Jean-Claude Féret

George Onslow: Quartet n°34 opus 65

I must admit that I did hesitate to put that recording here (and the 3 others from the same concert), since the few weeks of rehearsing for them were very far from running smoothly and in the necessary peace of mind. Indeed, for two members of our quartet, those few weeks had been probably among the hardest of their life, and all of us, we where strongly affected by it. For the first one, it was the horrible agony of a dear one, and as for the second, it was an escape and hiding from home with an very young kid, to escape brutality and physical violence… but « Ridi Pagliacci! »

That been said as a testimony of admiration for those two friends and colleagues, for their professionalism and their tenacity, and even if I dont believe that concert to have been one of our bests, I still think that this recording is worth listening to, only would it be for the quality of the works that had never been otherwise recorded.

It seems that everything was against its normal course for that concert… there was such a rain fall all the way through (to be heard on the cassette, that's no tape noise !), and thunder too, even so close from the castel than an alarm suddenly started to call (I tried to filter as much as possible of it)

And there were other things too, for instance, the cassette runned to its end before the end of the finale of one of the quartets (Bernhard Molique), and so, turned around automatically, but missed few bars of music. And, as for the Onslow, well, the second side runned out before the end of the finale just at the beginning of the last reexposition, before the coda.

So, I took the decision, better than leaving that end part empty, to try to find a solution, and so, I did use for the reexposition everything I could, that was extant at the beginning of the piece, just stopping at a place were it could tonaly be OK to stop, and adding two chords at the end, almost the same as the missing ones, but taken from another movement. As it is, it's only noticeable when knowing the work, and there is only few bars missing from the original. But principaly, it holds the route… it's little bit like restauring an old painting.

That quartet is a magistral work, dating from 1843, full with contrasts, with lyricism, rich and overflowing with ideas, but which also shows a great aptitude and the perfect mastery from the composer .


I) Introduzione (Lento) – Allegro

II) Adagio cantabile e sostenuto molto

III) Allegro moderato – Poco piu animato – Tempo primo

IV) Finale


Concert Pupitre 14




George Onslow

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George Onslow