Friedrich Wilhelm Benda  •  Viola concerto in F major


Under the name Benda, the Berlin State Library Prussian Cultural Heritage keeps three concerti for viola and orchestra. Two of these, in E-flat major and F major, under shelfmark Mus. ms. 1320/34 and 1320/33, are titled: «Concerto / per la / Viola Concertata. / Violino.Primo / Violino.Secondo. / Corno.Primo. / Corno.Secondo. / Viola. / è Basso / di Frederico Benda». It is still not entirely clear which of the Benda musical dynasty composed them.

Two concerti in E-flat major and F major are ascribed to Georg Benda (1722–1795) in the Breitkopf Catalogue of 1778, and in the Westphal Catalogue of 1785. The name «Frederico Benda» on the title page of both these concerti is written in a different hand however, namely in the same hand as the third concerto, also in E-flat major, whose title names the author as «Fred Benda». This leads us to the conclusion that Georg Benda, his so Friedrich Ludwig (1746–1792) and his nephew Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich (1745–1814) are all possible creators of these wonderful concerti. Meanwhile, our preference goes to the attribution by the source's owner, the Berlin State Library.

It is easy to praise the F major concerto: captivating, beguiling, enchanting – this jewel of viola literature deserves every delightful attribute. It is exceptionally enjoyable to play, crafted with lyrical, accessible invention and the requisite melodious power, alongside splendid harmonic and modulatory skill. Composed around 1778, the work is one of the first of its genre. The three-part Allegro, still in the rococo style, is followed by an expressive, melancholy Largo in f minor. In the Rondo-Finale we are thrilled anew by the increasingly virtuosic thematic dialogue between viola and orchestra.

What little the relevant lexica tell us about the life and work of Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Benda, born in Potsdam in 1745 as the eldest son of Franz Benda, is that he was taught music by his father and became a very skilled violin player, an even greater piano player and composer, particularly for instruments. Besides many sonatas for piano and harp, he left solos for flute, violin and violoncello, as well as trios and quartets for strings and piano. His vocal work is immeasurable, including cantatas such as Pygmalion, Die Grazien, the oratorios Die Jünger am Grabe des Auferstandenen, which earnt him a golden box from Petersburg, and Das Lob des Höchsten. His opera Orpheus found favour and was even published. But his operetta Das Blumenmädchen fell through, it left one cold, and should rather have been composed by a drayman. The creator of our viola concerto can easily be forgiven for that. Friedrich Wilhelm Benda died in Potsdam on 19th June 1814 as a retired Kammermusikus (chamber musician).
Souce: Foreword, piano score (BP 2751). Courtesy of Amadeus Verlag, Winterthur/Switzerland.


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NEW • Friedrich Wilhelm Benda • Concerto F major for viola and orchestra
Rarely has it been possible to work with so much playful skill, such an eloquent, tangible invention and the requisite strength of melodic singing, even though the harmonious modulating art of modulating music, been so well done. Allegro - Largo - Rondeau. Score and parts, 36 pages, BACH-format
» to the sheet music

NEW • Friedrich Wilhelm Benda • Concerto F major, piano score
[Cadenza Winfried Michel]

Let's praise the F major concerto: enchanting, beguiling, enchanting, it's easy to offer this gem of viola literature any attribute of pleasure. Allegro - Largo - Rondeau.
Piano score with solo part, 20 pages, BACH-format

» to the sheet music

Franz Benda - Sonata in F major for viola and basso continuo [first edition]
Among the treasures to be rediscovered at the Berlin Sing-Akademie is the viola sonata in F major by Franz Benda, published here for the first time.
Score and 2 parts, BACH-Format

» to the sheet music

 Joachim Johow (Facebook) wrote on 09.12.2017 at 17:24
Perhaps Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Benda. Here is an important comment on this:

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