Franz Ignaz Beck, the greatest of Stamitz's pupils, led a colourful and eventful life. Fleeing Mannheim after fighting a duel with a jealous rival, he moved to Venice. After eloping with his patron's daughter, he finally ended up in France where he lived for nearly fifty years.
Beck's symphonies have long been admired for their inventiveness, startling use of bold harmonies and dramatic intensity. The most striking work in this set is the G Minor Symphony with its powerful, driving outer movements and unsettling Andante.
• New Zealand Chamber Orchestra
• Donald Armstrong
When Naxos records any of their CDs, nothing is ever skimped on. The recording may be of budget price, however quality is of the utmost. The CDs all have clear, well-written notes on the composer, the orchestra, soloists and conductors, in their trademark, clutter-free booklet.
This recording of Beck is no exception to Naxos' recordings and is a welcome addition to their stable. The New Zealand Chamber Orchestra led by Donald Armstrong confidently interprets the scoring for each of the six symphonies by Beck.
Though unfamiliar with Beck, and his counterparts as mentioned in the booklet, written by Allan Badley, Naxos capably introduce his life and works, for the new listener to lesser known composers as enough information for the avid collector of the lesser known composers.
The recording is confident, alluring and irresistible. The music is full of colour and vibrancy, and enough variation in mood throughout the recording that make the hour of listening a roller-coaster of emotion that passes all too quickly. This is an essential recording for anyone with an interest lesser-known music and composers.
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