Many listeners will be unfamiliar with the name Georg Anton Benda, but in his day this Bohemian Kapellmeister enjoyed international fame – chiefly on account of his opera Ariadne auf Naxos, a product of the melodrama that Benda was instrumental in developing and which influenced, among others, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Benda’s skill was not just limited to musical stage entertainment, however; attracting more than 2000 subscribers upon the publication of its first part, the Sammlung vermischter Clavierstücke für geübte und geübte Spieler quickly became a bestseller, an anthology containing keyboard music, chamber music with strings and vocal pieces. Benda belonged to a transitional period, which was full of innovations and attempts to be experimental, and the Sammlung does not full short of this mark; from the irregular, unpredictable vocal line of Jesus am Creuze’s recitativo to the witty drinking song whose two-bar recitativo leads to an unexpected keyboard sonata in the same key – a suggestion for public performance? – the set abounds in surprising twists and turns, making for a delightful source of entertainment.
Performing this engaging and often overlooked music is Ensemble Arcomelo, a period-instrument group whose members share a passion for research, aesthetics and Baroque rhetoric. This release marks their first recording for Brilliant Classics; founder Michele Benuzzi plays the harpsichord, deftly supporting soprano Elena Bertuzzi and tenor Paolo Borgonovo who carve up the vocal arias between them.
- Recorded August 2011; June, September & December 2013, Pieve di San Martino, Palazzo Pignano, Crema, Italy.
- Georg Jiri Antonin Benda (Bohemia, 1722-1795) was born into a musical nest: his father was composer Jan Jiri Benda and his mother came from the famous Brixi family.
- In 1742 Georg moved to Berlin where he worked at the court of Frederick the Great. He became a well known and internationally respected musician and composer, mainly of melodramas and operas. His “Ariadne auf Naxos” paved the way for Mozart’s operas.
- Benda published a collection of pieces meant for domestic use, for “accomplished and less accomplished players”, containing a wealth of keyboard works, chamber music and vocal works for solo voice and chamber group: delightful, fresh music, full of invention and (small) drama, marking the transition from the Baroque into the Classical Era.
- Excellent performances by harpsichordist Michele Benuzzi (who already received 5 star reviews for his Hassler recording for BC 94293) and his Ensemble Arcomelo, playing on original instruments.
- Contains detailed notes on the music and composer, full tracklist and artist biographies.
- Sung texts available by clicking 'DOWNLOAD BOOKLET' on this page (on release).