Consortium Classicum: George Onslow Nonet in A minor

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George Onslow (1784-1853) - Nonet in A minor, Op. 77 (1848)
Consortium Classicum
Onslow (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I. Allegro spiritoso [0:00]
II. Scherzo. Agitato [9:29]
III. Tema con variazioni [14:59]
IV. Finale. Largo - Allegretto quasi Allegro [26:05]

«Notwithstanding the considerable impact of his substantial output on the early 19th century music scene, George Onslow remains largely unknown today. The son of an English father and a French (Auvergne-born) mother, Onslow was a "European citizen" before the term was even invented but also a composer of calibre. With its variety and distinct idiomatic style that were definitely unique for his time, Onslow's music resists 19th and 20th century critics' all too hasty attempts at categorization. No one today would call him a "minor" or "transitional" composer. [...]

The Nonet Op. 77 was composed in the aftermath of an 1846 journey to England. Onslow was received in the best musical and society circles of the capital and invited to the prestigious London Musical Union concerts. It is probably on one such occasion that he was introduced to Prince Albert, Queen Victoria's husband, who showed aptitude and a taste for music. A year later, the Prince had a splendid edition of his works, complete with a dedication, sent to Onslow... Extremely flattered, the composer dedicated a nonet to Prince Albert in return. The Parisian 'Société de musique classique' gave the French premiere of the piece on March 25. The nonet was well received and the 'France Musicale' reviewer noted, rather pertinently, that the composer rarely writes "so as to put this or that instrument forward; his style is rather that of a dialogue carrying melodic motifs from one instruments to the other, each getting an equal share."[...]»

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