Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Georges Onslow (July 27 1784 – October 3 1853) was a prolific French composer of noble birth and English descent, who studied with Johann Baptiste Cramer and Anton Reicha. He wrote four symphonies, several operas (including at least one, Le Colporteur, themes from which formed the subject of fantasies by other composers, like Friedrich Kuhlau's for flute and piano) and numerous chamber works stylistically at the cusp between the Classical and Romantic styles, including one of his string quintets, nicknamed The Bullet, allegedly inspired by a hunting accident in which Onslow lost some of his hearing.
His chamber music output includes sonatas for four-hand piano and for cello (alternately for viola,) wind quintets, over two dozen string quartets and a like number of string quintets playable with quartet and either cello and double bass, or with two cellos — like Schubert's and those of some other composers, though this instrumentation remains the minority. (His piano quintets likewise use double bass, like Schubert's and Louise Farrenc 's.) His second symphony (D minor, opus 42) shows some commonality of style with Beethoven, particularly in the dramatic first movement, and with Schubert.
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