Joseph Bologne, Chevalier De Saint-georges (1745-1799)

Episodes

SeriesEpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
RepeatedComments
01An American in Paris2017011620190820 (R3)

Presented by Donald Macleod

Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges began life in 1745 as the illegitimate son of a Guadeloupe plantation owner and an African slave, going on to become one of the most fashionable people in Paris. Not only was he a composer and virtuosic violinist, but also a notable athlete, gaining much renown at fencing. His music teachers included Leclair and Gossec, and he would eventually take over conducting the Concert des Amateurs, an orchestra that frequently premiered his violin concertos with Saint-Georges as the soloist. The Concert des Amateurs went on to become one of the best orchestras in Europe under his direction. Saint-Georges also founded La Loge Olympique, which commissioned Haydn's Paris symphonies. His connections with royalty and the aristocracy would eventually lead him into trouble during the French Revolution. Although appointed Colonel of the Legion of Americans, he remained under suspicion and was eventually imprisoned for over a year. He ended his days in a Paris he hardly recognised, and died in 1799.

Joseph learned the violin from an early age, tutored by a man called Plato, his father's plantation manager in Guadeloupe. He went on to become not only a brilliant violinist, but also would compose many works for his instrument in different combinations.

By 1749 Saint-Georges and his family had moved to Paris where he soon found himself enrolled at a specialist fencing school run by Nicholas Texier de La Boëssière, inventor of the fencing mask. The young Joseph took to fencing immediately, and would not only become a celebrated composer with many aristocratic patrons, but also one of the leading fencers of his day in all of France.

String Quartet in D major, Op 14 No 1
Apollon Quartet

Harpsichord Sonata No 6 in E major
Anne Robert, harpsichord

Violin Concerto No 10 in G major
Qian Zhou, violin
Toronto Camerata
Kevin Mallon, conductor

Producer Luke Whitlock.

Donald Macleod focuses on Saint-Georges's arrival in Paris.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

01An American in Paris2017011620190820 (R3)

Presented by Donald Macleod

Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges began life in 1745 as the illegitimate son of a Guadeloupe plantation owner and an African slave, going on to become one of the most fashionable people in Paris. Not only was he a composer and virtuosic violinist, but also a notable athlete, gaining much renown at fencing. His music teachers included Leclair and Gossec, and he would eventually take over conducting the Concert des Amateurs, an orchestra that frequently premiered his violin concertos with Saint-Georges as the soloist. The Concert des Amateurs went on to become one of the best orchestras in Europe under his direction. Saint-Georges also founded La Loge Olympique, which commissioned Haydn's Paris symphonies. His connections with royalty and the aristocracy would eventually lead him into trouble during the French Revolution. Although appointed Colonel of the Legion of Americans, he remained under suspicion and was eventually imprisoned for over a year. He ended his days in a Paris he hardly recognised, and died in 1799.

Joseph learned the violin from an early age, tutored by a man called Plato, his father's plantation manager in Guadeloupe. He went on to become not only a brilliant violinist, but also would compose many works for his instrument in different combinations.

By 1749 Saint-Georges and his family had moved to Paris where he soon found himself enrolled at a specialist fencing school run by Nicholas Texier de La Boëssière, inventor of the fencing mask. The young Joseph took to fencing immediately, and would not only become a celebrated composer with many aristocratic patrons, but also one of the leading fencers of his day in all of France.

String Quartet in D major, Op 14 No 1
Apollon Quartet

Harpsichord Sonata No 6 in E major
Anne Robert, harpsichord

Violin Concerto No 10 in G major
Qian Zhou, violin
Toronto Camerata
Kevin Mallon, conductor

Producer Luke Whitlock.

Donald Macleod focuses on Saint-Georges's arrival in Paris.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

02The Darling of Parisian Society2017011720190821 (R3)

Presented by Donald Macleod.

Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges began life in 1745 as the illegitimate son of a Guadeloupe plantation owner and an African slave, going on to become one of the most fashionable people in Paris. Not only was he a composer and virtuosic violinist, but also a notable athlete, gaining much renown at fencing. His music teachers included Leclair and Gossec, and he would eventually take over conducting the Concert des Amateurs, an orchestra that frequently premiered his violin concertos with Saint-Georges as the soloist. The Concert des Amateurs went on to become one of the best orchestras in Europe under his direction. Saint-Georges also founded La Loge Olympique, which commissioned Haydn's Paris symphonies. His connections with royalty and the aristocracy would eventually lead him into trouble during the French Revolution. Although appointed Colonel of the Legion of Americans, he remained under suspicion and was eventually imprisoned for over a year. He ended his days in a Paris he hardly recognised, and died in 1799.

On leaving school, and because of his father's position, Joseph took up a commission in the prestigious Company of Musketeers, part of Louis XV's royal household. With his dashing good looks and personality, he became a hit. However he did encounter prejudice amongst some of his comrades, and was eventually forced to resign. Around this time his music was becoming popular in fashionable salons.

By 1766 Saint-Georges started having composition lessons with Joseph Gossec. Gossec dedicated his Opus 9 set of Trio Sonatas to his fashionable student. Saint-Georges soon found himself performing under Gossec's direction in the Concert des Amateurs, which became the platform for premiering many of the younger composer's works, such as the Violin Concerto in G major, published in 1772.

Romance: Au penchant qui nous entraîne
Luanda Siqueira, soprano
Olivier Baumont, harpsichord

Andantino: Feuillage épais que je chéris
Luanda Siqueira, soprano
Olivier Baumont, harpsichord

Sonata in E flat major for harp and flute
Sandrine Chatron, harp
Amélie Michel, transverse flute

Francois-Joseph Gossec
Trio Sonata in F major, Op 9 No 3
Ensemble Hermiolia

Violin Concerto in G major, Op 2 No 1
Yura Lee, violin
Bavarian Kammerphilharmonie
Reinhard Goebel, conductor

Producer Luke Whitlock.

Donald Macleod focuses on how Saint-Georges became popular in Parisian society.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

04Betting with the Prince of Wales2017011920190822 (R3)

Presented by Donald Macleod

Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges began life in 1745 as the illegitimate son of a Guadeloupe plantation owner and an African slave, going on to become one of the most fashionable people in Paris. Not only was he a composer and virtuosic violinist, but also a notable athlete, gaining much renown at fencing. His music teachers included Leclair and Gossec, and he would eventually take over conducting the Concert des Amateurs, an orchestra that frequently premiered his violin concertos with Saint-Georges as the soloist. The Concert des Amateurs went on to become one of the best orchestras in Europe under his direction. Saint-Georges also founded La Loge Olympique, which commissioned Haydn's Paris symphonies. His connections with royalty and the aristocracy would eventually lead him into trouble during the French Revolution. Although appointed Colonel of the Legion of Americans, he remained under suspicion and was eventually imprisoned for over a year. He ended his days in a Paris he hardly recognised, and died in 1799.

Saint-Georges was not only popular as a composer and fencer in Paris, but his fame spread to London as well, where one of his songs, L'autre jour l'ombrage, became very well known. In 1787 Saint-Georges visited London where a duel was arranged between him and his fellow countryman Chevalier D'Eon. D'Eon had been a spy for the French court, and was famed not only for his fencing but also for his cross-dressing.

On returning to France Saint-Georges introduced Parisian society to the latest English fashions of frock coat, round hat and boots. He was something of a trendsetter and crowds would follow him in the streets. By 1789 he visited London for a second time and organised at least one benefit concert.

L'autre jour à l'ombrage
Luanda Siqueira, soprano
Florence Malgoire, violin
Olivier Baumont, harpsichord

Violin Concerto in C major, Op 5 No 1 (1st mvt)
Takako Nishizaki, violin
Cologne Chamber Orchestra
Helmut Müller-Brühl, conductor

L'amant anonyme (Overture)
Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra
Jeanne Lamon, director

Violin Sonata No 2 in A major
Jean-Jacques Kantorow, violin
Brigitte Haudebourg, harpsichord

Producer Luke Whitlock.

Donald Macleod discusses Chevalier de Saint-Georges's wager with the Prince of Wales.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

04Betting With The Prince Of Wales2017011920190822 (R3)

Presented by Donald Macleod

Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges began life in 1745 as the illegitimate son of a Guadeloupe plantation owner and an African slave, going on to become one of the most fashionable people in Paris. Not only was he a composer and virtuosic violinist, but also a notable athlete, gaining much renown at fencing. His music teachers included Leclair and Gossec, and he would eventually take over conducting the Concert des Amateurs, an orchestra that frequently premiered his violin concertos with Saint-Georges as the soloist. The Concert des Amateurs went on to become one of the best orchestras in Europe under his direction. Saint-Georges also founded La Loge Olympique, which commissioned Haydn's Paris symphonies. His connections with royalty and the aristocracy would eventually lead him into trouble during the French Revolution. Although appointed Colonel of the Legion of Americans, he remained under suspicion and was eventually imprisoned for over a year. He ended his days in a Paris he hardly recognised, and died in 1799.

Saint-Georges was not only popular as a composer and fencer in Paris, but his fame spread to London as well, where one of his songs, L'autre jour l'ombrage, became very well known. In 1787 Saint-Georges visited London where a duel was arranged between him and his fellow countryman Chevalier D'Eon. D'Eon had been a spy for the French court, and was famed not only for his fencing but also for his cross-dressing.

On returning to France Saint-Georges introduced Parisian society to the latest English fashions of frock coat, round hat and boots. He was something of a trendsetter and crowds would follow him in the streets. By 1789 he visited London for a second time and organised at least one benefit concert.

L'autre jour à l'ombrage
Luanda Siqueira, soprano
Florence Malgoire, violin
Olivier Baumont, harpsichord

Violin Concerto in C major, Op 5 No 1 (1st mvt)
Takako Nishizaki, violin
Cologne Chamber Orchestra
Helmut Müller-Brühl, conductor

L'amant anonyme (Overture)
Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra
Jeanne Lamon, director

Violin Sonata No 2 in A major
Jean-Jacques Kantorow, violin
Brigitte Haudebourg, harpsichord

Producer Luke Whitlock.

Donald Macleod discusses Chevalier de Saint-Georges's wager with the Prince of Wales.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

05Suspicion and Imprisonment2017012020190823 (R3)

Presented by Donald Macleod

Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges began life in 1745 as the illegitimate son of a Guadeloupe plantation owner and an African slave, going on to become one of the most fashionable people in Paris. Not only was he a composer and virtuosic violinist, but also a notable athlete, gaining much renown at fencing. His music teachers included Leclair and Gossec, and he would eventually take over conducting the Concert des Amateurs, an orchestra that frequently premiered his violin concertos with Saint-Georges as the soloist. The Concert des Amateurs went on to become one of the best orchestras in Europe under his direction. Saint-Georges also founded La Loge Olympique, which commissioned Haydn's Paris symphonies. His connections with royalty and the aristocracy would eventually lead him into trouble during the French Revolution. Although appointed Colonel of the Legion of Americans, he remained under suspicion and was eventually imprisoned for over a year. He ended his days in a Paris he hardly recognised, and died in 1799.

When the French Revolution took hold, Chevalier de Saint-Georges was all for it. He longed for a change in French society and for those born into slavery. By 1792 he approached the National Assembly to ask to be allowed to form his own black regiment to support the revolution. This was the first of its kind in Europe, and was called the Légion Saint-Georges. Through all this turmoil he went on giving concerts including performances with the horn player Lamothe. The Violin Concerto in A major has many passages specifically for the horn.

Even as Colonel of the Legion, Saint-Georges was not above suspicion. Having had many aristocratic friends he found himself dismissed and eventually sent to prison for a year. When he was released, he decided to return to San Domingo seeking a better life on his father's plantation. Unfortunately revolution had reached there as well. He returned to France and in 1799 died in Paris a broken and forgotten man. His once-famous music was later banned from performance in France by Napoleon.

Grazioso in G minor
Florence Malgoire, violin
Olivier Baumont, fortepiano

Violin Concerto in A major, Op 7 No 1
Miroslav Vilimec, violin
Pilsen Philharmonic Orchestra
František Preisler Jr, conductor

String Quartet No 6 in G minor, Op 14
Apollon Quartet

Violin Concerto in D major, Op 3 No 1
Linda Melsted, violin
Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra
Jeanne Lamon, director

Producer Luke Whitlock.

Donald Macleod focuses on the time when Saint-Georges led his men into battle.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

201902The Darling Of Parisian Society2017011720190821 (R3)

Presented by Donald Macleod.

Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges began life in 1745 as the illegitimate son of a Guadeloupe plantation owner and an African slave, going on to become one of the most fashionable people in Paris. Not only was he a composer and virtuosic violinist, but also a notable athlete, gaining much renown at fencing. His music teachers included Leclair and Gossec, and he would eventually take over conducting the Concert des Amateurs, an orchestra that frequently premiered his violin concertos with Saint-Georges as the soloist. The Concert des Amateurs went on to become one of the best orchestras in Europe under his direction. Saint-Georges also founded La Loge Olympique, which commissioned Haydn's Paris symphonies. His connections with royalty and the aristocracy would eventually lead him into trouble during the French Revolution. Although appointed Colonel of the Legion of Americans, he remained under suspicion and was eventually imprisoned for over a year. He ended his days in a Paris he hardly recognised, and died in 1799.

On leaving school, and because of his father's position, Joseph took up a commission in the prestigious Company of Musketeers, part of Louis XV's royal household. With his dashing good looks and personality, he became a hit. However he did encounter prejudice amongst some of his comrades, and was eventually forced to resign. Around this time his music was becoming popular in fashionable salons.

By 1766 Saint-Georges started having composition lessons with Joseph Gossec. Gossec dedicated his Opus 9 set of Trio Sonatas to his fashionable student. Saint-Georges soon found himself performing under Gossec's direction in the Concert des Amateurs, which became the platform for premiering many of the younger composer's works, such as the Violin Concerto in G major, published in 1772.

Romance: Au penchant qui nous entraîne
Luanda Siqueira, soprano
Olivier Baumont, harpsichord

Andantino: Feuillage épais que je chéris
Luanda Siqueira, soprano
Olivier Baumont, harpsichord

Sonata in E flat major for harp and flute
Sandrine Chatron, harp
Amélie Michel, transverse flute

Francois-Joseph Gossec
Trio Sonata in F major, Op 9 No 3
Ensemble Hermiolia

Violin Concerto in G major, Op 2 No 1
Yura Lee, violin
Bavarian Kammerphilharmonie
Reinhard Goebel, conductor

Producer Luke Whitlock.

Donald Macleod focuses on how Saint-Georges became popular in Parisian society.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

201905Suspicion And Imprisonment2017012020190823 (R3)

Presented by Donald Macleod

Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges began life in 1745 as the illegitimate son of a Guadeloupe plantation owner and an African slave, going on to become one of the most fashionable people in Paris. Not only was he a composer and virtuosic violinist, but also a notable athlete, gaining much renown at fencing. His music teachers included Leclair and Gossec, and he would eventually take over conducting the Concert des Amateurs, an orchestra that frequently premiered his violin concertos with Saint-Georges as the soloist. The Concert des Amateurs went on to become one of the best orchestras in Europe under his direction. Saint-Georges also founded La Loge Olympique, which commissioned Haydn's Paris symphonies. His connections with royalty and the aristocracy would eventually lead him into trouble during the French Revolution. Although appointed Colonel of the Legion of Americans, he remained under suspicion and was eventually imprisoned for over a year. He ended his days in a Paris he hardly recognised, and died in 1799.

When the French Revolution took hold, Chevalier de Saint-Georges was all for it. He longed for a change in French society and for those born into slavery. By 1792 he approached the National Assembly to ask to be allowed to form his own black regiment to support the revolution. This was the first of its kind in Europe, and was called the Légion Saint-Georges. Through all this turmoil he went on giving concerts including performances with the horn player Lamothe. The Violin Concerto in A major has many passages specifically for the horn.

Even as Colonel of the Legion, Saint-Georges was not above suspicion. Having had many aristocratic friends he found himself dismissed and eventually sent to prison for a year. When he was released, he decided to return to San Domingo seeking a better life on his father's plantation. Unfortunately revolution had reached there as well. He returned to France and in 1799 died in Paris a broken and forgotten man. His once-famous music was later banned from performance in France by Napoleon.

Grazioso in G minor
Florence Malgoire, violin
Olivier Baumont, fortepiano

Violin Concerto in A major, Op 7 No 1
Miroslav Vilimec, violin
Pilsen Philharmonic Orchestra
František Preisler Jr, conductor

String Quartet No 6 in G minor, Op 14
Apollon Quartet

Violin Concerto in D major, Op 3 No 1
Linda Melsted, violin
Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra
Jeanne Lamon, director

Producer Luke Whitlock.

Donald Macleod focuses on the time when Saint-Georges led his men into battle.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.