Classical music review: Baroque Extravaganza by Candlelight
Performance date: Thursday 8 November 2012
Performers: The Feinstein Ensemble
St Martin in the Fields, Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 4JJ
St Martin in the Fields – map
Review by: Alexa Williamson
Rating: **** (out of 5)
JS Bach – Brandenburg Concerto No 5 in D
Antonio Vivaldi – Concerto for Two Violins in A minor
GP Telemann – Concerto for Flute and Recorder in E minor
Antonio Vivaldi – Summer from The Four Seasons
JS Bach – Concerto for Two Violins in D minor
Antonio Vivaldi – Sopranino Concerto in C Major
Higlighted performers: Martin Feinstein – Flute/Recorder, Catherine Manson – Violin
Nutshell review: Now having been to three classical performances at St Martin in the Fields (SMITF), I can say that the quality and selection of the pieces performed here is consistently amazing, the prices are extremely reasonable and the venue is absolutely stunning. With the first church recorded on the site from as early as 1222 (ie Norman Times – but there could, possibly, have been an unrecorded one earlier), and the current building, designed by James Gibb, and dating from 1726, this is a beautiful place to hear and see concerts.
I love the way the classical music sounds here and also it is an extremely elegant and tranquil venue to see them. In fact, once you step inside you are transported back hundreds of years and forget about the Tube, Starbucks, Pret-a-Manger and all the buildings around you. Inside, SMITF has gorgeous high ceilings, beautiful chandelier lighting, lovely dark and heavy wooden pews and fantastic stone sculptures and carvings. It is truly a tranquil, large and wonderfully preserved historic place in London’s overally bright, electric and busy centre.
The Feinstein Ensemble, tonight, chose some beautiful pieces and performed them very well. The Ensemble was elegant and together but whether it was either the choice of music, the skills of the Ensemble or a little bit of both, but they did not transform the classical pieces they selected into a sheer and ecstatic audial ambrosia like the London Octave did (here at SMITF) for their performance on 26 October or Trafalgar Sinfonia did on 27 October, although the selections were very similar (eg including Vivaldi). Yet, saying this, I loved the performance, learned a lot and would indeed pay to see them again. Possibly the Ensemble did not come across with the same intensity as the other two as it is not as large.
Yet, saying all of this the strongest and most memorable pieces of the night were Teleman’s Concerto in E minor for Recorder and Flute, Vivaldi’s Summer (from the Four Seasons) and also his Sopranino Concerto in C major – with the harpsichord in this being well played, and interestingly hauntingly high-strung interspersed with small sprightly moments. The rest of the pieces played were also beautiful and well-absorbed so that the entire performance put you into a heavenly musical trance – as if floating in a wonderful cloud (the two previous performances on 26 and 27 October put you in the upper realms of heaven, on top of the clouds).
Despite my small observations and comparisons, many thanks are due to the Feinstein Ensemble for a fine and beautiful night.
The Feinstein Ensemble (official site)
Baroque Extravaganza by Candlelight, 8 November 2012, programme (SMITF official site)
St Martin in the Fields music reviews (The London Reviewer)
St Martin in the Fields (official site)
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