Nonet for strings and winds in A minor, Op.77
String Quintet in C minor, Op.44
Wolfgang Güttler (double bass)
Recorded in December 2003 in Sendesaal, Villa Berg, Stuttgart
Reviewed by: Colin Anderson
Reviewed: November 2006
CD No: CPO 777 151-2
Duration: 66 minutes
George Onslow (1784-1853) was French of English descent. He was an amateur cellist of independent means and wrote a large amount of chamber music. Previous experience of Onslow’s works in this genre has proved most enjoyable; his melodic craft and instrumental fluency are noteworthy and afford much pleasure.
The variety afforded by wind (flute, oboe, clarinet, horn and bassoon) and strings (violin, viola, cello and double bass) give a range of colour and incident to the Nonet, which is full of vitality with curvaceous lines. This is music totally untroubled by outside influences; what matters here is that music is an art in itself and that the listener should be beguiled.
Just occasionally some suspense enters Onslow’s creativity, the slow introduction to the String Quintet (2 violins, viola, cello and double bass) for example; this work too is generally unbridled and also not without subtlety or imagination – the scherzo-like Minuet is marked Allegro impetuoso, for example, quite a whirlwind, in fact, and there is plenty of dynamism in the finale.
Music to enjoy and admire. These performances are first rate, and the musicians have plenty of insight into and sympathy for Onslow’s vibrant pieces. The recording is also excellent.