Magazine article Strings

George Onslow: Nonet Op. 77, Quintet Op. 44

Magazine article Strings

George Onslow: Nonet Op. 77, Quintet Op. 44

Article excerpt

George Onslow: Nonet Op. 77, Quintet Op. 44. Ma'alot Quintet. Mandelring Quartet: Sebastian and Nanette Schmidt, violin; Roland Glassl, viola; Bernhard Schmidt, cello; Wolfgang Guttler, double bass. (CPO 777151-2)

George Onslow (1784-1853) had a strange history and a strange career. His father, an English aristocrat and budding politician, became the center of a sex scandal that he evaded by moving to France, where he was welcomed into the landed gentry and married a famous beauty of noble ancestry.

George, their oldest son, displayed an early talent for music. Though the revolution disrupted his idyllic youth, George studied piano with some of Europe's most famous teachers. He acquired enough musical background to teach himself composition from books and the model of the Viennese masters, getting no formal instruction until years later.

After writing an opera and many piano pieces, he devoted himself almost exclusively to chamber music, gradually establishing a considerable reputation. Real fame, however, eluded him, and though he divided his time between France and England, neither country would claim him as its own. After his death his music fell into oblivion.

It was rescued by the Mandelring Quartet, one of the most esteemed, interesting European quartets and winner of several prestigious prizes and recording awards.

The Mandelrings have made a specialty of discovering, performing, and recording the works of unjustly neglected composers, past and present, including Brahms' friend Friedrich Gernsheim and the German emigre composer Berthold Goldschmidt (19031996). …

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