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CD Review

George Onslow

  • Nonet in A minor for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Horn, Bassoon, Violin, Viola, Cello & Bass, Op. 77
  • Septet "Grand" in B Flat Major for Piano, Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Horn, Bassoon & Bass, Op. 79
Stefan Irmer, piano
Consortium Classicum
Dabringhaus & Grimm MDG3011480-2 70m DDD
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MD&G's ongoing discography dedicated to George Onslow (1784-1853) has reached its fifth instalment, and what a peach of a disc this is! Onslow had English and French noble blood running in his veins, and this was very evident in his cosmopolitan chamber works which were hugely popular.

Apart from his prowess as a composer, Onslow was also a prodigious pianist, and his performances were always well attended. Towards the end of his career he became enamoured with wind instruments, when technical advances aroused his interest in the genre.

The two works on this disc are the result of this keenness. The Nonet dates from 1846 and is dedicated to Prince Albert, Queen Victoria's husband. In the Septet, Onslow gives considerable priority to the piano and the piece can actually be considered as a "quasi" piano concerto. The music is steeped in the great romantic tradition and contains some astonishing ensemble writing brimming with great melodic invention.

The Consortium Classicum and Stefan Irmer rise to the occasion with dashing enthusiasm and their amazing sense of unison gives the music a freshness and vigour of an almost symphonic nature. The recording and presentation are top drawer as we have come to expect from MD&G.

Copyright © 2008 by Gerald Fenech