Magazine article Gramophone

Onslow: 'String Quintets

Magazine article Gramophone

Onslow: 'String Quintets

Article excerpt

Onslow 'String Quintets, Vol 1' String Quintets--No 20, Op 45; No 26, Op 67 Elan Quintet Naxos (M) 8 573600 (65' * DDD)

Amateur chamber musicians will need no introduction to Georges Onslow. One of his 30-odd two-cello quintets usually gets pulled from the bag when a group is looking for something to play after the Schubert C major; not exactly a flattering comparison for any composer. These works are a slightly different matter. Apparently inspired by a meeting with Dragonetti, Onslow wrote four quintets with double bass, Op 67 among them, and authorised an optional bass part in several others--an option the Elan Quintet has taken here in Op 45.

And, it has to be said, these five players make a beguiling case for this music. Their ensemble sound is attractive: it is warm and slightly inward which, combined with the small-room acoustic, makes for a real chamber-music feeling. Listen to the tender, almost viola-like tone of Dmitri Tsirin's cello in the Andante of Op 67 or leader Benjamin Scherer Quesada's sweet, playful asides in the same work's Scherzo. …

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