František Benda (1709-1786) - Concerto in C major for Violin, Strings and Basso continuo (Lee II-1) 17:30
1. I. Allegro 5:45
2. II. Adagio 6:12
3. III. Presto 5:32
František Benda - Concerto in B flat major for Violin, Strings and Basso continuo (Lee II-18) 15:24
4. I. Allegro 6:04
5. II. Adagio 4:39
6. III. Presto 4:37
František Benda - Concerto in D major for Violin, Strings and Basso continuo (Lee II-2) 18:48
7. I. Allegro ma non molto 8:03
8. II. Largo 5:00
9. I II. Allegro 5:45
František Benda - Concerto in A minor for Violin, Strings and Basso continuo (Lee II-16) 20:19
10. I. Allegretto ma non molto 8:37
11. II. Affettuoso ma con spirito 7:16
12. III. Vivace. Scherzando 4:24
Ivan Ženatý - violin (Giuseppe Guarneri "del Gesu" 1740)
Jan Fišer - 1st violin, Jakub Fišer - 2nd violin, Stanislav Svoboda - viola, Lukáš Pospíšil - cello, Pavel Klečka - double-bass, František Šťastný - harpsichord
Recorded at the Martínek Studio, Prague, on May 19-21, 2011 and on January 14, 2012
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 Ženatý 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, Bělohlávek, Marriner, etc.). On Ivan Ženatý and the excellent Prague Philharmonia's recording, Benda is splendidly melodious and technically brilliant.
František Benda's virtuoso concertos resurrected in the 21st century.