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CD Review

Franz Ignaz Beck

Symphonies

  • Sinfonia in D Major, Op. 2 #1 (Callen 7)
  • Sinfonia in G minor, Op. 2 #2 (Callen 8)
  • Sinfonia in A Major, Op. 2 #3 (Callen 9)
  • Sinfonia in E Flat Major, Op. 2 #4 (Callen 10)
  • Sinfonia in D Major, Op. 2 #6 (Callen 12)
  • Sinfonia in G Major, Op. 2 #5 (Callen 11)
Thirteen Strings Chamber Orchestra/Kevin Mallon
Naxos 8.573323 69:45
Find it at AmazonFind it at Amazon UKFind it at Amazon GermanyFind it at Amazon CanadaFind it at Amazon FranceFind it at Amazon JapanOrder Now from ArkivMusic.comFind it at CD Universe Find it at JPC
Further music of Beck on Naxos:
3 Symphonies w/ Op. 10 #2 & Op. 13 #1 (8.553790): Amazon - UK - Germany - Canada - France - Japan - ArkivMusic - CD Universe - JPC
6 Symphonies Op. 1 #1-6 (8.554071): Amazon - UK - Germany - Canada - France - Japan - ArkivMusic - CD Universe - JPC
4 Symphonies Op. 3 #1-4 (8.570799): Amazon - UK - Germany - Canada - France - Japan - ArkivMusic - CD Universe - JPC
4 Symphonies Op. 4 #1-3 & Op. 3 #6 (8.573248): Amazon - UK - Germany - Canada - France - Japan - ArkivMusic - CD Universe - JPC
6 Symphonies Op. 4 #4-6 & Op. 3 #5 (8.573249): Amazon - UK - Germany - Canada - France - Japan - ArkivMusic - CD Universe - JPC

Naxos continues its admirable survey of Beck's "Symphonies" with a set from the composer's second opus. Kevin Mallon is a respected conductor for Naxos, with over 50 recordings to his name. Since 2010, he has been at the helm of the Thirteen Strings Chamber Orchestra, and few would question his authority in this kind of music. The sound is very fine, and the playing is predictably stylish.

However fine conductor and orchestra are, the fact remains that these are not great pieces of music. Beck wrote tuneful, unassuming pieces in the standard Classical style, and that's exactly what we have here. As background music, it has no peer. Certainly, those who are interested in the evolution of the symphony might also enjoy these works. However, this is also proof of why Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven we so important. They pushed the boundaries of music as it was understood. For all the good tunes – and they are very pretty – Beck remains a somewhat predictable composer.

Despite this, collectors of the Beck series will be pleased to know that this latest release in the series maintains the high standard of the house. The Thirteen Strings Chamber Orchestra and additional players are perhaps not as characterful as the Czech Chamber forces on previous entries, but again, they play very well. Mallon compares favorably to conductor Marek Štilec, who leads those forces, though I feel this disc sounds more "period influenced". While I cannot claim this as an essential purchase. I can't imagine anyone who does happen to give it a listen not finding a good deal of enjoyment.

Copyright © 2015, Brian Wigman

Trumpet