An English aristocrat with a mixed heritage, Georges Onslow was highly regarded for his musical talents during his lifetime, being praised by Berlioz and Schumann and becoming known as the ‘French Beethoven’. Onslow composed 34 string quintets at a time when the string quartet was dominant, and his discovery of the double bass to replace the second cello was transformative. Challenging notions of stringed instruments as being merely lyrical in character, these quintets are striking for their contrasts of warm expressiveness and great dramatic intensity. They are true hidden gems to rival the great composers of chamber music in this era.
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