The Six Pièces
, published ‘in aid of the poor’ (Onslow was well known for his charitable work), date from the late 1840s, by which time he had been elected only the second honorary member of the Philharmonic Society of London (after Mendelssohn), and to the chair of the Institut de France, in preference to Berlioz! Destined for the amateur domestic market, these unassuming pieces are Onslow’s response to Mendelssohn’s hugely popular Songs without words
. While most of them mine a vein of gentle, fireside sentimentality, No 4, in B flat minor, is an exquisitely tender valse triste
that on a ‘blind’ test might easily be mistaken for Schubert.
from notes by Richard Wigmore © 2012