Notes and Editorial Reviews
As a pianist and cellist Georges Onslow had a particular affinity with chamber music, and his String Quartets are given an almost orchestral quality with their addition of the rich sonorities of a double bass. String Quintet No. 28, with an especially beautiful Adagio with more than a trace of the influence of Mendelssohn, combines Baroque poise with expressive Romantic writing, while String Quartet No. 29 is light-hearted and good-natured, with hints of Schubert in its melancholy lyricism and unexpected key changes. In praising the Elan Quintet’s first volume, a MusicWeb International reviewer declared, “I cannot fault their playing: their tonal quality is ravishing, their ensemble perfect.” The combination of string quartet with double bass has opened up a richness of tone and distinct soundscape that the Elan Quintet has dedicated itself to exploring, celebrating works by renowned composers such as Schubert, Dvorak, and Cambini, working with contemporary artists in creating new works for quintet, and rediscovering neglected masterpieces by composers including Onslow and Bridge.
The present two Quintets came from the latter part of Onslow's life, and, placing them in a time-frame, also after the death of Beethoven, yet were still in the style of Mozart. Forget that aspect and simply enjoy the geniality of uncomplicated music making. In both works Onslow calls for a degree of technical expertise, and we thankfully have the young Spanish quintet, Elan, as the hugely talented performers. Add to this a quite superb sound, the instruments perfectly balanced, and I do urge you to discover these ‘World Premiere Recordings’.
– David’s Review Corner (David Denton)