ONSLOW George, Nonet in A Op.77

Allegro spirituoso
Scherzo. Agitato
Tema con variazioni
Finale. Largo – Allegretto quasi Allegro


Onslow was born in Clemont-Ferrand, the son of an aristocratic British family. He studied with Cramer and Dussek, and though travelling widely, he always remained loyal to the Auvergne working as a successful farmer as well as composing a large body of chamber music (including thirty-six string quartets) along with four symphonies and operas. His music was admired by Schumann and Mendelssohn, and the Nonet, composed in 1848, is dedicated to Prince Albert. The first movement has a nervous energy that is quite characteristic, and from the very start it’s clear that Onslow makes imaginative use of the ensemble. The Scherzo that follows has an unusual combination of austerity and charm, based on pithy Beethovenian main idea. The slow movement is theme with five variations. After a slow introduction, the finale is gently animated, working its way towards a dramatic conclusion.


Nigel Simeone © 2012


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