String Quartet No.8 in a minor, Op.9 No.2
“String Quartet No.9, Op.9 No.2 is the second of a set of three which were composed sometime between 1813 and 1815. The Op.9 quartets, often called the Lord Onslow Quartets since they were dedicated to his grandfather an important English political leader, though early works, show important advances which were the result of his study with Anton Reicha. The Allegro vivace assai to Op. 9 No.2 in a minor, Quartet No.8 begins with a syncopated solo in the second violin. After two measures, the cello enters with a slowly rising, then falling chromatic theme in its lowest register. The music then takes off in a great rush, virtually tripping over itself with off-beat accents. This is vintage Onslow from his early period. It leaves nothing to be desired! A Minuetto presto is placed second. Though in 3/4, it features a canonic theme beginning on beat 2 but giving the feeling that it is beat one. The music, which moves along at quite a clip, does not really have a contrasting trio but the listener is hardly aware of this. An Andante non troppo lento comes next. In 6/8 and c minor, a doleful French folksong breaks forth. Several powerfully poignant duets between the first violin and cello follow before the fetchingly chromatic denouement. The finale to the quartet, Scherzo, Allegro, is quite effective and brings the work to a satisfying end."---The Chamber Music Journal
Perhaps no composer more than George Onslow (1784-1853) illustrates the fickleness of fame. Onslow was born and lived his entire life in France, the son of an English father and French mother. His 36 string quartets and 34 string quintets were a constant feature of concert programs throughout the 19th century, particularly in Germany, Austria and England. where he was regularly placed in the front rank of composers by such experts as Mendelssohn and Schumann. His work was admired by both Beethoven and Schubert, the latter modeling his own 2 cello quintet (D.956) on those of Onslow and not, as is so often claimed, on those of Boccherini. George Onslow's String Quartet No.4 was one of the most popular and frequently performed quartets of its time. Yet, until a few years ago, both he and this quartet were virtually unknown.
Our new edition is based on the original Pleyel edition but has been entirely reset. We have removed the "false treble clef" in the cello part which appears in all of the other previous editions and which has always been a problem for cellists. Instead, we have substituted the bass and tenor clefs which greatly improves the readability.