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Chevalier de Saint-Georges

Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges (25 December 1745–10 June 1799) was a champion fencer, virtuoso violinist, and conductor of the leading symphony orchestra in Paris. Born in Guadeloupe, he was the son of George Bologne de Saint-Georges, a wealthy planter, and Nanon, his African slave. During the French Revolution, Saint-Georges was colonel of the Légion St.-Georges, the first all-black regiment in Europe, fighting on the side of the Republic. Today the Chevalier de Saint-Georges is best remembered as the first classical composer of African ancestry.

Saint-Georges' first compositions, Op.1, were a set of six string quartets, among the first in France. Two more sets of six string quartets, three charming forte-piano and violin sonatas, a sonata for harp and flute and six violin duos make up his chamber music output. A cello sonata performed in Lille in 1792, a concerto for clarinet and one for bassoon were lost. Twelve additional violin concertos, two symphonies and eight symphonie-concertantes complete the list of his instrumental works, published between 1771 and 1779.

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Recent Saint-Georges releases

Saint-Georges - Violin Concertos Op. 5, Nos. 1-2 and Op. 8
Saint-Georges - Violin Concertos Op. 5, Nos. 1-2 and Op. 8

£7.65

(Naxos)

Saint Georges - Violin Concertos No. 1, Op. 3 and Nos. 2 and 10
Saint Georges - Violin Concertos No. 1, Op. 3 and Nos. 2 and 10

£7.65

(Naxos)

Violin Concertos by Black Composers
Violin Concertos by Black Composers

£12.56

(Cedille Records)