Simon Murphy’s new album, JET SET! Classical Glitterati, follows the musical “jet set”of the 18th century as they “do” the splendid cosmopolitan cultural epicentres of the time, including London, Paris, Berlin, Vienna and St Petersburg. Exploring the intertwining stories of these high flyers as they criss-cross the European Continent, the album (recorded with his Baroque orchestra, the New Dutch Academy) watches the sparks fly as they inspire each other in this period abuzz with creative fervour, international cultural exchange and mind-blowing talent. One of the legendary international 18th-century personalities explored through the album’s whirlwind musical program is Carl Friedrich Zelter (1758 – 1832), generator of the Bach revival in the 19th century, teacher of Mendelssohn, and friend of literary greats including Goethe.
Simon Murphy, a Dutch-based Australian conductor and violist, wrote the following piece for LimelightMagazine about the highly personal story of his relationship with Zelter’s Viola Concerto, what it was like to record it, and the fairytale-style story of the work’s creation.
Simon Murphy and Aleksandra Renska, a member of Murphy’s New Dutch Academy. Photographs supplied
When I was 16, there were two tutti viola jobs going in the Sydney...