André George Louis Onslow (1784–1853) was an Anglo-French composer. He was widely recognised as a gifted composer during his lifetime but is virtually forgotten today.
His 36 string quartets and 34 string quintets were, during his own lifetime and up to the end of the 19th century, held in the highest regard, particularly in Germany, Austria and England, where he was regularly placed in the front rank of composers. His work was admired by both Beethoven and Schubert. Robert Schumann, perhaps the foremost music critic during the first part of the 19th century, regarded Onslow’s chamber music as on a par with that of Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven. Publishers such as Breitkopf & Härtel and Kistner were among many who competed to bring out his works. Such was Onslow’s reputation that he was elected to succeed Luigi Cherubini as Director of the prestigious Académie des Beaux-Arts, based on the excellence of his chamber music. However, after the First World War, his music, along with that of so many other fine composers, fell into oblivion and up until 1984, the bicentennial of his birth, he remained virtually unknown.
This disc is the first to propose an interpretation on gut strings of Onslow's Quartets.