Friedrich Benda came from a distinguished musical family and was a noted violinist and violist. So it’s not surprising that his viola concertos are well-crafted examples of Classical Period form.
In general form, these works reminded me of Haydn’s string concertos. They have a similar air of elegance about them.
Bernard Labadie is renowned for his Baroque and early Classical recordings. The SWR Symphony Orchestra Baden-Baden and Freiburg benefit from his deep knowledge of this music.
The music lies well on the viola. The solo parts tend to favor the upper register of the viola. Perhaps its because Benda was also a violinist.
Violist Jean-Eric Soucy performs with just the right balance of energy and reserve. He maintains a smooth, well-rounded tone throughout. In the liner notes Soucy says “I hope that listeners enjoy discovering [these concertos] as music as I did working with them.”
Yes, I believe I did.
Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Benda: Viola Concertos 1-3
Jean-Eric Soucy, viola
SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg; Bernard Labadie, conductor