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  H I G H L I G H T S .

In memory of SILVIO MASON


coming from another world,
he brings in himself that which we seek,
which we seek again and again,
and which we cannot find.

Made of pure kindness, generosity,
of smiling joy, brotherly friendship,
constantly gifting and presenting,
expecting nothing in return.

He loves us,
making us badly want
to have him still and always close by.

that didn't stop him
from leaving in advance,
and going back there, to the afterlife,
where his language is easily understood.

As for us,
before we are ready to join him,
let us keep him in our hearts with thoughts of gratitude,
for everything he's given us,
all that which, coming from another world, searching and searching again
we couldn't find.

By Christian Benda
for Silvio Mason
29th of June 2020

silvio mason





Released April 5, 2019

The image on the sleeve speaks for itself. There is a pair of blood-red boxing gloves hanging between the refined silhouettes of Mozart and Salieri. The record of their rivalry is reopened in this album by Christian Benda [...] Conducting the Prague Sinfonia Orchestra, an ensemble founded by Vaclav Havel and of which he is the artistic director, he alternates the works of the two composers. Milos Forman has shown that the struggle between talent and genius is dramatically unequal. Wedged between Salieri's overtures of La Fiera di Venezia and the Danaides, Mozart's Magic Flute overture comes to provide a dazzling answer to the question of the precedence of one over the other. The game is cruel, and the outcome known in advance.

This album has the merit of putting the church in the middle of the village, thanks to the contemporary works of the two composers that can be compared in full knowledge and also thanks to the enlightening text of Ingo Dorfmüller which explains, inter alia and with documented evidence, how much Salieri felt consideration for his younger colleague to such an extent that he created his famous Fortieth Symphony, and later became the teacher of Amadeus and Contanze's son. But we will never be able to explain where pure genius comes from.

© François Hudry/Qobuz


CD-Tipp Klassik: Mozart : Salieri

Was ist dran an der Rivalität zwischen Salieri und Mozart? Statt Gerüchten bietet das Prager Sinfonieorchester ­einen musikalischen Wettstreit. Zwischenresultat: viele Gemeinsamkeiten, noch mehr Unterschiede. Endergebnis: ein Hörgenuss, der jede Rivalität vergessen lässt. Mit der Ersteinspielung von «Per la ricuperata salute di Ofelia» gibts sogar ein Versöhnungsangebot. Denn diese Kantate haben die Kontrahenten gemeinsam komponiert.

Silvan Moosmüller, SRF 2 Kultur


Mozart und Salieri – waren sie erbitterte Feinde oder respektierten sie sich gegenseitig als Komponisten? Wahrscheinlich ist eher das Letztere der Fall. Ein Ort, an dem die zwei Musiker – neben Wien – ihre Werke einem musikhungrigen Publikum präsentierten, war die böhmische Metropole Prag. Mit ein Grund für das Prague Sinfonia Orchestra unter der Leitung von Christian Benda, einen Querschnitt durch das sinfonische Schaffen der beiden Komponisten zu präsentieren. Neben zahlreichen Opern-Ouvertüren gibt es die komplette »Prager-« sowie die »Haffner-Sinfonie« von Mozart. Das interessanteste Werk dürfte aber zweifelsohne die Kantate »Per la ricuperata salute di Ofelia« von 1785 sein. Bei diesem Werk handelt es sich um eine Gemeinschaftskomposition von Antonio Salieri, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart und einem gewissen »Cornetti« auf einen Text von Lorenzo da Ponte. Die zur Wiedergenesung der italienisch-englischen Sängerin Nancy Storace geschriebene Kantate für Singstimme und Klavier gilt als wichtigster Beleg für ein eher freundschaftlich-kollegiales Verhältnis der Komponisten Salieri und Mozart. Wer sich hinter dem Namen »Cornetti« verbirgt, ist bis heute nicht geklärt. Vermutlich handelt es sich um ein Pseudonym. Der Titel des Werkes spielt auf die Rolle der Ofelia in Salieris »La grotta di Trofonio« an, in welcher die Storace 1785 nach ihrer Genesung wahre Triumphe feierte. Die Existenz des Werkes war nur durch zeitgenössische Zeitungsannoncen im Wienerblättchen und in der Wiener Realzeitung belegt, in denen das Werk vom Wiener Verlag Artaria beworben wurde. Sowohl der Text als auch die Musik galten als verschollen, bis der deutsche Komponist und Musikwissenschaftler Timo Jouko Herrmann im Dezember 2015 in den Sammlungen des Nationalmuseums in Prag eine bei Joseph von Kurzböck gedruckte Ausgabe ausfindig machen konnte. Das ursprünglich für Sopran und Tasteninstrument geschriebene Werk erklingt auf dem vorliegenden Doppel-Album in einer vom Cellisten und Dirigenten Christian Benda erstellten Version für Sopran (es singt Dagmar Williams vom Philharmonischen Chor Prag) und Orchester. Welt-Ersteinspielung! Sony Classical


  (4 out of 4)

Mozart hat die Nase vorn

Christian Benda lässt die Musik Mozarts wie auch die von Salieri mit demselben Engagement, derselben Verve und Lebendigkeit spielen [...] Wiener Klassik auf hohem Niveau.

Remy Franck - Pizzicato



sony classic vinyl

REVIEW - Classical Souce - Antony Hodgson

(5 out of 5)

Later generations of the Benda family inherited much musical talent including conductor (and composer) Christian whose performances are given on this recording in convincing style. Benda exploits the horns high in their register. The Prague Sinfonia has a fine horn section and these musicians perform their demanding melodic passages with immaculate accuracy. In the C-major Symphony that ends the programme the conductor’s firmly rhythmic treatment of the Minuet-like Finale gives suitable weight to this work. The Benda Symphonies are superbly played and are given excellent recorded sound within a spacious acoustic.

REVIEW - Gramophone - Balazs Zay

Christian Benda conducts cleverly, lively, colorfully. These are no doubt very good pieces. A valuable niche publication.


REVIEW - Classical Ear - Evan Dickerson

Much with and colourful invention... Each Sinfonia's performance is keenly accented and serves the music well, with faster movements being the main draw. There is an obvious affection in Christian Benda's conducting... The recording is bright... favouring the Prague Sinfonia's upper strings... A likeable venture.


REVIEW - Musikzen - L'air du jour - Marc Vignal

Full sunshine (4 out of 4)

Family history - Benda (Georg Benda) vigorous thanks to Benda (Christian)

Maybe this CD (only six symphonies) will be followed by another. It is to be wished, because the interpretation is of the highest caliber, both vigorous and precise, under the direction of Christian Benda.


REVIEW - klassik erleben - Helmut Peters

Christian Benda - Sinfonias

Listening to Christian Benda's fantastic recording of six symphonies by his ancestor with the Prague Sinfonia Orchestra, one is convinced that the musical language of the Bohemian composer must just be in the conductor's blood. 


REVIEW - De Volkskrant - Biella Luttmer

Prague Sinfonia Orchestra makes early classical pieces almost swinging

They blow you full in the face the sinfonias of Georg Anton Benda (1722-1795): fresh and spring-like, with strings that cannot wait to play their hectic rhythms.

The young Mozart wrote all this to his father: "I have heard here twice with the greatest pleasure Medea by Benda. Never before was I so taken. (...) You know that among the Lutheran Kapellmeister Benda was always my favorite. I love these works so much that I carry them with me. "

The instrumental pieces by the composer from the region that is now part of the Czech Republic, played by a czech symphony orchestra, led in a strikingly brilliant way by one of Benda's descendants: Christian Benda.

He has a good eye for the different characters in the works and keeps everything rhythmically so well in hand that the early classical pieces are almost swinging.


REVIEW - Pizzicato - Guy Engels

Refreshing Benda symphonies

Christian Benda shapes the six short symphonies in an equally refreshing, relish, virtuosic and captivating way. The conductor makes his orchestra shine, gives the musical text charm and provides it with delicate bright tones. The music never stops, pulsates constantly, and thanks to a detailed reading remains always exciting.


REVIEW - Radio-Canada - Frédéric Lambert

"It is precise, it is admirable and it is conducted by his direct descendant after three centuries," says Frédéric Lambert about Georg Anton Benda: Sinfonias, an album dedicated to the symphonic works of the Czech composer of the 18th century, who particularly influenced Mozart. It is indeed the violinist Christian Benda, from the same family as the composer, who conducts the Prague Sinfonia Orchestra on this opus. Frédéric Lambert calls this album a brilliant madness and explains to Catherine Perrin why he recommends it to anyone wishing to discover lesser-known composers.


REVIEW - Classique News - Lucas Irom

Nice idea of playing his symphonies...

Even on modern instruments, orchestra and conductor know how to emphasize weightlessly the expressive palette of a hypersensitive Benda. The panache, the regular pulse - despite a too distant and echoing sound, the fineness of conducting, the excellent sense of contrasts, the expressive vitality, which obviously refers to Gluck and even seems to anticipate Joseph Haydn, gives here justice to a first symphonic corpus confirming the eloquence and maturity of a composer active in the 1760s and 1770s, pioneer figure of the language of the European Enlightenment.


REVIEW - IBS - Italy

Maestro Christian Benda conducts the music of one of his ancestors with the Prague Sinfonia Orchestra

In this recording he gives us a lively interpretation of some symphonic works by Georg Anton, well known and respected by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Let us hear with satisfaction six rare symphonies in three movements in an excellent rendition also by the Prague Sinfonia Orchestra.


Previn - Renee Fleming & Christian Benda, "I Want Magic"

Here's a taste of André Prévin's gorgeous score for A Streetcar Named Desire, coming to Los Angeles Opera this month: Blanche's aria: "I Want Magic!"                        

Renee Fleming, soprano - Christian Benda, conductor - Prague Sinfonia Orchestra Look & listen.


Rossini Radio Show

If the purpose of an opera overture is to prepare the audience for the mood and emotions of the opera that follows, Rossini was a master. And yet, the overture was almost an after-thought to him. Rossini usually composed it last – often just before the opera’s opening night. In this podcast, Rick Phillips dips into all four volumes of the Naxos complete Rossini Overtures series, offering insight and background. Listen to it


NAXOS: Christian Benda conducts Rossini Vol. 4

The Complete Rossini Overtures by Christian Benda and the Prague Sinfonia Orchestra: Rossini’s ceaseless wit and invention are best exemplified in his series of operas. His colourful orchestration and command of both comic and tragic elements can be savoured in Naxos’s complete series of symphonic overtures, either in four standard CD volumes or the spectacular sonics of the two Blu-ray Audio discs. 


Christian Benda conducts Rossini Vol. 3

Here is volume 3 of the series: Curtain up for a Ball of a Time. Here is an enthusiastic review:


Christian Benda on RCA RED SEAL

RCA RED SEAL releases 'Bruch Max / de Sarasate Pablo' CD with Prague Sinfonia, Christian Benda as conductor and Fabrizio von Arx, violin.

Info: press paperback cover.


Christian Benda conducts Rossini Vol. 2

“Actually there were lots of discoveries. Many of these pieces, some of them very beautiful, are simply never performed. It was a pleasure and a privilege to discover them.” – Christian Benda on recording the complete Rossini Overtures.


Christian Benda conducts Rossini

Together with the Prague Sinfonia and the Prague Philharmonic Choir, the conductor Christian Benda has recorded the complete overtures by Gioachino Rossini for Naxos. 

Here is the highly anticipated first volume of the series

Here are enthusiastic reviews.


Teatro San Carlo, Napoli: Christian Benda, Fabrizio Von Arx, Prague Sinfonia Orchestra

san carlo 2

san carlo 1







arx 1

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Der Schauspieldirektor, Ouvertüre KV. 486

Max Bruch

Violin Concerto n. 1 in G minor, Op. 26

Pablo de Sarasate

Fantasie sur Carmen, Op. 25

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Sinfonia Haffner n. 35, in re maggiore K. 385


Vaclav Havel: 5 oct 1936 - 18 dec 2011


SCHUBERT Complete Overtures

Prague Sinfonia Orchestra and Christian Benda now on Blu-Ray Audio. Schubert wrote his first theatrical work when he was fourteen and his hopes of success in the genre, never truly realised, were long lasting. He wrote concert overtures and music for Singspiele (Song-plays), in some of which he was guided by his teacher, Salieri. The music for the melodrama Die Zauberharfe (The Magic Harp) is better known as the Overture to Rosamunde, but evidence of his captivating vitality, tunefulness and theatricality is everywhere to be heard. Of volume 1 of the CD release (8.570328) the American Record Guide wrote: ‘The Prague players relish these sun-lit and tuneful pieces and respond with great enthusiasm and affection.’ Sound format: PCM Stereo / DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Note: This Blu-ray Audio Disc is only playable on Blu-ray Disc players and not compatible with standard CD or DVD players. SCHUBERT Complete Overtures.


The Clocks of the World

Les Horloges Du Monde - The Clocks Of The World - Die Weltenuhren. 

This is a new movie project and here is the prologue.