Chamber Music & Songs
Benda: Chamber Music and Songs, Composer Georg Benda, Artist Elena Bertuzzi soprano, Paolo Borgonovo tenor, Ulrike Slowik violin, Ensemble Arcomelo, Michele Benuzzi harpsichord & director, Format 6 CD, 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 it's 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.