Benda, Georg

1722-1795

 

The most celebrated member of a Bohemian musical family, consisting of the father, Hans Georg Benda, who was a traveling musician and performer on several instruments; Franz, his eldest son, who was a violinist and composer; Johann, the second son, who was a violinist and chamber musician; Joseph, the youngest son, who was also a violinist and was concertmaster to Friedrich Wilhelm II. at Berlin; and Georg, the third son, who was a composer and pianist of considerable ability. From 1742 to 1748 he was chamber-musician at Berlin and afterward was Court conductor at Gqtha. Georg Benda's chief claim to notice lies in his melodramas, Ariadne auf Naxos, Medea, Almansor, and Nadine. These were music dramas in which the words were spoken and the music was left to the orchestra. He also wrote sacred cantatas, masses and many instrumental works, beside a number of operettas.