Onslow, (André) Georges (Louis)

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Onslow, (André) Georges (Louis)

Onslow, (André) Georges (Louis), noted French composer of English descent; b. Clermont-Ferrand, July 27, 1784; d. there, Oct. 3, 1853. He was the grandson of the first Lord Onslow. He studied in London with Hüllmandel, Dussek, and Cramer (piano) and in Paris with Reicha (composition). He wrote three comic operas, produced in Paris, L’Alcalde de la Vega (Aug. 10, 1824), Le colporteur, ou L’enfant du bûcheron (Nov. 22, 1827), and Guise, ou Les états de Blois (Sept. 8, 1837), as well as four syms. and other orch. music. However, these works failed to maintain interest. On-slow’s real achievement was the composition of a great number of chamber works, in which he demonstrated an uncommon mastery of counterpoint. He wrote 34 string quintets, 35 string quartets, six piano trios, Sextet for Flute, Clarinet, Horn, Bassoon, Double Bass, and Piano, Nonet for Violin, Viola, Cello, Double Bass, Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, and Horn, Septet for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Horn, Bassoon, Double Bass, and Piano, violin sonatas, cello sonatas, piano sonatas, four- hands, and piano pieces. He was struck by a stray bullet during a hunting expedition in 1829 and became deaf in one ear; his Quintet No. 15, subtitled Le Quintette de la balle, was the musical rendering of this episode.


L. Halévy, Notice sur O. (Paris, 1855); C. Vulliamy, The O. Family, 1528–1874 (London, 1953); C. Nobach, Untersuchungen zu G. O.s Kammermusik (Basel, 1985).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire