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Chevalier St Georges

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Saint-Georges: Marie-Antoinette’s pop idol by Jessica Duchen pour THE INDEPENDENT | Guadeloupe Attitude. Published: 21 May 2007 Joseph Boulogne, the Chevalier de Saint-Georges, was nicknamed "the black Mozart", but he was a great deal more besides: an all-round celebrity, effectively a Pop Idol for the 18th century. He penned violin concertos, string quartets and operas, and conducted the premieres of some of Haydn's best symphonies; yet he was known primarily as a champion fencer, a superlative athlete and, later, the first black colonel in the French National Guard after the Revolution.

His influence extended from the pre-revolution French court to the anti-slavery movement in England. Next month at the City of London Festival there's a rare chance to sample his music in two concerts that unite the festival's themes for the year: the arts of France and the 200th anniversary of the parliamentary abolition of the slave trade. Some give Saint-Georges, as he's usually called, the birth date of 1739, others 1745; the place of birth is Guadeloupe. Today, at last, it has been revivified. Monsieur de Saint George. Le Chevalier de Saint George. Le site de la communauté noire francophone. Chevalier de Saint George Musicography. Saint-George was one of the most talented composers of African descent in the history of classical music, along with England's Samuel Coleridge (1875-1912) and America's William Grant Still (1895-1978).

In 1774, Saint-George's father died, leaving him without an annuity. In order to support himself, he began publishing a great deal of music, much of which featured the violin. Among these works were two sets of string quartets (a genre rarely practiced in France at that early date), a dozen violin concertos, and at least ten symphonies concertantes. We invite you to listen to a radio program dedicated to Saint-Georges produced by WILLfm-90.9 in Illinois, "classically black”, hosted by Roger Cooper. Historians believe that scores of Saint-George’s music were destroyed during the re-institution of slavery in France early in the 19th century.

A handful of musicians or historians have dedicated their energy in the analysis of the major black composers in classical music. Editions, Product By Saint-Georges, Joseph Boulogne de.