JOSEPH SCHMITT: Early Symphonies and Chamber Music – New Dutch Academy /Simon Murphy, director – Pentatone Classics

by | Nov 1, 2006 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

JOSEPH SCHMITT: Early Symphonies and Chamber Music – New Dutch Academy /Simon Murphy, director – Pentatone Classics PTC 5186 039 Multichannel SACD, 78 min. *****:

Dutch composer Joseph Schmitt was a contemporary of C.P.E. Bach, Mozart and Haydn. His music teacher, Karl Friedrich Abel, numbered one Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart among his pupils. Schmitt hobnobbed with the musical and cultural elite of the eighteenth century, yet he’s virtually unknown in modern times. Most of Schmitt’s known works came from relatively early in his career, when he concentrated mainly on religious composition, but a great deal of scholarly investigation has recently proved that much of his mid-to-late compositional output has been wrongly attributed to Haydn! This superb period-instrument disc from Pentatone strives to restore Schmitt’s name to the pantheon he so richly deserves.

Schmitt’s original manuscripts were recently discovered in the library of the Stockholm Music Academy, and have been employed for these recordings. To say that the music is “Haydenesque” is an understatement, especially since we’ve probably heard much of this music before and unknowingly attributed it to Haydn. This music deserves to be heard in its present context, however, as it sheds an entirely new light on all the included orchestral and chamber works. And while I tend to ride the fence with regard to period instrument performances – I’m definitely onboard for this superb disc!

The 5.0 multichannel hybrid SACD is sourced from a DSD original, and offers superb sound for both stereo and surround listening. The multichannel layer offers a stage perspective, and immerses the listener within the instrumentalists, while preserving the acoustic of the recorded space. Five stars – very highly recommended!

— Tom Gibbs
 

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