One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,514 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                     Editor in Chief: John Quinn              

Some items
to consider


paid for


100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas

Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets

Deaconoff; Stockhausen

Live at the Clifton Festival

Choir at Clifton Cathedral


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Georges ONSLOW (1784 - 1853)
String Quintets - Volume 1
String Quintet No.20 in D minor Op.45 (1831) [31.22]
String Quintet No.26 in C minor Op.67 (1845) [33.38]
Elan Quintet
Benjamin Scherer Quesada (violin), Lelia Iancovici (violin), Julia Chu-Ying Hu (viola), Dmitri Tsirin (cello), Matthew Baker (double bass)
rec. Auditorio de Rafelbunyol, Rafelbunyol, Valencia, December 2015
NAXOS 8.573600 [65.06]

Georges Onslow is a composer whose stock has slowly risen in the last few years, especially for his chamber works. This new CD, marking yet another new – and very welcome – series from Naxos, amply demonstrates why this should be so.

Onslow, despite his English surname, was a French-born-and-based composer, though he spent some time in London. He was a gentleman composer, wealthy enough to compose for his own interest. Of most abiding interest are the string quartets (36 of these) and the 34 string quintets. If the remainder match the quality of the two on this CD, this will be a series to follow avidly, especially in performances as good as these.

In some of the earlier quintets, Onslow chose to use two violas or two cellos. He was not immediately convinced by the use of the double bass. On a visit to London, Onslow discovered a missing cellist, and was persuaded to let the part be filled by Domenico Dragonetti, a virtuoso bassist. Despite his reluctance, Onslow admired the depth provided and began to write supplementary parts (No.20 was originally written for two cellos but here uses the double bass parts) or to compose for the double bass (as in No.26 here). The effect is to give depth and weight to the music, something appropriate to the seriousness with which Onslow takes his work. In both quintets, there is a seriousness to the music as well as moments of quiet reflectiveness, as in the lovely Andante cantabile of No. 20 – for me, this movement alone would make this CD a must-buy. One can understand the admiration of Berlioz and Schumann, and even why the later thought Onslow a major composer of chamber music. Just occasionally, transitions are a little less smooth than with the greatest masters, but that does not detract from either the beauty of the interest of these pieces.

The Valencia-based, but international, Elan Quintet (an ensemble new to me), play with evident devotion, interest and excellence in a wonderfully clear performance. I shall return to this issue often and enthusiastically.

Michael Wilkinson

Previous review: David Barker


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat



Recordings of the Month


Conner Riddle Songs

Rodzinski Sibelius

Of Innocence and Experience


Symphonies 1, 2, 3



Aho Symphony 5

Dowland - A Fancy


Rachmaninov_ Babayan