‘The French Beethoven’ unmasked by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

Onslow/Beethoven: OAE/Roth ***

Royal Festival Hall, 22nd October 2014

François-Xavier Roth © Marco Borggreve

François-Xavier Roth
© Marco Borggreve

The name George Onslow may conjure up images of whippets, pints and rolling Yorkshire dales, but he was in fact born in Clermont-Ferrand in 1784 and was known as ‘the French Beethoven’. Admittedly, his grandfather was the 1st Earl of Onslow, but we’ll let that pass. Onslow’s career as a composer rested largely on chamber music; he wrote 36 string quartets and 34 string quintets. However, among his larger-scale works lurk four symphonies, the first of which – in A major – featured in this programme from the period instrument Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

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