Academic journal article Notes

Joseph Bologne, Chevalier De Saint-Georges

Academic journal article Notes

Joseph Bologne, Chevalier De Saint-Georges

Article excerpt

Le Mozart Noir. Tafelmusik/Jeanne Lamon. CBC SMCD 5225, 2003.

Born around 1745 to a wealthy plantation owner in Basse-Terre, Guadaloupe and his mistress, a Senegalese slave, Joseph Bologne Saint-Georges was treated as a full member of his father's family and, upon the family's relocation to France, received the best education his father could provide. He was, by all accounts, an exceptionally gifted student. Although details of his musical educationare elusive in the historical record, he obviously received formal training at some point, for his worklist includes several comic operas, at least fourteen symphonies and concertos, and a handful of chamber works. Referring to him as the "Black Mozart" is questionable on several levels, not least that of racial condescension (had he been Italian, would we be calling him the "Italian Mozart"?). More to the musical point, his compositions, while impressive and certainly enjoyable, do not stand up particularly well to the comparison. But they certainly deserve more attention than they have received in this century, and this excellent collection, performed with typical elegance by Tafelmusik under Jeanne Lamon, features the overture and several brief dance movements from his comic opera L'Amant Anonyme, the Violin Concerto in D Major, op. …

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