Grand Tour

Grand Tour
A Baroque road trip
New Dutch Academy/
Simon Murphy
Pentatone PTC5186668 (SACD)

Australian founder and Artistic Director of the New Dutch Academy Simon Murphy has a talent for invigorating the repertoire with energy and conviction. On this new release, he takes listeners on an opulent Baroque roadtrip through 18th-century Europe. A sign of the times, Grand Tour was successfully crowdfunded online in late-2016, connecting the NDA with its audience beyond the concert hall.

Murphy appears as soloist in Telemann’s cheerful Viola Concerto in G and joins violist Annegret Meder on the Bach. The disc highlights a new generation, too, including recorder virtuoso Elisabeth Champollion in Vivaldi’s wonderful Sopranino Recorder Concerto and violinists Rachael Beesley and Sonoko Asabuki with cellist Aleksandra Renska in Wassenaer’s Concerto Armonico. Karl Nyhlin performs Vivaldi’s Lute Concerto on the instrument for which it was written, the gallichon (also known as a mandora) – this is, surprisingly, the first such recording. The tour opens and closes on a high note with Handel arias from Myrsini Margariti.

These are vibrant performances, recorded, appropriately, in the immersive acoustics of the Gothic Hall of the Council of the State in The Hague. Released on SACD, listeners with the appropriate equipment can enjoy it in high-quality, multichannel stereo. An excellent introduction to the era, Murphy highlights the technical intricacies of the Baroque and the pure joy of the music.