Product details

om205 / Volume 12
Carl Hermann Heinrich Benda (1748-1836)
Concerto for viola, strings and b.c.
for va (solo), 2 vl, va and bc
Edited by Phillip Schmidt

Born in 1748 in Potsdam as the second and youngest son of the famous Bohemian violinist Franz Benda (1709–1786)[1], Carl (or Karl) Hermann Heinrich Benda received his first lessons on this instrument from his father and was soon able to make a name for himself as a virtuoso in his own right. He was only fifteen when on 1 July 1763 he joined the Prussian court chapel, where his father and his three uncles Johann Georg Benda (1713–1752), Georg Anton Benda (1722–1795) and Joseph Benda (1724–1804) were already established as violinists. In 1777 Carl was married to Henriette Maria Regina Barth, who died only three years later (in 1780). Their only child to survive infancy was a son, August Heinrich Wilhelm Ferdinand (1779–1860). In 1784 Carl was married a second time, to Ernestine Dorothea Freytag (1758–1831); again there was only one surviving son, Friedrich August (born in 1786).[2]
After his retirement on 30 May 1802 Carl was awarded the title of concertmaster; this distinction probably did not entail any duties, however.[3] Occasionally he also served as a répétiteur at the Royal Court Opera, and he was active as a harpsichordist and teacher; among his pupils were the later king Friedrich Wilhelm III (1770–1840), Friedrich Ludwig Dulon (1769–1826),[4] Carl Friedrich Rungenhagen (1778–1851) and Luise von Knebel, née Rudorff (1777–1852). From time to time Carl also taught without accepting any remuneration.[5] He died at the age of 87 on 15 March 1836 in Berlin. 
Apart from the viola concerto in F major published here for the first time the only surviving works by Carl Benda are two sonatas for violin and harpsichord in F and E-flat major, transmitted in autograph fair copies (both dating from the year 1785[6]), and the engraved edition of the Sechs Adagio’s für das Pianoforte nebst Bemerkungen über Spiel und Vortrag des Adagio, LorB 353 (RISM A/I [B 1906) published by Johann Julius Hummel. The latter turns out to be only a selection of arranged adagio movements from compositions by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, Friedrich Heinrich Himmel, Christian Jäger, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz Seraphin Lauska and Joseph Gelinek, prefaced by an introduction containing useful performing instructions. Johann Friedrich Reichardt (1752–1814) mentions plans for an edition of six violin sonatas,[7] which apparently was never realized, however; nor have the overture and flute quintet[8] survived that Friedrich Dulon mentions in his memoirs.  

On the Edition
The signature “Carl Benda” found on the title page of the only surviving source turns out to be a later addition. There are in fact two other members of the Benda family bearing this first name as well, however – the violinist Carl Friedrich Franz Benda (1754–1816), a son of Joseph Benda, and the actor and singer Carl Ernst Eberhard Benda (1764–1824), a son of Georg (Anton) Benda. These two cousins were also active as musicians in Berlin, but we have no evidence of their ever having composed anything.
Another reason for attributing the viola concerto to C. H. H. Benda might be the unusual execution of an appoggiatura in the ritornello of the first movement (see mm. 5, 7, 31, 33, 84 and 86, beat 3, in violin I or violin I+II respectively). A situation in which an appoggiatura requires the same value as the subsequent main note – and thus completely replaces the main note – is a rarely used means of expression, appearing only in specific contexts (usually the main note is augmented and tied to a subsequent note of the same pitch); this constellation is almost never used in orchestral music.[9]
Carl Benda as well describes the execution of this particular appoggiatura in his Bemerkungen über Spiel und Vortrag des Adagio, Dilettanten und Dilettantinnen des Klavierspiels, published in 1819: “An appoggiatura preceding two tied notes, of which the first is dotted, replaces the dotted note; this results in two different pitches, and the tie is eliminated.”[10]

Phillip Schmidt
Translated by Stephanie Wollny

Apart from his older brother Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Benda (1745–1814) Carl also had four sisters: Wilhelmine Louise Dorothea (1741–1798), Maria Carolina (1742–1820), Charlotte Henriette Sophie (Carl’s twin sister, also born in 1748) and Bernhardine Juliane (1752–1783). These biographical data are taken from Franz Lorenz, Die Musikerfamilie Benda [vol. 1]. Franz Benda und seine Nachkommen, Berlin 1967, pp. 80 ff.

[2] Ibid., especially pp. 95 ff.
[3] See Christoph Henzel, Die italienische Hofoper in Berlin um 1800. Vincenzo Righini als preußischer Hofkapellmeister, Stuttgart and Weimar 1994, pp. 267 f.
[4] See Christoph Martin Wieland (ed.), Dülons, des blinden Flötenspielers Leben und Meynungen von ihm selbst bearbeitet, 2 vols., vol. 1, Zürich 1807, especially pp. 194–199.
[5] See Friedrich August Schmidt and Bernhard Friedrich Voigt (ed.), Neuer Nekrolog der Deutschen, vol. 14, part 1, Weimar 1838, pp. 259 f.
[6] The autograph of the violin sonata in F major, LorB 352, is contained in a compound volume at the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin (D-B, shelf number: Mus. ms. 30200, fols. 48 ff.). The autograph of the violin sonata in E-flat major is housed at the music archive of the Sing-Akademie zu Berlin (D-Bsa, shelf number: SA 4004). The Symphony in D major (RISM-ID: 454005658), housed in the library of the Benedictine monastery at Metten (D-MT), is now attributed to Leopold Koželuh.
[7] See Johann Friedrich Reichardt, Briefe eines aufmerksamen Reisenden die Musik betreffend, part 1, Frankfurt and Leipzig 1774, pp. 169 f.
[8] See Wieland (ed.), Dülons, des blinden Flötenspielers Leben und Meynungen, vol. 1, Zürich 1807, p. 199.
[9] See for example Johann Joachim Quantz, Versuch einer Anweisung die Flöte traversiere zu spielen, Berlin 1752, p. 79, §. 9 (as well as Tab. VI, figs. 15–18); Daniel Gottlob Türk, Klavierschule, oder Anweisung zum Klavierspielen, Leipzig and Halle 1789, p. 212, §. 13; Heinrich Christoph Koch, Musikalisches Lexikon, Frankfurt/Main 1802, article “Vorschlag”, especially cols. 1723 f.
[10] Cf. Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung, vol. 21, Leipzig 1819, no. 48, 1 December, cols. 817 ff., especially cols. 820 f. The text printed there is identical with that of the preface to the Sechs Adagio’s mentioned above.

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