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Paul Ballyk
Expedition Audio, March 2015

With their taut formal design, dramatic character, daring harmonic progressions and Beck’s skillful ability to hold his listener in suspense for extended periods of development, these symphonies are highly rewarding and enjoyable to hear. © 2015 Expedition Audio Read complete review

David R. Dunsmore
MusicWeb International, January 2015

The recording is first rate and captures the sound of the chamber orchestra most effectively.

These Symphonies are by no means masterworks but they are very pleasant and melodic. Here is a composer who mastered the symphonic medium and it is to be regretted that having reached that point he then abandoned the form. © 2015 MusicWeb International Read complete review, November 2014

The Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Pardubice under Marek Štilec plays these pieces with fine style and just enough dramatic flair to show Beck’s largely unknown but nevertheless significant contribution to symphonic development in the 18th century. © 2014 Read complete review

David Hurwitz, October 2014

…conductor Marek Štilec leads with well-jedged tempos and brings plenty of life to the music—energy without crudeness. This release will give a great deal of pleasure to anyone interested in the best symphonic works of the early classical period. © 2014 Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, October 2014

I once wrote that, ‘it would be no exaggeration to claim that the Sinfonias of Franz Beck were the role model upon which the era of Haydn and Mozart was fashioned’. His first Sinfonias date from the 1750’s, before Mozart was born, and he lived through those years of rapid change that lead to Beethoven’s symphonies being performed. The early years in Beck’s life are not well chronicled, but he was certainly a pupil of Johann Stamitz, and was said to have had the ability to play a wide range of instruments. For that time he also appears to have travelled much around Europe as a performer and conductor of some renown, including a period as conductor at the Grand Theatre in Bordeaux. He was also at that time teaching, and became well known for his organ improvisations. Having achieved so much at a very early age, including the early inclusion of a Minuet to extend the Sinfonia into a four movement format, it is unclear why he lost interest in this genre, the series of six published as opus 4 in 1766, being the most important. Stylistically they had come a long way from the sinfonias used as a prelude to stage works, and he possessed a ready gift for producing readily memorable thematic material. He was particularly outstanding in the dramatic mode that he always employed as his opening movements, the opening of the third of opus 4 being particularly notable, though maybe his Minuets were a little heavy-handed, and more akin to an early scherzo. The Czech performances, conducted by the young Marek Štilec, fill the works with vitality, and though the sleeve does not make clear if period instruments are being used, the rustic horns would indicate that is the case. Certainly a chamber ensemble with a pleasing sound that is very well recorded. © 2014 David’s Review Corner

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