The title suggests orchestra but the music here is played by Canada’s Thirteen Strings Chamber Orchestra, which, as its name suggests is 13 strong (plus conductor Kevin Mallon).
The result is a tight performance of these works, producing a pleasing CD. Franz Ignaz Beck was composing just before the “classical” period and the works performed, while rich and diverse, lack the ostentation of certain later classical works, which tends to put people off. Well it puts us off. This is simple and stylish music, and easy to listen to.
We like the sound of Mr Beck. Born in 1734 he was a German violinist, composer, conductor and music teacher, whose fame rests on his 24 symphonies (“among the most original and striking of the pre-Classical period,” writes Wikipedia).
He legged it from Germany, according to legend, after he fatally wounded an opponent in a duel. This was either a hoax or a prank in rather poor taste, the other man only pretending to be dead. How Beck must have laughed when he found out.
Beck then went to Venice before eloping to Naples with the woman who would be his wife and mother to his seven children. Interesting man, gifted composer; a fine performance and well recorded. Job done. Out now on Naxos 8573323.