemble
Specialising in the historically accurate performance of music from the 18th century, the Feinstein Ensemble’s concerts and recordings of the Baroque repertoire have been acclaimed both in the UK and internationally. As one of the busiest period ensembles in Europe, they have toured in the Far East, Germany, France, the Gulf, Egypt, Israel, Belgium and Holland. They are resident period orchestra at St Martin-in-the-Fields in London, performing around 30 concerts a year there. They are regular performers at Southbank Centre and their Bach Weekend at Kings Place has become one of the highlights of London’s musical calendar.
The Feinstein Ensemble is best known for its interpretations of Bach. Collaborations with their sister group the London Bach Singers have resulted in critically acclaimed performances of all of Bach’s major choral works, including the Mass in B Minor, the St John and St Matthew Passions, the Magnificat and the Easter Oratorio. The Ensemble can be heard regularly on BBC Radio 3 and in 2009 they were invited by BBC Television to broadcast a groundbreaking documentary and performance of all six Brandenburg Concerti. Their recordings for Naxos, Black Box Music, Sanctuary Records, Dutton Epoch records and Barn Cottage Records have been universally praised by the critics.
Bach’s Christmas Oratorio
The Feinstein Ensemble and London Bach Singers showed, triumphantly, the validity of small-scale Bach. The excellent soloists – soprano Faye Newton, countertenor Tim Travers Brown, tenor Charles Daniels and bass Ben Davies – were also the chorus. Four voices, here, were as good as 40. Whether soaring above, or integrating with the players in perfect balance, they delivered text and music with vital clarity. The music, perhaps less well known than Bach’s Easter passions, overflows with treasures: the sensuous “sleep” aria (Schlafe, mein Liebster) for alto; the tenor’s ecstatic “Happy shepherds” (Frohe Hirten); the duet for soprano and bass in the third cantata on the theme of compassion, here exquisitely sung by Newton and Davies. Martin Feinstein, directing from the flute, drew a rich, at times remarkable, range of colours and timbres from his 16 period instrument players.
Fiona Maddocks, THE OBSERVER, December 2019
I’ve heard the Brandenburg Concertos so many times, and in so many contexts. Yet what the Feinstein Ensemble did with them had revelatory freshness.
Bach Weekend 2020
Due to the Covid pandemic the Ensemble wasn’t able to stage the 2020 Bach Weekend as planned. It has been postponed to 2021.
This year the Feinstein Ensemble’s annual Bach Weekend explores Bach’s flair for the dramatic.
The opening concert features his secular cantatas, skilfully written mini-operas in all but name. Bach completely dispels our preconceptions of him as a buttoned-up civil servant with his racy themes and double-entendres.
In complete contrast the Mass in B minor, with its brilliant scoring and epic message, effortlessly uses every rhetorical musical device in Bach’s considerable armoury to create a drama of transcendent power.
Also included in the weekend is the Musical Offering, performed as never before; this unique performance will use special lighting during the canons and fugues, so that the audience can actually follow the Royal Theme as it travels through the ensemble and is transformed, inverted and reversed.