Birth of the Symphony - Early Mannheim String Symphonies

Celebrating the birth of the symphony and of the symphony orchestra at the Mannheim court in the middle of the 18th century, these two discs give electrifying insights into the enlightened vision and raw musical energy of two of the most central composers of the legendary "Mannheimer Schule", F.X. Richter and the "father of the symphony" himself, Johann Stamitz.

Documenting some of the very first symphonies ever written, these two CDs explore the establishment of the symphonic language and medium in Mannheim, honouring the enormous contribution made to western cultural history by Stamitz and his court colleagues by creating the phenomenon of "the symphony".  

What the critics say:

“daring and full of character ... Murphy and his orchestra bring the melodic figures and rhetorical effects in the [Mannheim] symphonies to life with a fantastic flair – energising performances” (Haagsche Courant).

“Vibrant, energetic and wonderfully secure playing ... sumptuous” (Gramophone Awards Issue)

“Murphy makes the music of the Mannheim masters come alive – dancing, swinging … Finally the Mannheimers sound like they should – the of joy the new, the excitement of the sense of discovery, the euphoric rush of a Mannheim skyrocket!”  (Parool, the Netherlands)

“The hottest property on the European baroque scene is the New Dutch Academy directed by Simon Murphy, a viola-playing wunderkind … Since the group's emergence in early 2002, it has scored international festival raves and a raft of recording awards. ... a textbook illustration of style and presentation. ... authentic period instruments, embossed with glorious mellifluous playing ... The performance is full-blooded … Replete with swashbuckling dynamic contrasts, piquant continuo parts and soaring Mannheim rockets, it puts flesh on the cobwebbed skeletons of Haydn's predecessors and drags musicology into the hypercritical glare of the contemporary concert platform.” (The Australian)

“One of the most interesting musical projects of the moment – exploring one of the fundamental facets of music – the symphony.” (CD Compact, Spain)