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 fullRead more 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. -
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