Benda: Violin Concertos
ZENATY; PRAGUE PHILARMONIA
Benda, Franz: Concerto in C major for Violin, Strings and Basso continuo (Lee II-1) Concerto in B flat major for Violin, Strings and Basso continuo (Lee II-18) Concerto in D major for Violin, Strings and Basso continuo (Lee II-2) Concerto in A minor for Violin, Strings and Basso continuo (Lee II-16)
The most distinguished Czech violinist of the 18th century? The first name that springs to mind is that of František Benda. His illustrious career led him to the post of concert master of the court orchestra of Frederick II, King of Prussia. He was highly praised by his contemporaries and, according to the period sources, when delivering slow movements he often moved the audience to tears. Benda’s influence throughout Germany was comparable with the enormous authority the celebrated Giuseppe Tartini enjoyed in Italy. As a composer, he was evidently inspired by Vivaldi’s concertos, which he was thoroughly familiar with. Yet Benda’s concertos are singular works in their own right, abounding in invention, naturally flowing and extremely forcible melody. At the beginning of the 21st century, Ivan Ženaty is among Czech violinists a serious candidate for the title Benda would have been awarded in the 18th century. This, after all, is documented by his collaboration with superlative orchestras and conductors (Baudo, Gergiev, Bělohlavek, Marriner, etc.). With Ivan Ženaty and the excellent Prague Philharmonia’s recording, Benda is splendidly melodious and technically brilliant. František Benda’s virtuoso concertos resurrected in the 21st century.