Now available!

  • Artist: Jean-Eric Soucy, Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart des SWR, Bernard Labadie
  • Label: CPO, DDD, 2017
  • Release date: 26.4.2018

The Unknown Benda

It is not exactly easy to find one’s way around in the pages of Benda family history with its two Georgs, three Friedrichs, two Heinrichs – and more! This family of musicians from Bohemia came to Germany in 1742 at the request of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia (1712-86), and served at the court there for a century. The unknown Benda with whom we are concerned here was Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich, the son of Franz Benda and nephew of Georg Benda. He was born in 1745 and died in 1814. Although he wrote operas, cantatas, and oratorios, he is best known for his instrumental compositions and for the concertos he wrote for various instruments. His talent as a gifted violist and violinist also made him a popular interpreter. The virtuoso passages in his three concertos for viola demonstrate his perfect mastery of the instrumental technique of the viola typifying his times. We have our soloist Jean-Eric Soucy to thank for the discovery of the viola concertos, and he in turn is grateful to the Edition Offenburg publishing company, which with its outstanding correction work has made available a wonderful gift for all violists. Friedrich Benda’s viola concertos are beyond doubt magnificent additions to the viola repertoire on the same high level as Stamitz, Hoffmeister, and others. (By the way, Edition Offenburg has made the concertos available in two versions, one with piano and the other with orchestra.)