Sunday, 3 February 2013

Zappa – New Research Unveiled

Following his 2009 world première CD recording of Zappa's symphonic music, Dutch-based Australian conductor Simon Murphy (Sydney, 1973) presents new research this month containing previously unknown facts about the master musician and composer.

Until now, little was known about the life of The Hague-based Italian 18th century cellist and composer Francesco Zappa (1717 – 1803). An esteemed colleague of 18th century cellists Boccherini and Filz, Zappa worked at the Court of Orange in The Hague, travelled Europe as a virtuoso performer, and had his music published by the leading publishing houses of the day, including the Dutch firm of the Hummel brothers founded in The Hague in the 1750's.

Resulting from years of extensive musical and archival research, Murphy and colleague researcher, Dutch historian Cornelia Klugkist have uncovered a considerable amount of new information about the composer. Including birth and death dates, residential addresses, and concert activities, this information is published in a new article and is now available on the website of The Hague's Baroque orchestra, The New Dutch Academy (NDA).

Background – Murphy's recordings of Zappa's symphonic music 

Murphy surprised the world in 2009 with the first recording of Zappa's symphonic music.

Labelled an eye-opener by the Dutch press, the Netherlands' classical music magazine Klassieke Zaken said of the disc “brilliant performances – a fascinating view of the rich musical traditions of The Hague with the wonderful orchestral sound of the NDA”. German national radio, Deutschlandfunk, said  “When it comes to the subject of Crown Jewels, the Dutch can definitely hold their own with the British. The New Dutch Academy presents a musical exhibition of seven high-carat examples from the Classical epoch, including totally stunning new masterworks. Under no circumstances should one miss this!”

The American Record Guide confirmed with the statement “This is one of the finest SACD recordings I have heard. ... The recording is gorgeous, giving finely balanced and well-placed performances of these works ... Anyone with an interest in off the beaten track late 18th c. music owes it to himself to obtain this SACD.” US Pop Matters reported “Different Zappa, Different Time, Different Place, Same Excitement”.

The recordings of Zappa followed Murphy's previous unveiling of another unknown Dutch-based 18th century composer, Joseph Schmitt “The Dutch Haydn” (1734 – 1791).

Zappa's workplace: the court city of The Hague in the 18th century

(painting La Fargue, Haags Historisch Museum)

Background – About Simon Murphy 

Simon Murphy (Sydney, 1973) is chief-conductor of The Hague's Baroque Orchestra, The New Dutch Academy. He studied with the leading lights of the Dutch early music movement, performing extensively with legendary figures such as Gustav Leonhardt. Murphy has won much recognition for his work as a “repertoire refresher”, presenting fresh perspectives on established masterpieces and introducing newly rediscovered musical gems.

Zappa research 

Murphy and Klugkist's research on Zappa and other 18th century Dutch-based composers forms part of the activities of the NDA's Research Lab - committed to shedding new light on the music and culture of the 18th century, including the Netherlands' own, highly cosmopolitan, 18th century musical heritage.

Initial new information on Zappa by Murphy and Klugkist was first published in the UK's quarterly early music magazine, Musica Antiqua, in late 2012. Full results of the research will be published on the NDA site in mid-February 2013.

Murphy's performing editions of the symphonies of Zappa, Graaf, Schmitt “The Dutch Haydn” and other composers active in 18th century Holland are available for hire via Dutch publisher Albersen.

Listen to Murphy's recording of Zappa Symphonies here.

Relevant Links



Murphy's world première recording of symphonies from
The Hague's Court of Orange
Symphonies by Graaf, C. Stamitz, Schwindl and Zappa

Murphy's “legendary” recording of Corelli's Concerti Grossi
made with the NDA at the Holland Festival of Early Music Utrecht
recently chosen in the top five highlights of the festival's 30 year history

More Info

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