The name of George Onslow is happily cropping up quite often nowadays and I must confess that I have been utterly enthralled by his chamber music after encountering the first volume of quintets on the MD&G label. This second volume featuring Op. 34 and 35 was thus eagerly anticipated by this reviewer.
The A minor work has a splendid opening movement lasting all of thirteen minutes with an almost symphonic scope that is quite marvelously played by Quintetto Momento Musicale. The Minuet is also pretty dapper whilst the pensive Adagio espressivo is also very beautiful. The final Allegro non troppo presto is a suitable conclusion to this fine work that is most certainly one of the most impressive I've heard in recent years.
The G Major is slightly more sunny and optimistic with a rambling Allegro spirituoso assai that opens proceedings in a very positive manner. Onslow again places the slow movement in third place and the Andante cantabile is quite ravishing whilst the Presto finale is also quite magnificent.
I may seem overtly enthusiastic on this composer but MD&G have definitely hit on a rare breed, the unknown and overlooked genius in the shape of George Onslow. The magnificent painting on the front depicting the children of Charles the First also matches perfectly with the previous issue's depiction. The musicians of Quintetto Momento Musicale are sympathetic and committed interpreters summing up one of the major chamber releases of the year.
Copyright © 2004, Gerald Fenech