Conductor Simon Murphy has been with PentaTone since the beginnings of the label, with fellow PentaTone recording artists including Julia Fischer, Arabella Steinbacher, Edo de Waart, Lawrence Foster, Hans Vonk and Sir Colin Davis. During the past 10 years, Murphy has made substantial contributions to the label's catalogue, presenting a series of major new musical discoveries including world première recordings of symphonies by 18th century composers Schmitt, Graaf, Stamitz, Schwindl and Zappa.
“The Dutch Haydn”, Joseph Schmitt (1734 – 1791), first came to Murphy's attention in 1995 during a visit to the Amsterdam Historic Museum. Murphy saw composer/conductor Schmitt pictured in a canvas of the 1788 opening concert of the Amsterdam concert hall, the “Felix Meritis” (below), and was inspired to go on a search of his music.
Listen to Schmitt's Symphony in E flat "The Hurdy Gurdy"
Originally a musical priest from Kloster Eberbach, Schmitt was a student of Carl Friedrich Abel (star Bach student and Mozart mentor) and came into early contact with the Mannheim masters. Schmitt moved to Amsterdam in the early 1770's where he became the singularly most important musical figure in the Netherlands in the second half of the 18th century, working there as a composer, conductor, music director, teacher, theorist and publisher. His music exhibits a wonderful vibrancy and cosmopolitanism. He displays, with an highly original voice, an immense knowledge of the diversity of the musical styles and languages of his day.
In 2006, some 10 years after first laying eyes on Schmitt, Murphy presented the composer's symphonic music to the world for the first time on disc (PentaTone SA-CD, PTC 5186 039). The recording of Schmitt's early symphonies was the result of 7 years of extensive international research by Murphy into the composer and his music. Murphy located the composer's works in archives and historic music collections in the Netherlands, Germany and Sweden.
The resulting CD production has been most enthusiastically received by the world's music press:
Le "Haydn hollandais": un compositeur tout en verve, que sert avec un entrain irrésistible la New Dutch Academy de Simon Murphy. (Le Soir - “Nos coups de coeur”)
Holländischer Haydn – Gleich einer frischen sommerlichen Brise aus Holland kommt diese Neuproduktion mit Werken der Joseph Schmitt daher ... Die unverbraucht spritzig klingende New Dutch Academy legt ein geradezu flammende Pläydoyer für diesen bislang unterschätzen Meister vor. ... Viele Effekt – etwa anrührende Pianissimi, auf die unmittelbar Fortissimo-Passagen, lassen den durchaus eigensinnigen Komponisten erkennen. Diese Bandbreite der musikalischen Ausdrucksmöglichkeiten fulminant darzustellen, ist der New Dutch Academy offensichtlich eine Freude. ... Packend, spieltechnisch brillant – und nicht zuletzt wieder mit einem besonderen Augenmerk auf der Ausgestaltung des Basses – führt die New Dutch Academy durch diesen bislang unbekannten Schaffenskosmos. Sehr zu empfehlen! (Concerto, Germany)
Simon Murphy (Sydney, 1973) is Chief Conductor of The Hague's Baroque Orchestra, the international award winning "The New Dutch Academy" (NDA). Recent performance highlights have included appearances at the Händel Festival Halle and Bachfest Leipzig, for the Zaterdagmatinee at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, and cycles of the symphonies of Stamitz, Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven for Dutch radio. In season 2011-2012, the Murphy and the NDA present well and lesser known 18th century masterpieces by Corelli, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Cimarosa, Paisiello, Rossini and their contemporaries in the orchestra's symphonic, Baroque orchestral and chamber series at home in The Hague and around the Netherlands. Upcoming tours take the orchestra through eastern Europe and Asia.
2012-2013 sees Murphy and the NDA orchestra celebrate their 10 year anniversary together.
Listen to the CD
Watch Murphy and the NDA perform Schmitt's “Hurdy Gurdy” Symphony live in concert
Read more about Simon Murphy on www.simonmurphyconductor.com
Read Murphy's liner notes
Murphy's performing editions of the symphonies of Schmitt are available for hire via Albersen's music