G. A. Benda: Sinfonias

Prague Sinfonia Orchestra, Christian Benda
47:20
Sony Classics 888751861923
Symphonies 2, 3, 5, 7, 8 & 10

This is not the first recording I have heard of these Benda sinfonias directed by Christian Benda, and I am pretty certain that my reaction was the same on first acquaintance; with the “perfection” of modern wind instruments, much of the real charm of these works is lost. Lacking the rasp of hunting horns, and the piercing nature of period oboes, not to mention string playing where the bow and the strings are inseparable companions, the sound here is (to my ears at least) anodyne and, I am afraid, unlikely to inspire me to listen to Benda again. All of this I know to be unnecessary, as previous recordings of his music (both vocal and instrumental) have shown him to be a composer of considerable merit. The conductor’s discography reveals where his interests really lie, and if this is what he does with his forebear’s symphonies, I would respectfully suggest he sticks to what he knows best and let others champion the Bendas of yesteryear.

Brian Clark