The present work is one of a comparatively small number of Beck's symphonies which do not appear to have been published in his lifetime. As no contemporary catalogue references to the work are known, its date of composition is difficult to establish with any certainty beyond the fact that it is probably not an early work. Its four movement cycle suggests that it may date from relatively late in Beck's career as a symphonist.
This edition is based on the sole surviving source, a set of contemporary manuscript parts of unknown provenance now preserved in the Sor Akademi Bibliotek in Denmark. The wrapper reads: 'Sinfonia / 2. Violini / 2. Oboe Flauti, / 2. Corni, / Viola e / Basso / Beck'. In the absence of both the autograph score and an authentic set of parts, the edition presents as faithfully as possible the intentions of the composer as transmitted in the Sorø parts. The style and notation of articulation and dynamic markings have been standardized throughout and, where missing, reconstructed from parallel passages. These are indicated by the use of dotted slurs or brackets where appropriate. Like most eighteenth-century sources, the Sor copy is inconsistent in its notation of appoggiature ; these too have been standardized to minimize confusion. Obvious wrong notes have been corrected without comment; editorial emendations with no authority from the source are placed within brackets.