Music database


Joseph "Chevalier de Saint-George" Bologne

born on 25/12/1745 in Guadeloupe, France

died on 10/6/1799 in Parigi, France

Links (French)

Chevalier de Saint-Georges

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges (December 25, 1745 – June 10, 1799)[1] 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.[2] During the French Revolution, Saint-Georges was colonel of the Légion St.-Georges,[3] 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.

Youth and education

Born in Baillif, Basse-Terre, he was the son of George Bologne de Saint-Georges, a wealthy planter on the island of Guadeloupe, and Nanon, his African slave.[4] His father, called "de Saint-Georges" after one of his plantations in Guadeloupe, was a commoner until 1757, when he acquired the title of Gentilhomme ordinaire de la chambre du roi (Gentleman of the king’s chamber).[5] Misled by Roger de Beauvoir’s 1840 romantic novel Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges,[6] most of his biographers confused Joseph’s father with Guillaume-Pierre de Boullogne, Controller of Finance, whose family was ennobled in the 15th century. This led to the erroneous spelling of Saint-Georges’ family name as "Boulogne", persisting to this day, even in the BnF, Bibliothèque nationale de France.

In 1753, his father took Joseph, aged seven, to France for his education.[7] Two years later, on August 26, 1755, listed as passengers on the ship L’Aimable Rose, Bologne de Saint-Georges and Negresse Nanon landed in Bordeaux.[8] In Paris, reunited with their son Joseph, they moved into a spacious apartment at 49 rue Saint André de Arts.

Joseph was 13 when he was enrolled in Tessier de La Boëssière’s Académie royale polytechnique des armes et de ‘l’équitation (fencing and horsemanship). According to La Boëssière fils, son of the Master: “At 15 his [Saint-Georges’] progress was so rapid, that he was already beating the best swordsmen, and at 17 he developed the greatest speed imaginable.”[9] He was still a student when he beat Alexandre Picard, a fencing-master in Rouen, who had been mocking him as "Boëssière's mulatto", in public. That match, bet on heavily by a public divided into partisans and opponents of slavery, was an important coup for the latter. His father, proud of his feat, rewarded Joseph with a handsome horse and buggy.[10] In 1766 on graduating from the Academy, Joseph was made a Gendarme du roi (officer of the king’s bodyguard) and a chevalier.[11] Henceforth Joseph Bologne, by adopting the suffix of his father, would be known as the "Chevalier de Saint-Georges".

In 1764 when, at the end of the Seven Years' War George Bologne returned to Guadeloupe to look after his plantations, he left Joseph an annuity of 8000 francs and an adequate pension to Nanon who remained with her son in Paris.[12] According to his friend, Louise Fusil: "... admired for his fencing and riding prowess, he served as a model to young sportsmen … who formed a court around him."[13] A fine dancer, Saint-Georges was also invited to balls and welcomed in the salons (and boudoirs) of highborn ladies. "Partial for the music of liaisons where amour had real meaning… he loved and was loved."[14] Yet he continued to fence daily in the various salles of Paris. It was there he met the Angelos, father and son, fencing masters from London, the mysterious Chevalier d'Éon, and the teenage Louis Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, all of whom would play a role in his future.


Nothing is known about Saint-Georges’s early musical training. "Platon", a fictional whip-toting slave commander on Saint-Domingue who, in Beauvoir’s novel "taught little Saint-Georges" the violin, is a figment of the author’s imagination.[15] Given his prodigious technique as an adult, Saint-Georges must have practised the violin seriously as a child. Yet, not before 1764, when violinist Antonio Lolli composed two concertos, Op.2 for him,[16] and 1766, when François Gossec dedicated a set of six string trios, Op.9[17] to Saint Georges, was it revealed that the famous swordsman also played the violin. The dedications also suggest that Lolli polished his violin technique and Gossec was his composition teacher. There is no basis to the not always reliable François-Joseph Fétis’ claim that Saint-Georges studied violin with Jean-Marie Leclair, however similar traits in technique indicate Pierre Gaviniès as one of his mentors. Other composers who later dedicated works to Saint-Georges were Carl Stamitz in 1770,[18] and Avolio in 1778.[19]

In 1769, the Parisian public was amazed to see Saint-Georges, the great fencer, among the violins of Gossec’s new orchestra, Le Concert des Amateurs. Two years later he became its concertmaster, and in 1772 he created a sensation with his debut as a soloist, playing his first two violin concertos, Op. II, with Gossec conducting the orchestra. "These concertos were performed last winter at a concert of the Amateurs by the author himself, who received great applause as much for their performance as for their composition."[20] According to another source, "The celebrated Saint-Georges, mulatto fencer [and] violinist, created a sensation in Paris ... [when] two years later ... at the Concert Spirituel, he was appreciated not as much for his compositions as for his performances, enrapturing especially the feminine members of his audience."[21]

Saint-Georges' first compositions, Op. I, were a set of six string Quartets, among the first in France. They were inspired by Haydn’s earliest quartets imported from Vienna by the eccentric Baron Bagge,[22] whose musicales were frequented by some of the best musicians in Paris, including Joseph. 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, a new, intrinsically Parisian genre of which Saint-Georges was one of the chief exponents complete the list of his instrumental works, published between 1771 and 1779, a short span of eight years. Six opéras comiques and a number of songs in manuscript complete the list of his works, remarkable considering his many extra-musical activities.

In 1773, when Gossec took over the direction of the prestigious but troubled Concert Spirituel, he designated Saint-Georges as his successor as director of the Concert des Amateurs. Less than two years under his direction, “Performing with great precision and delicate nuances [the Amateurs] became the best orchestra for symphonies in Paris, and perhaps in all of Europe.”[23] As the Queen attended some of Saint-Georges' concerts at the Palais de Soubise, arriving sometimes without notice, the orchestra wore court attire for all its performances. "Dressed in rich velvet or damask with gold or silver braid and fine lace on their cuffs and collars and with their parade swords and plumed hats placed next to them on their benches, the combined effect was as pleasing to the eye as it was flattering to the ear."[24] Saint-Georges played all his violin concertos as soloist with his orchestra. Their corner movements are replete with daring batteries and bariolages,[25] brilliant technical effects made possible by the new bow designed by Nicholas Pierre Tourte Père - a perfect foil in the hands of a great swordsman. While their fast movements reveal the composer probing the outer limits of his instrument, his slow movements are lyrical and expressive, with an occasional touch of Creole nostalgia.

Saint-Georges was fortunate to be already established as a professional musician, because in 1774, when his father died in Guadeloupe, his annuity was awarded to his legitimate half-sister, Elisabeth Benedictine.[26] While before that he contributed his services to the Amateurs, he now asked for and was willingly granted a generous fee by the sponsors of the orchestra, which he had turned into the largest and most prestigious ensemble in Europe.

In 1776 the Académie royale de musique, the Paris Opéra, was once again in dire straits. Saint Georges was proposed as the next director of the opera. As creator of the first disciplined French orchestra since Lully, he was the obvious choice to rescue the prestige of that troubled institution. However, alarmed by his reputation as a taskmaster, three of its leading ladies “... presented a placet (petition) to the Queen [Marie Antoinette] assuring her Majesty that their honor and delicate conscience could never allow them to submit to the orders of a mulatto.”[27] To keep the affair from embarrassing the queen, Saint-Georges promptly withdrew his name from the proposal. Meanwhile, to defuse the brewing scandal, Louis XVI took the Opéra back from the city of Paris - ceded to it by Louis XIV a century ago - to be managed by his Intendant of Light Entertainments. Following the “affair,” Marie-Antoinette preferred to hold her musicales in the salon of her petit appartement de la reine in Versailles. The audience was limited to her intimate circle and only a few musicians, among them the Chevalier de Saint-Georges. “Invited to play music with the queen,”[28] Saint-Georges probably played his violin sonatas, with her Majesty playing the forte-piano.

The placet also ended forever Saint-Georges’ aspirations to the highest position of any musician in Paris. It was, as far we know, the most serious setback he suffered due to his color. Compared to the upheavals to come, it was a tempest in a teapot, but the wound it inflicted on Saint-Georges would fester until the Revolution. Over the next two years he published two more violin concertos and a pair of his Symphonies concertantes. Thereafter, despite of his humiliation by the operatic divas, except for his final set of quartets (Op. 14, 1785), Saint-Georges, fascinated by the stage, abandoned composing instrumental music in favor of opera.


Ernestine, Saint-Georges’s first opera, with a libretto by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos, future author of Les Liaisons dangereuses, was performed on July 19, 1777 at the Comédie-Italienne. It did not survive its premiere. The critics liked the music, but panned the weak libretto, given precedence over the music at the time.[29] The Queen was there with her entourage. She came to support Saint-Georges’s opera but, after the audience kept echoing a character cracking his whip and crying “Ohé, Ohé,” the Queen gave it the coup de grace by calling to her driver: “to Versailles, Ohé!”[30]

Thanks to that fiasco, the Marquise de Montesson, morganatic wife of the Duke of Orléans, realized her ambition to engage Saint-Georges as music director of her fashionable private theater. As the failure of Ernestine had left Saint Georges insolvent, he was glad that his new position also entitled him to an apartment in the ducal mansion on the Chaussée d’Antin. After his mother died in Paris, Mozart stayed there with Melchior Grimm, who, as personal secretary of the Duke, lived in the mansion. The fact that Mozart spent over two months under the same roof with Saint-Georges, confirms that they knew each other.[33] As an added incentive, the duke appointed Saint-Georges Lieutenant de la chasse of his vast hunting grounds at Raincy, with an additional salary of 2000 Livres a year. "Saint-Georges the mulatto so strong, so adroit, was one of the hunters..."[34] Saint-Georges wrote and rehearsed his second opera, appropriately named La Chasse at Raincy. At its premiere in the Théâtre Italien, "The public received the work with loud applause. Vastly superior compared with ‘Ernestine’ ... there is every reason to encourage him to continue [writing operas].”[35] La chasse was repeated at her Majesty’s request at the royal chateau at Marly.[36] Saint-Georges’ most successful opéra comique was L’Amant anonyme, with a libretto based on a play by Mme de Genlis.[37] As a close friend of Saint-Georges, could Félicité Genlis’ anonymous hero, who woos his adored from afar but dares not to allow her to see his face, have been modeled on Saint-Georges, a ‘mulatto,’ able to be loved but never married by European women?[38]

In 1781, due to the massive financial losses incurred by its patrons in shipping arms to the American Revolution,[39] Saint Georges’s Concert des Amateurs had to be disbanded. Not one to let it go without a fight, Saint-Georges turned to his friend and admirer, Philippe D’Orléans, duc de Chartres, for help. In 1773 at age 26, Philippe was elected Grand Master of the 'Grand Orient de France' after uniting all the Masonic organizations in France. Responding to Saint-Georges’s plea, Philippe revived the orchestra as part of the Loge Olympique, an exclusive Freemason Lodge. Renamed Le Concert Olympique, with practically the same personnel, it performed in the grand salon of the Palais Royal. In 1785, Count D’Ogny, grandmaster of the Lodge and member of its cello section, authorized Saint-Georges to commission Haydn to compose six new symphonies for the “Concert Olympique.” Conducted by Saint-Georges, Haydn’s "Paris" symphonies were first performed at the Salle des Gardes-Suisses of the Tuileries, a much larger hall, in order to accommodate the huge public demand to hear Haydn’s new works.

In 1785, the Duke of Orléans died. The Marquise de Montesson, his morganatic wife, having been forbidden by the king to mourn him, shuttered their mansion, closed her theater, and retired to a convent near Paris. With his patrons gone, Saint-Georges lost not only his positions, but also his apartment. Once again it was his friend, Philippe, now Duke of Orléans, who presented him with a small flat in the Palais Royal. Living in the Palais, Saint-Georges was inevitably drawn into the whirlpool of political activity around Philippe, the new leader of the Orléanist party, the main opposition to the absolute monarchy. As a strong Anglophile, Philippe, who visited England frequently, formed a close friendship with George, Prince of Wales. Due to the recurring mental illness of King George III, the prince was expected soon to become Regent. While Philippe admired Britain’s parliamentary system, Jacques Pierre Brissot de Warville, his chief of staff, envisioned France as a constitutional monarchy, on the way towards a republic. With Philippe as France's “Lieutenant-general” he promoted him as the sole alternative to a bloody revolution.

Meanwhile the duke’s ambitious plans for re-constructing the Palais-Royal left the Orchestre Olympique without a home and Saint-Georges unemployed. Seeing his protégé at loose ends and recalling that the Prince of Wales often expressed a wish to meet the legendary fencer, Philippe approved Brissot’s plan to dispatch Saint-Georges to London to ensure the Regent-in-waiting’s support of Philippe as future “Regent” of France. But Brissot had a secret agenda as well. He considered Saint-Georges, a “man of color,” the ideal person to contact his fellow abolitionists in London and ask their advice about his plans for Les Amis des Noirs (Friends of the Blacks) modeled on the English anti-slavery movement.[40]

London and Lille

In London, Saint-Georges stayed with fencing masters Domenico Angelo and Henry, his son, whom he knew as an apprentice from the halls of arms of Paris. They arranged exhibition matches for him including one at Carlton House, before the Prince of Wales, who received Saint-Georges graciously.[41] After sparring with him, carte and tierce,[42] the prince matched him with several renowned masters, including the mysterious transvestite, La Chevalière D’Éon, aged 59, in a voluminous black dress[43] A painting by Charles Jean Robineau[44] showing the Prince and his entourage watching "Mlle" D’Éon score a hit on Saint-Georges gave rise to rumors that he allowed it out of gallantry for a lady.[45] But, as Saint-Georges knew "her" having fenced with dragoon Captain D’Eon in Paris, it was probably in deference to D’Eon’s age. And, though Saint-Georges spent the rest of his stay entertaining his exigent friend, the Prince, he still took time to play one of his concertos at the Anacreontic Society.[46] He also delivered Brissot’s request to the abolitionists MPs William Wilberforce, John Wilkes, and the Reverend Thomas Clarkson. Before Saint-Georges left England, Prinny, as his intimates called him, presented him with a brace of pistols, so true as to kill at 30 yards’ distance. Prinny also had him sit for his portrait.[47] Asked by Mrs Angelo if it was a true likeness, Saint-Georges replied, "Alas, Madame it is frightfully so."[48]

Back in Paris, he completed and produced his latest opéra comique, La Fille Garçon, also at the Théâtre des Italiens. Once again the critics found the "poem" wanting. (Could it be that since operas were sung in French the weakness of their librettos became more evident?) "The piece, [was] sustained only by the music of Monsieur de Saint Georges.... The success he obtained should serve as encouragement to continue enriching this theatre with his productions."[49]

Compared with London, Saint-Georges found Paris seething with pre-revolutionary fervor. It was less than a year before the great conflagration. Meanwhile, with the re-construction of the Palais nearly finished, Philippe had opened several new theaters. The smallest of them was the Théâtre Beaujolais, a marionette theater for children, named after his youngest son, the duc de Beaujolais. The lead singers of the Opéra provided the voices for the puppets. It is for them Saint-Georges wrote the music of Le Marchand de Marrons (The Chestnut Vendor) with a libretto by Mme. De Genlis, Philippe's former mistress and then confidential adviser.

While Saint-Georges was away, the Concert Olympique had resumed performing at the Hôtel de Soubise, the old hall of the Amateurs, but with a different conductor: the Italian violinist Jean-Baptiste Viotti.[50] Disenchanted, Saint-George, together with the talented young singer Louise Fusil, and his friend, the horn virtuoso Lamothe, embarked on a brief concert tour in the North of France. On May 5, 1789, the opening day of the fateful Estates General, Saint-Georges, seated in the gallery with Laclos, heard Jacques Necker[51] raising his feeble voice to state, "The slave trade is a barbarous practice and must be eliminated." Choderlos de Laclos, who replaced Brissot as Philippe’s chief of staff, intensified Brissot’s campaign promoting Philippe as an alternative to the monarchy. Concerned by its success, Louis dispatched Philippe on a bogus mission to London. On July 14, 1789, the fall of the Bastille, King Louis XVI missed his opportunity to govern, and Philippe, Duke of Orléans, missed his chance to save the monarchy.

Saint-Georges, sent ahead by Laclos, stayed at Grenier’s; this hotel in Jermyn Street was a place for those bent on extravagance[52] and it was patronised by French refugees. Saint-Georges was entertaining himself lavishly.[53] His salaries gone, his largesse had to come from Philippe. Once again his assignment was to stay close to the Prince of Wales. It was not a difficult task. As soon as he arrived, Prinny took Saint-Georges to his fabled Marine Pavilion in Brighton, where he won bets placed on his guest’s prowess, took him fox hunting and to the races at Newmarket. But when Philippe arrived, it was he who became Prinny’s regular companion. Saint-Georges was rather relieved at not having to cater to Prinny's extravagant caprices, like making him jump through a speeding carriage or vault Richmond Castle's moat (presumably on horseback), to keep Philippe in the prince's thoughts.[54] Incidentally, while either Philippe or Saint-Georges were often seen with the Prince of Wales, it was never both at the same time.

A cartoon captioned "St. George & the Dragon" with the dragon symbolizing the slave trade, appeared in the Morning Post on April 12, 1789. On his previous trip to London, when Saint-Georges passed Brissot’s request onto the British abolitionists, they complied by translating their literature into French for his fledgling Société des amis des Noirs. Saint-Georges met with them again, this time on his own account. "Early in July, walking home from Greenwich, a man armed with a pistol demanded his purse. The Chevalier disarmed the man… but when four more rogues hidden until then attacked him, he put them all out of commission. M. de Saint Georges received only some contusions which did not keep him from going on that night to play music in the company of friends."[55] The nature of the attack, with four attackers emerging after the first one made sure they had the right victim, was obviously an attempt on his life disguised as a hold-up, arranged by the “Trade” to put an end to his abolitionist activities.[56]

In late June, Philippe, dubbed "The Red Duke" in London, finally realized that his “mission” there was a ruse used by the king to get him out of France. At first he consoled himself by attending horse races, trussing girls and swilling champagne with his friend, Prinny.[57] At that point, perhaps, to save his pride, Philippe clung to a vague promise made by King Louis to make him Regent of the Southern Netherlands. But when the harebrained attempt to impose him on the Belgians who wanted a Republic, failed miserably,[58] Saint-Georges, disillusioned by Philippe’s self-serving behavior, instead of returning to London, headed North, back to France.

"On Thursday, July 8, 1790, in Lille’s municipal ballroom, the famous Saint-Georges was the principal antagonist in a brilliant fencing tournament. Though ill, he fought with that grace which is his trademark. Lightning is no faster than his arms and in spite of running a fever, he demonstrated astonishing vigor."[59] Two days later looking worse but in need of funds, he offered another assault, this one for the officers of the garrison. But his illness proved so serious that it sent him to bed for six long weeks.[60] The diagnosis according to medical science at the time was “brain fever” (probably meningitis). Unconscious for days, he was taken in and nursed by some kind citizens of Lille. While still bedridden, deeply grateful to the people who were caring for him, Saint-Georges began to compose an opera for Lille’s theater company. Calling it Guillome tout Coeur, ou les amis du village, he dedicated it to the citizens of Lille. "Guillaume is an opera in one act. ...The music by Saint-George is full of sweet warmth of motion and spirt...Its [individual] pieces distinguished by their melodic lines and the vigor of their harmony. The public...made the hall resound with its justly reserved applause."[61] It was to be his last opera, lost, including its libretto.

Louise Fusil, who had idolized Saint-Georges since she was a girl of 15, wrote: "In 1791, I stopped in Amiens where St. Georges and Lamothe were waiting for me, committed to give some concerts over the Easter holidays. We were to repeat them in Tournai. But the French refugees assembled in that town just across the border, could not abide the Créole they believed to be an agent of the despised Duke of Orléans. St. Georges was even advised [by its commandant] not to stop there for long."[62] According to a report by a local newspaper: "The dining room of the hotel where St. Georges, a citizen of France, was also staying, refused to serve him, but he remained perfectly calm; remarkable for a man with his means to defend himself."[63]

Louise describes the scenario of Saint-Georges's “Love and Death of the Poor Little Bird”, a programmatic piece for violin alone, which he was constantly entreated to play especially by the ladies. Its three parts depicted the little bird greeting the spring; passionately pursuing the object of his love, who alas, has chosen another; its voice grows weaker then, after the last sigh, it is stilled forever. This kind of program music or sound painting of scenarios such as love scenes, tempests, or battles complete with cannonades and the cries of the wounded, conveyed by a lone violin, was by that time nearly forgotten. Saint-Georges must have had fun inventing it as he went along. Louise places his improvisational style on a par with her subsequent musical idol, Hector Berlioz: “We did not know then this expressive …depiction a dramatic scene, which Mr. Berlioz later revealed to us… making us feel an emotion that identifies us with the subject.” Curiously, some of Saint-Georges’s biographers are still looking for its score, but Louise’s account leaves no doubt that it belonged to the lost art of spontaneous improvisation.[64]

Tired of politics yet faithful to his ideals, St. Georges decided to serve the Revolution, directly. With 50,000 Austrian troops massed on its borders, the first citizen’s army in modern history was calling for volunteers. In 1790, having recovered from his illness, Saint-George was one of the first in Lille to join its Garde Nationale.[65] But not even his military duties in the Garde Nationale could prevent St. Georges from giving concerts. Once again he was building an orchestra which, according to the announcement in the paper, “Will give a concert every week until Easter.”[66] At the conclusion of the last concert, the mayor of Lille placed a crown of laurels on St. Georges’ brow and read a poem dedicated to him.[67]

On April 20, 1792, compelled by the National Assembly, Louis XVI declared war against his brother-in-law, Francis II.[68] General Dillon, commander of Lille, was ordered by Dumouriez to attack Tournai, reportedly only lightly defended. Instead, massive fire by the Austrian artillery turned an orderly retreat into a rout by the regular cavalry but not that of the volunteers of the National Guard.[69] Captain St. Georges, promoted in 1791,[70] commanded the company of volunteers that held the line at Baisieux.[71] A month later, "M. St. Georges took charge of the music for a solemn requiem held [in Lille] for the souls of those who perished for their city on the fateful day of April 29."[72]

Légion St.-Georges

On September 7, 1792, Julien Raimond, leader of a delegation of free men of color from Saint-Domingue (Haiti), petitioned the National Assembly to authorize the formation of a Legion of volunteers, so “We too may spill our blood for the defense of the motherland.” The next day, the Assembly authorized the formation of a cavalry brigade of "men of color", to be called Légion nationale des Américains[73] & du midi, and appointed Citizen St. Georges[74] colonel of the new regiment.[75] St. Georges’ Légion, the first all colored regiment in Europe, “grew rapidly as volunteers [attracted by his name] flocked to it from all over France.”[76]

Among its officers was Thomas Alexandre Dumas, the novelist’s father, one of St. Georges’s two lieutenant colonels.[77] Colonel St. Georges found it difficult to obtain the funds allocated to his unit towards equipment and horses badly needed by his regiment. With a number of green recruits still on foot, it took his Legion three days to reach its training camp in Laon. In February, when Pache,[78] the minister of war, ordered St. Georges to take his regiment to Lille and hence to the front, he protested that, “Short of horses, equipment and officers, I cannot lead my men to be slaughtered …without a chance to teach them to tell their left from their right.”[79]

That May, Citizen Maillard denounced St. Georges’ Legion to the Committee of Public Safety, for enrolling individuals suspected of royalist sentiments; he did not mention their being “men of color.”[80] Meanwhile Commissaire Dufrenne, one of Pache’s henchmen, accused St. Georges as: ”A man to watch; riddled by debts he had been paid I think 300,000 livres to equip his regiment; he used most of it I am convinced to pay his debts; with a penchant for luxury he keeps, they say, 30 horses in his stables, some of them worth 3000 livres; what horror…”[81] Though Dufrenne’s accusations were based on mere hearsay, Saint Georges was called to Paris where, promptly established by the Committee of Public Safety that Pache never sent his regiment any funds,[82] St. Georges was cleared of all charges and re-confirmed as Colonel of his Legion.

Meanwhile the legion's colonel had other grievances. On his return to Lille to rejoin his regiment on its way to the front, he found most of his black troopers and some of his officers gone. It must have been a bitter moment when he realized that without them his legion had lost its raison d’être. Moreover, War Minister Pache, instead of sending him supplies and officers, decreed leaving for the front, the Légion St. Georges would be renamed le 13e regiment de chasseurs à cheval, and attached to the army of Belgium. Some of its men of color were ordered to embark for the West Indies “to defend our possessions in America.”[83] Only the Legion’s first company, still called l’Américaine, retained some of Saint Georges’ original staff: Lieutenant Colonels Champreux and Dumas, and Captains Duhamel and Colin, along with seventy three of his old troopers. With Lille virtually on the front lines, while patrolling in enemy territory,"Citizen Saint-Georges, was seen by some of his comrades standing up to the enemy with only fifty of his chasseurs and taking command of a passing column, on his own volition, purely for the pleasure of serving the Republic."[84]

On January 21, 1793, Louis Capet, the former King Louis XVI, was found guilty of treason and guillotined on the Place de la Révolution (today's Place de la Concorde). General Dumouriez, who became minister of war after Pache was removed for corruption, took charge of the army of the North. Dumouriez, a Girondist, on the moderate side of the Revolution, spoke out too freely against the Jacobins of the Convention for executing the king. As a result, though revered as the hero of the French victories at Valmy and Jemappes, the National Convention ordered his arrest. Failing to dislodge him from the front, they sent a delegation led by Beurnonville, the new minister of war, to Dumouriez’s headquarters to bring him back to Paris. Colonel St. Georges was ordered to take a hundred of his chasseurs and escort the delegation from Lille to Dumouriez’s headquarters in St. Amand. On reaching the village of Orchies, claiming that the horses were fatigued after six leagues at a gallop, St. Georges asked the delegation to take another escort for the rest of the way. It is possible that, told of the purpose of the mission, he preferred not to be part of it. The delegation continued on with an escort provided by General Joseph de Miaczinsky, commander at Orchies.

Next morning at breakfast, a courier from Dumouriez arrived with a note for Miaczinsky. After reading the message, the General showed it to St. Georges and his officers. According to the note, Dumouriez, having arrested the delegation, was ordering Miaczinsky to take Lille with his division and join him in his march on Paris to "uphold the ‘will of the army,’ to reinstate the constitution of ’91 and to save the Queen.”[85] When Miaczinsky asked St. Georges to assist him on his march on Lille, St. Georges refused, saying that "being under orders to his commander, General Duval, nothing on earth could force me to fail in my duties.”[86] This was the moment when Saint-Georges, the son of a slave, chose the Revolution over his doomed Queen and the society that nurtured him. Accompanied by Lieutenant Colonel Dumas and Captain Colin, he took off at a gallop to warn Lille of the looming danger. Having warned the garrison in time, when Miaczinsky arrived he was arrested by Duval.[87] Taken to Paris he was tried, found guilty and guillotined. General Dumouriez, his plans thwarted by “ the famous mulatto Saint-Georges, colonel of a regiment of hussars… “[88] together with Louis-Philippe, son of the Duke of Orléans and future king of France, defected to the Austrians.

In spite of the continuing shortages of officers and equipment, Saint-Georges’s regiment distinguished itself in the Netherlands campaign. But at the siege of Bergen op Zoom, their Colonel could not take part in the action. On 25 September St. Georges and ten of his officers were arrested and taken away. After two weeks, his officers were released, but St. Georges remained in prison.

Early that September, Maréchal Bécourt, commandant of Lille, wrote to inform the Ministry of War, that “The 13th regiment of Chasseurs, formerly called Légion St. Georges, has arrived here in great penury due to the laxity of its leader. That is the report of Lieutenant Colonel Dumas….”[89] Ten days before the arrest of Colonel St. Georges and his officers, Dumas, skipping a rank, was promoted to Brigadier General. One day later, skipping yet another rank, writing his superiors: “ …leaving for the army of the Pyrenées, I must have real Revolutionaries to work with against the enemies of our liberty…” he signed himself, "Dumas, Le General de Division."[90] Alas, Thomas Alexandre Dumas earned his spectacular rises in rank as Commissaire of General Security and Surveillance of the Committee of Public Safety.

Under the new Law of Suspects, St. Georges was incarcerated without charge in the fortress of Hondainville-en-Oise for 13 months. During his incarceration, France was in the midst of the Terror. On October 12, 1793 the Queen was guillotined on Place de la Republique; Brissot and 22 of his fellow Girondins, mounted the scaffold on October 31 and Philippe Orléans, obliged to call himself Égalité, followed them on November 5. With Danton riding in a tumbril to the scaffold, the Terror began to devour its own. The number of executions including those of ordinary citizens swelled to 26 a day. Paris grew weary of the killing and, as the successes of the army had relieved the public of the threat of invasion used by Robespierre to maintain the Terror, on July 28 the National Convention shook off its fear and sent Robespierre and 21 of his cohorts to the guillotine. St. Georges, living under the threat of execution, was spared only because Commissaire Sylvain Lejeune of Hondainvile and the district of Oise gave bloodthirsty speeches, but kept his guillotine under wraps. Three more months went by before the Committee of General Security ordered Colonel St. Georges, never charged with any wrongdoing, released from prison.[91]

His former world in Paris a thing of the past, St. Georges had only one compelling ambition: to regain his rank and his regiment. It took six months of cooling his heels at the Ministry of War, while living on an inactive officer’s half-pay, for the army to re-instate him as colonel of his regiment. In theory. In practice he found that while he was in prison his regiment had acquired, not one, but two colonels. One of them, Colonel Target, offered to cede his post to “the founder of the regiment,” but the other one, Colonel Bouquet, vowed to fight St. Georges tooth and claw. After a long and arduous year spent between hope and despair fighting to keep his post, on October 30, 1795, invoking an obscure law,[92] Bouquet won his case. Saint-Georges was dismissed from the army and ordered to leave his regiment. In addition he was ordered to retire to any community save the one where the regiment might be located. Thus ended Saint Georges’ military career, with nothing, not even a cheap medal, to show for his travails.


In Saint-Domingue, the news from abroad that the “whites of La France had risen up and killed their masters,” spread among the black slaves of the island. “The rebellion was extremely violent…the rich plain of the North was reduced to ruins and ashes…”[93] After months of arson and murder, Toussaint Louverture, a Haitian revolutionary, took charge of the slave revolt. In the Spring of 1796, a commission with 15,000 troops and tons of arms sailed for Saint-Domingue to abolish slavery. Second to Léger-Félicité Sonthonax, leader of the commission, was Julien Raimond, the founder of Saint-Georges’ Légion.

According to Louise Fusil, Saint Georges and his friend Lamothe had been absent from Paris for nearly two years. “I since learned that they had left for Saint-Domingue, then in full revolt; it was rumored they had been hung in a mutiny. I gave them up for dead and mourned them with all my heart, when one day, as I sat in the Palais Royal with a friend absorbed in a magazine… I looked up and screamed, thinking I saw ghosts. They were Lamothe and Saint Georges who, clowning, sang to me ‘At last there you are! You thought we’ve been hung /For almost two years what became of you?’ 'No, I was not sure that you were hung, but I did take you for ghosts, come back to haunt me!' 'We nearly are [ghosts] they answered, for we come from very far indeed.'”[94]

It stands to reason that Julien Raimond would want to take St. Georges, an experienced officer, with him to Saint-Domingue, then in the throes of a bloody civil war. While we lack concrete evidence that St. Georges was aboard the convoy of the commission, the fact that we find Captain Colin, and Lamotte (Lamothe) on the payroll of a ship of the convoy to Saint-Domingue, confirms Louise Fusil’s account. So does Lionel de La Laurencie’s statement: “The expedition to Saint-Domingue was Saint-Georges’ last voyage,” adding that “Disenchantment and melancholy resulting from his experiences during that voyage must have weighed heavily on his aging shoulders”[95] In the end, disheartened by the savagery of the strife between blacks and mulattoes, St. Georges and Lamothe were fortunate to escape from the island with their lives.

Within a fortnight of returning from that harrowing journey, St. Georges was again building a symphony orchestra. Like his last ensemble, Le Cercle de l’Harmonie was also part of a Masonic lodge performing in what was formerly the Palais Royal. The founders of the new Loge, a group of nouveau riche gentlemen bent on recreating the elegance of the old Loge Olympique, were delighted to find St. Georges back in Paris. According to Le Mercure Français, “The concerts…under the direction of the famous Saint Georges, left nothing to be desired as to the choice of pieces or the superiority of their execution.”[96] Though a number of his biographers maintain that at the end of his life, St. Georges lived in abject poverty, the Cercle was not exactly the lower depths. Rejected by the army, St. Georges, at age 51, found solace in his music. Sounding like any veteran performer proud of his longevity, he said : “Towards the end of my life, I was particularly devoted to my violin,” adding “never before did I play it so well!”[97]

In the late spring of 1799, there came bad news from Saint-Domingue: Generals Hédouville and Roume, the Directoire’s emissaries, reverting to the discredited policy of stirring up trouble between blacks and mulattoes, succeeded in starting a war between pro-French André Rigaud’s mulattoes, and separatist Toussaint Louverture’s blacks. It was so savage that it became known as the “War of the Knives.” Hearing of it affected St. Georges, already suffering from a painful condition which he refused to acknowledge. Two of his contemporary obituaries reveal the course of his illness and death.

La Boëssière fils: “Saint-Georges felt the onset of a disease of the bladder and, given his usual negligence, paid it little attention; he even kept secret an ulcer, source of his illness; gangrene set in and he succumbed on June 12, 1799.[98]

J. S. A. Cuvelier in his NECROLOGY: "…For some time he had been tormented by a violent fever…his vigorous nature had repeatedly fought off this cruel illness; [but] after a month of suffering, the end came on 21 Prairial [June 9] at five o’clock in the evening. Some time before the end, St. Georges stayed with a friend [Captain Duhamel] in the rue Boucherat. His death was marked by the calm of the wise and the dignity of the strong."[99]

Saint-Georges’s death certificate was lost in a fire; what remains is only a report by the men who removed his body: "St. Georges Bologne, Joseph, rue Boucherat No. 13, Bachelor, 22 Prairial year 7, Nicholas Duhamel, Ex-officer, same house, former domicile rue de Chartres, taken away by Chagneau." Over the name "Joseph" someone, no doubt the "receiver", scribbled "60 years", merely an estimate which, mistaken for a death certificate, added to the confusion about Saint-Georges’s birth-year. Since he was born in December 1745, he was only 53.[100]

Nicholas Duhamel, the ex-officer mentioned in the report of the “receivers,” a Captain in St. Georges’ Legion, was his loyal friend until his death. Concerned about his old colonel's condition, he stopped by his apartment on rue de Chartres in the Palais Royal and, having found him dying, took him to his flat in rue Boucherat where he took care of him until the end.

               This year died, twenty-four days apart, two extraordinary 
               but very different men, Beaumarchais and Saint-Georges; 
               both Masters at sparring; the one who could be touched by a 
               foil, was not the one who was more enviable for his virtues.
                                     — Charles Maurice (1799)


Opéra comiques

  • Ernestine, opéra comique in 3 acts, libretto by Choderlos de Laclos revised by Desfontaines, première in Paris, Comédie Italienne, July 19, 1777, lost. Note: a few numbers survive.
  • La Partie de chasse, opéra comique in 3 acts, libretto by Desfontaines, public premiere in Paris, Comédie Italienne, October 12, 1778, lost. Note: a few numbers survive.
  • L'Amant anonyme, comédie mélée d'ariettes et de ballets, in 2 acts, after a play by Mme. de Genlis, première in Paris, Théâtre de Mme. de Montesson, March 8, 1780, complete manuscript in Paris Bibliothèque Nationale, section musique, côte 4076.
  • La Fille garçon, opéra comique mélée d'ariettes in 2 acts, libretto by Desmaillot, premiere in Paris, Comédie Italienne, August 18, 1787, lost.
  • Aline et Dupré, ou le marchand de marrons, children's opera, premiere in le Théâtre du comte de Beaujolais, 1788. lost.
  • Guillaume tout coeur ou les amis du village, opéra comique in one act, libretto by Monnet, première in Lille, September 8, 1790, lost.

Vocal music

Recueil d'airs et duos avec orchestre: stamped Conservatoire de musique #4077, now in the music collection of the Bibliothèque Nationale; Contains:

1. Allegro: Loin du soleil, in E flat. 2. Andante: N'êtes vous plus la tendre amie? in F. 3. Ariette: Satisfait du plaisir d'aimer; in A. 4. Ariette-Andante: (Clemengis) La seule Ernestine qui m'enflamme; in E flat 5. Duo: (Isabelle & Dorval) C'est donc ainsi qu'on me soupconne; in F. 6. Scena-Recitavo: Ernestine, que vas tu faire .. as tu bien consulte ton Coeur? in E flat. 7. Aria: O Clemengis, lis dans mon Ame; in C minor. 8. Air: Image cherie, Escrits si touchants; in B flat. 9. Air: Que me fait a moi la richesse...sans songer a Nicette; in F minor. 10. Duo: Au prés de vous mon Coeur soupire;

Note: The names of the characters, Ernestine and Clemengis, in numbers 4,6,7 and 8 of the above pieces indicate they came from the opera Ernestine; number 5 is probably from La Partie de chasse.

The orchestra for all the above consists of strings, 2 oboes and 2 horns.

Additional songs

Air: "Il n'est point, disoit mon père,"Air de l'Opéra Ernestine, in Journal de Paris 1777.

Two Airs de la Chasse, Mathurin dessus l'herbette and Soir et matin sous la fougère "de M. de Saint-Georges" in Journal de La Harpe, of 1779, the first Air, No. 9, the second one, No. 10., dated 1781, marked: "With accompagnement by M. Hartman," clearly only the voice part may be considered to be by Saint-Georges. The same is true of an Air "de M. de St.-George", L'Autre jour sous l'ombrage, also in the Journal de La Harpe (8e Année, No. 7), marked: "avec accompagnement par M. Delaplanque."

Two Italian Canzonettas: "Sul margine d'un rio" and "Mamma mia" (different than the spurious "Six Italian Canzonettas") copied by an unknown hand (including the signature) but authenticated by a paraphe (initials) in Saint-Georges' hand. They are in BnF, ms 17411.

Instrumental music

Violin concertos

Saint-Georges composed 14 violin concertos. Before copyrights, several publishers issued his concertos with both Opus numbers and numbering them according to the order in which they were composed. The thematic incipits on the right, should clear up the resulting confusion.

  • Op. II, No. 1 in G and No. 2 in D, published by Bailleux, 1773
  • Op. III, No. 1 in D and No. 2 in C, Bailleux, 1774
  • Op. IV, No. 1 in D and No. 2 in D, Bailleux, 1774 (No. 1 also published as "Op. post." while No 2 is also known simply as "op 4")
  • Op. V, No.1 in C and No. 2 in A, Bailleux, 1775
  • Op. VII, No. 1 in A and No. 2 in B flat, Bailleux, 1777
  • Op. VIII, No. 1 in D and No. 2 in G, Bailleux n/d (No. 2 issued by Sieber, LeDuc and Henry as No. 9. No 1 is also known simply as "op 8")
  • Op. XII, No. 1 in D and No. 2 in G, Bailleux 1777 (both issued by Sieber as No. 10 and No. 11)

Unlike the concertos, their publishers issued the symphonie-concertantes following Bailleux's original opus numbers, as shown by the incipits on the right.

Symphonies concertantes

There are eight Symphonies concertantes:

  • Op. IV, No. 1 in C and No. 2 in B flat, Bailleux, 1775
  • Op. IX, No. 1 in C and No. 2 in A, LeDuc, 1777
  • Op. X, for two violins and viola, No. 1 in F and No. 2 in A, La Chevardière, 1778
  • Op. XIII, No. 1 in E flat and No. 2 in G, Sieber, 1778


Deux Symphonies à plusieurs instruments, Op. XI, No. 1 in G and No. 2 in D. Note: the latter is identical with the Overture to the opéra comique, "L'Amant Anonyme."

The orchestration consists of strings, two oboes and two horns.

Chamber music


Trois Sonates for keyboard with violin: B flat, A, and G minor, Op. 1a, composed c. 1770, published in 1781 by LeDuc.

Sonata for harp with flute obligato, n.d.: E flat, original MS in Bibliothèque Nationale, côte: Vm7/6118

Sonate de clavecin avec violin obligé G major, arrangement of Saint-Georges's violin concerto Op. II No. 1 in G, in the collection "Choix de musique du duc regnant des Deux-Ponts."

Six Sonatas for violin accompanied by a second violin: B flat, E flat, A, G, B flat, A: Op. posth. Pleyel, 1800.

A Cello Sonata, lost, mentioned by a review in the Gazette du departement du Nord, April 10, 1792.

String quartets

Six quatuors à cordes, pour 2 vls, alto & basse, dédiés au prince de Robecq, in C, E flat, g minor, c minor, g minor, & D. Op. 1; probably composed in 1770 or 1771, published by Sieber in 1773.

Six quartetto concertans "Aux gout du jour", no Opus number. In B flat, g minor, C, F, G, & B flat, published by Durieu in 1779.

Six Quatuors concertans, oeuvre XIV, in D, B flat, f minor, G, E flat, & g minor, published by Boyer, 1785.

Doubtful works

The opera, Le Droit de seigneur taken for a work by Saint-Georges is in fact by J-P. E. Martini: (one aria contributed by Saint-Georges, mentioned in 1784 by Mercure, is lost).

A Symphony in D by "Signor di Giorgio" in the British Library, arranged for pianoforte, as revealed by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma is by the Earl of Kelly, using a nom de plume.

A quartet for harp and strings, ed. by Sieber, 1777, attributed to Saint-Georges, is mentioned in an advertisement in Mercure de France of September 1778 as: "arranged and dedicated to M. de Saint-Georges" by Delaplanque. This is obviously by the latter.

A Sonata in the Recueil Choix de musique in the Bibliothèque Nationale, is a transcription for forte-piano and violin of Saint-Georges' violin concerto in G major, Op. II No.1. This is the only piece by Saint-Georges in the entire collection erroneously attributed to him.

Recueil d'Airs avec accompagnement de forte piano par M. de St. Georges pour Mme. La Comtesse de Vauban, sometimes presented as a collection of vocal pieces by Saint-Georges, contains too many numbers obviously composed by others. For example, Richard Coeur de lion is by Grétry; Iphigenie en Tauride is by Gluck; and an aria from Tarare is by Salieri. Even if Saint-Georges had arranged their orchestral accompaniments for forte-piano, it would be wrong to consider them as his compositions. As for the rest, though some might be by Saint-Georges, since this may only be resolved by a subjective stylistic evaluation, it would be incorrect to accept them all as his work.

Six Italian Canzonettas by a Signor di Giorgio, for voice, keyboard or harp, and "The Mona melodies:" a collection of ancient airs from the Isle of Man, in the British Library, are not by Saint-Georges.

Recueil de pieces pour forte piano et violon pour Mme. la comtesse de Vauban erroneously subtitled "Trios" (they are solos and duos), a collection of individual movements, some for piano alone, deserves the same doubts as the Recueil d'Airs pour Mme. Vauban. Apart from drafts for two of Saint-Georges' oeuvres de clavecin, too many of these pieces seem incompatible with the composer's style. Les Caquets (The Gossips) a violin piece enthusiastically mentioned by some authors as typical of Saint-Georges' style, was composed in 1936 by the violinist Henri Casadesus. He also forged a spurious Haendel viola concerto and the charming but equally spurious "Adelaide" concerto supposedly by the 10-year-old Mozart, which Casadesus himself later admitted having composed.

Selected discography

Recordings: Because of the constant influx of new titles, the following can only be a partial listing:

Symphonies concertantes

Symphonie Concertante, Op. IX No. 1 in C: Miroslav Vilimec and Jiri Zilak, violins, Pilsen Radio Orchestra, Frantisek Preisler, conductor, Avenira, 1996-98.

Symphonie Concertante, Op. IX No. 2 in A: Miroslav Vilimec and Jiri Zilak, violins, Pilsen Radio Orchestra, Frantisek Preisler, conductor, Avenira, 1996-98.

Symphonie Concertante, Op. X No. 1 in F: Miroslav Vilimec and Jiri Zilak, violins, Jan Motlik, viola, Frantisek Preisler, conductor. Avenira, 1996-98.

Symphonie Concertante, Op. X No. 2 in A: Miroslav Vilimec and Jiri Zilak, violins, Jan Motlik, viola, Frantisek Preisler, conductor. Avenira, 1996-98.

Symphonie Concertante, Op. XII (sic) in Eb: Miroslav Vilimec and Jiri Zilak, violins, Pilsen Radio Orchestra, Frantisek Preisler, conductor. Avenira, 1996-98.

Symphonie Concertante, Op. XIII in G:

  • Miriam Fried and Jamie Laredo, violins, London Symphony Orchestra, Paul Freeman conductor, Columbia Records, 1970.
  • Vilimec and Ailak, violins, Pilsen Radio Orchestra, Preisler conductor, Avenira 1996–98.
  • Christopher Guiot and Laurent Philippe, violins, with Les Archets de Paris. ARCH, 2000.
  • Micheline Blanchard and Germaine Raymond, violins, Ensemble Instrumental Jean-Marie Leclair, Jean-François Paillard, conductor, Erato.
  • Huguette Fernandez and Ginette Carles, violins, ‘’Orchestre de Chambre Jean-François Paillard’’, Paillard, conductor, Musical Heritage Society.
  • Malcolm Lathem and Martin Jones, violins, Concertante of St. James, London, Nicholas Jackson, conductor, RCA Victor, LBS-4945.

Symphony Op. XI No. 1 in G:

  • ‘’Orchestre de chambre de Versailles’’, Fernard Wahl, conductor, Arion 1981.
  • Tafelmusik orchestra, Jeanne Lamon violinist-conductor, Assai M 2004.
  • ‘’Le Parlement de musique’’, Martin Gester conductor, Assai M 2004.
  • ‘’Ensemble Instrumental Jean-Marie Leclair’’, Jean-François Paillard, conductor, Erato n.d. Contemporains Français de Mozart’’.
  • London Symphony Orchestra, Paul Freeman, conductor, Columbia Records, 1974.

Symphony Op. XI No. 2 in D:

  • L’Ensemble Instrumental Jean-Marie Leclair, Jean-François Paillard, conductor. Erato, n.d. Contemporains Français de Mozart.
  • Orchestre de chambre de Versailles, Bernard Wahl, conductor, Arion, 1981.
  • Les Archets de Paris, Christopher Guiot conductor, Archets 2000.
  • Tafelmusik orchestra, Jeanne Lamon, violinist-conductor, Assai M 2004.
  • Le Parlement de musique, Martin Gester, conductor, Assai M 2004.
Violin concertos

Concerto Op. II No. 1 in G:

  • Miroslav Vilimec, Pilsen Radio Orchestra, Frantisek Preisler conductor, Avenira 2000.

Concerto Op. II No. 2 in D:

  • Miroslav Vilimec, Pilsen Radio Orchestra, Frantisek Preisler, conductor, Avenira 2000.
  • Stéphanie-Marie Degrand, ‘’Le Parlement de musique’’ Gester, conductor, Assai, 2004.

Concerto Op. III No. 1 in D:

  • Jean-Jacques Kantorow, Orchestre de chambre Bernard Thomas, Arion, 1974.
  • Miroslav Vilimec, Pilsen Radio Orchestra, Frantisek Preisler, conductor, Avenira 2000.
  • Linda Melsted, Tafelmusik Orchestra, Jeanne Lamon, violinist-conductor, CBC Records 2003.
  • Qian Zhou, Toronto Camerata, Kevin Mallon, conductor, Naxos 2004.

Concerto Op. III No. 2 in C:

  • Tamás Major, Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana, Forlane, 1999.
  • Miroslav Vilimec, Pilsen Radio Orchestra, Frantisek Preisler, conductor, Avenira 2000.

Concerto Op. IV No. 1 in D:

  • Miroslav Vilimec, Pilsen Radio Orchestra, Frantisek Preisler, conductor, Avenira 2000.
  • Qian Zhou, Camerata Toronto, Kevin Mallon, conductor, Naxos 2004. (The recording of this concerto was mistakenly reissued by Artaria as ‘’Op. posthumus’’, see incipit of concerto Op.IV No. 1 in D, in "Works".)

Concerto Op. IV No. 2 in D:

  • Hana Kotková, Orchestra della Svizzera Italiiana, Forlane, 1999.

Concerto Op. V No. 1 in C:

  • Jean-Jacques Kantorow, ‘’Orchestre de chambre Bernard Thomas’’, Arion, 1974
  • Miroslav Vilimec, Pilsen Radio Orchestra, Frantisek Preisler, conductor, Avenira 2000.
  • Christoph Guiot, ‘’Les Archets de Paris’’, ARCH 2000
  • Takako Nishizaki, ‘’Köln Kammerorchester’’, Helmut Müller-Brühl, conductor, Naxos 2001.

Concerto Op. V No. 2 in A:

  • Jean-Jacques Kantorow, ‘’Orchestre de chambre Bernard Thomas’’, Arion, 1974
  • Rachel Barton, Encore Chamber Orchestra, Daniel Hegge, conductor, Cedille, 1997.
  • Miroslav Vilimec, Pilsen Radio Orchestra, Frantisek Preisler, conductor, Avenira 2000.
  • Takako Nishizaki, ‘’Köln Kammerorchester’’, Helmut Müller-Brühl, conductor, Naxos 2001.

Concerto Op. VII No. 1 in A: Anthony Flint, Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana, Forlane, 1999.

Concerto Op. VII No. 2 in B flat:

  • Miroslav Vilimec, Pilsen Radio Orchestra, Frantisek Preisler, conductor, Avenira 2000.
  • Hans Liviabella, Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana Alain Lombard, conductor, Forlane, 1999.

Concerto "Op. VII No. 1" actually Op. XII No. 1: in D: Anne–Claude Villars, L’Orchestre de chambre de Versailles, Bernard Wahl, conductor, Arion, 1981.

Concerto "Op. VII No. 2" actually Op. XII No. 2 in G: Anne–Claude Villars, L’Orchestre de chambre de Versailles, Bernard Wahl, conductor, Arion, 1981.

Concerto Op. VIII No. 1 in D:

  • Miroslav Vilimec, Pilsen Radio Orchestra, Frantisek Preisler, conductor, Avenira 2000.

Concerto "Op. VIII No. 9", actually Op. VIII No. 2 in G:

  • Jean-Jacques Kantorow, Orchestre de chambre Bernard Thomas, Arion, 1976, Koch 1996.
  • Takako Nishizaki, Köln Kammerorchester, Helmut Müller-Brühl, conductor, Naxos 2001.
  • Stéphanie-Marie Degand, Le Parlement de musique, Martin Gester, conductor, Assai M 2004.
  • Miroslav Vilimec, Pilsen Radio Orchestra, Frantisek Preisler, conductor. Avenira 2000.

Concerto "Op. VIII No. 10", actually Op. XII, No. 1 in D: Miroslav Vilimec, Pilsen Radio Orchestra, Frantisek Preisler, conductor. Avenira 2000.

Concerto "Op. VIII No. 11", actually Op. XII, No 2 in G:

  • Miroslav Vilimec, Pilsen Radio Orchestra, Frantisek Preisler, conductor. Avenira 2000.
  • Qian Zhou, Toronto Camerata, Kevin Mallon, conductor. Naxos 2004. (Listed as Concerto No 10 in G in the recent Artaria Edition) The Largo of this recording is identical with that of Op. V No. 2 in A.

(As mentioned above, a Concerto with Qian Zhou, reissued by Artaria as "Op. Posthumus in D" is the same as Op, IV No. 1.)

Chamber music

String Quartets:

Six quartets Op. 1 (1771).

  • Juilliard Quartet, Columbia Records, 1974.
  • Antarés, B flat only Integral, 2003.
  • Coleridge, AFKA, 1998.
  • Jean-Noel Mollard, Arion 1995.

Six Quatuors Concertans, "Aux gôut de jour", no opus number (1779).

  • Coleridge Quartet, AFKA, 2003.
  • Antarés, Integral 2003.

Six Quartets Op. 14 (1785).

  • Quatuor Apollon, Avenira, 2005.
  • Joachim Quartet, Koch Schwann 1996.
  • Quatuor Les Adieux, Auvidis Valois, 1996.
  • Quatuor Atlantis, Assai, M 2004.
  • Quatuor Apollon, Avenira, 2005

Three Keyboard and Violin Sonatas (Op. 1a):

  • J.J. Kantorow, violin, Brigitte Haudebourg, Clavecin, Arion 1979.
  • Stéphanie-Marie Degand, Violin, Alice Zylberach, piano, Assai M, 2004.

Adagio in F minor, edited by de Lerma: Natalie Hinderas, piano, Orion, 1977.

Air d’Ernestine: Faye Robinson, soprano, London Symphony Orchestra, Paul Freeman conductor, Columbia Records, 1970.

  • Overture and two Airs of Leontine from L’Amant anonyme: ‘’Enfin, une foule importune: Du tendre amour’’: Odile Rhino, soprano, Les Archets de Paris, Christophe Guiot conductor, Archives Records, 2000.
  • Excerpts from Ballets No. 1 & 2, and Contredance from L’Amant anonyme, Tafelmusik Orchestra, Jeanne Lamon, violinist-conductor, CBC Records, 2003.


  1. ^ La Boëssière, Tessier, fils, (1818). Traité, Notice historique sur le chevalier de St.-Georges (in French). Paris: Didot. p. xvi.  Date of birth as affirmed by lifelong friend.
  2. ^ Document: Permission for Mme. George Bologne to take Nanon negresse and Joseph, her son age 2, to France; Archives départementales de la Gironde; 6B/50.
  3. ^ Document: Formation of the Légion St. Georges; S.H.A.T. (French Army Archives, Vincennes), Dossier Bologne 2Ye91/47.
  4. ^ Document: Permission for Mme. George Bologne to take Nanon negresse and Joseph, her son aged two, to France; Archives départementales de la Gironde; 6B/50.
  5. ^ Brevet (Warrant), April 1757, Archives Nationales, 1.01 101. Doc. 8.2 in: Banat, Gabriel (2006). The Chevalier de Saint-Georges: Virtuoso of the Sword and the Bow. Hillsdale, NY: Pendragon Press. p. 491. 
  6. ^ Beauvoir, Roger, de (1840). Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges (in French). Paris: Lévy frères. 
  7. ^ "St. Georges and Mulatre J'f.," listed as passengers landing in the Bordeaux custom officials' booklets; C.A.O.M., French Overseas Archives, F5b 14-58; Doc. 7.1 in: Banat, p. 492.
  8. ^ C.A.O.M. F5b 14-58. Doc. 8.1 in: Banat, p. 490.
  9. ^ La Boëssière fils, p. xvj.
  10. ^ Angelo, Henry (1834). Angelo's Pic-nic or Table Talk. London: J. Ebers. p. 23. 
  11. ^ Bardin, Pierre (2010). Joseph de Saint George, le Chevalier Noir (in French). Paris: Guenegaud. p. 66. 
  12. ^ Angelo, Henry (1834). Angelo's Pic-nic or Table Talk. London: J. Ebers. p. 23. 
  13. ^ Fusil, Louise (1841). Souvenirs d’une actrice (in French). I. Paris: Charles Schmit. p. 142. 
  14. ^ La Boëssière, fils, Notice, xxj.
  15. ^ Beauvoir, Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges, pp. 22–28. Alas, he is mentioned as Saint-Georges’s first violin teacher even by some of his serious biographers. Besides, Saint-Georges did not go to Saint-Domingue until the age of 51.
  16. ^ Lolli's dedication was to Joseph's father: "To M. de Bologne de Saint-Georges, who gave the arts a priceless gift in the person of his son." Digital copy of the original print at the website of le Bibliothèque national de Paris.
  17. ^ Digital copy of the original print at the website of le Bibliothèque national de Paris.
  18. ^ Carl Stamitz's first published works; 6 String Quartets (or Orchestral Quartets), Op.1. Digital copy of the original print at the website of le Bibliothèque national de Paris.
  19. ^ 6 String Quartets, Op.6. Digital copy of the original print at the website of le Bibliothèque national de Paris.
  20. ^ Le Mercure de France, February 1773, p. 176.
  21. ^ Prod'homme, Jacques Gabriel. François Gossec. Paris: La Colombe. p. 12. 
  22. ^ Baron Bagge was so eccentric he wore a violin bow instead of a sword at his side, and paid virtuosos to say they studied with him.
  23. ^ L’Almanach musical, Paris, 1775, p. 198
  24. ^ Brenet, p.365
  25. ^ Rapid alternation between two strings, and arpeggios in high positions.
  26. ^ Bardin, Pierre (2010). Joseph de Saint George,le Chevalier Noir. Paris: Guenegaud. p. 89. 
  27. ^ Grimm, Correspondance IX, pp. 183-4
  28. ^ Bachaumont, Louis Petit, de (1777–1789). Mémoires secrets pour servir à l'histoire de la République en France. IV. London: J. Adamson.  May 1, 1779
  29. ^ Le Mercure de France, July 20, 1777.
  30. ^ La Harpe, Jean-François, de (1801–1807). Correspondance littéraire. Paris: Migueret. pp. 130–135.  letter 71
  31. ^
  32. ^ Allan Braham (1989), The Architecture of the French Enlightenment, pp. 212–213.[1]
  33. ^ Banat, Gabriel (2006). The Chevalier de Saint-Georges, Virtuoso of the Sword and the Bow. Hillsdale, NY: Pendragon Press. p. 171. 
  34. ^ Vigée-Lebrun, Elizabeth (1869). Souvenirs (in French). Paris: Charpentier. p.77
  35. ^ Journal de Paris, October 13, 1778.
  36. ^ Bardin, Pierre (2006). Joseph de Saint-Georges, le Chevalier Noir. Paris: Guenegaud. p. 112. 
  37. ^ She was a playwright, mistress of Philippe d’Orléans and ‘governor’ (sic) of his children.
  38. ^ L’Amant is Saint-Georges’s sole opera to be found intact, and listed in BnF, section musique, côte 4076.
  39. ^ Which the US Congress refused to acknowledge
  40. ^ Hochschild, Adam (2005). Bury the Chains. New York: H. Mifflin. pp. 87,220. 
  41. ^ Angelo, Pic-nic, p. 24.
  42. ^ Classic fencing thrusts
  43. ^ D'Eon, a former agent of Louis XV, had to pass the second half of his life as a woman for reasons of state.
  44. ^ Violinist-composer and painter
  45. ^ Morning Herald, April 11, 1787.
  46. ^ The Morning Herald, April 6, 1787.
  47. ^ Mather Brown was a portrait painter, born in Boston, Massachusetts, living and working in London.
  48. ^ Angelo, Henry (1830). Reminiscences of Henry Angelo. London: Colburn & Bently. p. 538. 
  49. ^ Journal general de France, August 11, 1787.
  50. ^ Brenet, Michel (Maria Bobillier) (1900). Les Concerts en France (in French). Paris: Fishbacher. p. 365. 
  51. ^ Louis XVI’s Minister of finance.
  52. ^ "Regency Hot Spots: The Hotels of the Haute Ton", Regency Reader.
  53. ^ Angelo, Pic-nic, pp. 25–26.
  54. ^ Angelo, Reminisences, p. 538; also in Banat, p. 344.
  55. ^ Feuilles de Flandres, Lille-Arras, July 1990.
  56. ^ Banat, p. 294.
  57. ^ Banat, p. 354: Report by Luzerne, Louis XVI's ambassador in London.
  58. ^ Elliott, Grace (1859). Journal of my Life. London: R. Bentley. p. 46.  Mrs Elliott, possibly an agent employed by both London and Versailles, famed by her portrait painted by Gainsborough.
  59. ^ Feuilles de Flanders, July 10, 1790.
  60. ^ Gazette du Département du Nord, No. 18, Saturday, September 11, 1790.
  61. ^ Gazette du département du Nord, Spectacles, Sunday, September 7, 1790.
  62. ^ Fusil, Souvenirs I, 144–145.
  63. ^ Gazette du Département du Nord, September 13, 1791.
  64. ^ Fusil, Souvenirs, I, pp. 143–144, and Banat, p. 358.
  65. ^ St. Georges, private, 4th battalion, 2nd company, 1st platoon, 2nd squad, No. 8: S.H.A.T., Vincennes, Dossier Bologne de St. Georges, 2Ye 91/47.
  66. ^ Gazette du Nord, November 13, 1791.
  67. ^ Gazette du Nord, Tuesday, April 10, 1792.
  68. ^ Shama, Simon (1989). Citizens, a Chronicle of the French Revolution. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. p. 597. 
  69. ^ Schama, 600,
  70. ^ S.H.A.T., Vincennes, 2Ye 91/47.
  71. ^ Baisieux is a hamlet midway between Tournai and Lille.
  72. ^ Gazette du Département du Nord, May 10, 1792.
  73. ^ Americans, meaning from the Antilles, France’s American colonies
  74. ^ From then on, Saint-Georges dropped his title of Chevalier in disfavor with the revolution, and when religion was briefly discarded, signed himself as St. Georges.
  75. ^ Descaves, P. (1891). Historique du 13e Régiment de chasseurs. Béziers: A. Bouineau. pp. 3–4. 
  76. ^ Descaves, 4
  77. ^ S.H.A.T., Dossier Thomas Alexandre Dumas, 78 Yd 9
  78. ^ J.N. Pache de Montguyon
  79. ^ Letter, February 13, 1793, Dossier 13e Chasseurs, Xc 209/211
  80. ^ Aulard, F.A. (1889–1923). Recueil des actes de Comité du Salut Public. III. Paris: Imprimerie Nationale. pp. 598–9. 
  81. ^ S.H.A.T., Dossier 2Y, letter of 2 May signed Dufrenne.
  82. ^ Pache had diverted the army’s funds to arm radical communes of the capital.
  83. ^ Descaves, p. 6
  84. ^ S.H.A.T. Dossier Xc 13th chasseurs, 24 Floreal An III.
  85. ^ Dumouriez, Charles François (1794). Mémoires du général Dumouriez, écrites par lui même (in French). Hambourg: B.G.Hoffman. p. 90. 
  86. ^ Minutes of St.-Georges' and his officers testimony at the Miaczinsky trial: Paris, Archives Nationales, W271.
  87. ^ Archives Nationales, W271.
  88. ^ Dumouriez, 90
  89. ^ S.H.A.T. Xc209-211, Doc. 38.1 in Banat, p. 506.
  90. ^ S.H.A.T. Dossier 7YD91, Thomas Alexander Dumas, B 3465, Doc. 38.3, Banat, p. 508.
  91. ^ S.H.A.T., Dossier St. Georges 2Ye, Deux Brummaire An III [23 October 1793] de la République Française et Indivisible
  92. ^ According to Odet Denys, author of “Qui était le chevalier de Saint-Georges?” [Paris; Le Pavillon 1972] St. Georges' record of outstanding service to the Revolution would have exempted him from that law.
  93. ^ Edwards, Bryan (1797). A Historical Survey of the French Colony on the Island of St. Domingo. London: Stockdale. p. 68. 
  94. ^ Fusil “Souvenirs d’une actrice, p. 105.
  95. ^ La Laurencie, Vol.II, p. 484.
  96. ^ Le Mercure Français April 11, 1797.
  97. ^ J. S. A. Cuvelier, Necrology; Courier des spectacles, June 12, 1799, also Doc.1, in Banat, p. 484.
  98. ^ La Boëssière, Traité p. xxii (but for being confused by the new calendar, it would have been June 9.)
  99. ^ Le Courier des spectacles, June 12, 1799.
  100. ^ Archives de Paris/Archives d'insinuation de la Seine, DQ8 39: Doc. 42.1 in Banat, p. 520.
  101. ^ Corrected in October 2007 by the Mayor of Paris with data supplied by Gabriel Banat


  • Henry Angelo, Angelo's Pic-nic or Table Talk, 1834, London: J. Ebers
  • Henry Angelo, Reminiscences of Henry Angelo, London, Colburn & Bently, 1830
  • Gabriel Banat, The Chevalier de Saint-Georges: Virtuoso of the Sword and the Bow, Hillsdale, NY: Pendragon Press, 2006 (ISBN 1-57647-109-8)
  • Gabriel Banat (editor), Masters of the Violin, Vol. III, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, Violin Concertos and Symphonies Concertantes, New York: 1981 (ISBN 0-384-03183-8)
  • Gabriel Banat, "Saint-Georges, Joseph Bologne, Chevalier, de" The New Grove, 2000, London: 2000
  • Gabriel Banat, "The Chevalier de Saint-Georges, Man of Music and Gentleman-at-Arms, the Life and Times of an Eighteenth Century Prodigy" Black Music Journal, Chicago: Columbia College, 1990, Vol. 10 No. 2, 177-212
  • Adam Hochschild, Bury the Chains, New York: H. Mifflin, 2005 (ISBN 0-618-10469-0)
  • Stanley Loomis, Paris in the Terror, Philadelphia & New York: Lippincott, 1964, Library of Congress: 63-20397
  • Simon Schama Citizens, a Chronicle of the French Revolution, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1989
  • Bryan Edwards, A Historical Survey of the French Colony on the Island of St. Domingo London: Stockdale, 1797
  • Grace Darlymple Elliott, Journal of my life during the French Revolution, London: R. Bentley, 1859
  • David Saul, Prince of Pleasure, the Prince of Wales and the Making of the Regency, New York: Atlantic Monthly Press,1966 ISBN 0-87113-739-9
  • Emil F. Smidak, Joseph Boulogne, called Chevalier de Saint-Georges, Lucerne: Avenira Foundation, 1996 (ISBN 3-905112-07-8)
  • Garry Kates, Monsieur D'Eon is a Woman, New York: Basic Books, 1995 (ISBN 978-0-465-04761-1)
  • John Hardman, Louis XVI, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993 (ISBN 0-300-06077-7)
  • Antonia Fraser, Marie Antoinette, The Journey, London: Phoenix, 2001 (ISBN 0-75381-305-X)
  • Olivier Bernier, Louis the Beloved, Life of Louis XV, New York: Doubleday, 1984 (ISBN 0-385-18402-6)
  • Spire Pitou, The Paris Opera, 1715-1815, Vol. II, London: Greenwood Press, 1985 (ISBN 0-313-24394-8)
  • Sue Peabody, There are no Slaves in France, New York: Oxford University Press, 1996 (ISBN 0-19-510198-7)
  • C. L. R. James, The Black Jacobins, Toussaint l'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution, New York: Random House, 1963 (ISBN 0-679-72467-2)
  • Helen Cripe, Thomas Jefferson and Music, Charlottesville: the University Press of Virginia, 1974 (ISBN 0-8139-0504-4)
  • (in French) Bernard Milland, and Jean-François Raffin, L'Archet, Paris, 2000
  • (in French) André Maurois, Les Trois Dumas, Paris: Librairie Hachette, 1957
  • (in French) Georges Poisson, Choderlos de Laclos ou L'Obstination, Paris: Grasset, 1985
  • (in French) Barry S. Brook, La Symphonie Française dans la seconde moitié du XVIII siècle. Vol. I, Paris: L'Institut de Musicologie de l'Université de Paris, 1972
  • (in French) Gabriel de Broglie, Madame de Genlis, Paris: Perrin, 1984
  • (in French) Jean-Benjamin de La Borde, Essai sur la musique ancienne et moderne, Paris: Pierres, 1780
  • (in French) Jacques-Gabriel Prod’homme, François Gossec, la vie, les oeuvres, l'homme et l'artiste, Paris: La Colombe, 1949
  • (in French) Lionel de La Laurencie, L'École Française de violon, de Lully à Viotti Vol. II, Paris: De la Grave, 1922
  • (in French) Evelyne Lever, Philippe Égalité, Paris: Fayard, 1996
  • (in French) Pierre Bardin, Joseph de Saint George, le Chevalier Noir, Paris: Guénégaud, 2006 (ISBN 2-85023-126-6)
  • (in French) Roger de Beauvoir, Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges, Paris: Lévy frères, 1840
  • (in French) Tessier de La Boëssière, Traité de l'art des armes à l'usage des professeurs et des amateurs, Preface: La Boëssière (fils), Notice historique sur le chevalier de St. Georges, Paris: Didot,1818
  • (in French) Conseil Général de la Guadeloupe, Le fleuret et l'archet, Le Chevalier de Saint-George (1739? - 1799) Bisdary-Gourbeyre, Guadeloupe, 2001
  • (in French) Alain Guédé, Monsieur de Saint-George, le Négre des lumières Paris: Actes Sud, 1999 (ISBN 2-7427-2390-0)
  • (in French) Claude Ribbe, Le Chevalier de Saint-George Paris: Perrin, 2004 (ISBN 2-262-02002-7)
  • (in French) F. G. Hourtoulle, Franc-Maçonnerie et Revolution, Paris: Carrere, 1989
  • (in French) Frédéric Héllouin, Gossec et la musique française du XVIIIe siècle, Paris: A.Charles, 1903
  • (in French) Louise Fusil, Souvenirs d'une actrice, Paris: Charles Schmit, 1841
  • (in French) Grimm, Diderot, Raynal, Meister, Correspondance littéraire, philosophique et critique, Paris: Garnier Frères 1877-1882
  • (in French) Louis Petit de Bachaumont, Mémoires secrets pour servir à l'histoire de la République en France, London: J. Adamson, 1777–1779
  • (in French) Jean-François de La Harpe, Correspondance littéraire, Paris: Migueret, 1801–07
  • (in French) Odet Denys, Qui était le chevalier de Saint-Georges?, Paris: Le Pavillon, 1972
  • (in French) Michel Brenet (Marie Bobilier), Les Concerts en France sous l'Ancien Régime, Paris: Fishbacher, 1900
  • (in French) Charles François Dumouriez, Mémoires du général Dumouriez écrites par lui même, Hambourg: B.G. Hoffman, 1794
  • (in French) Pierre Descaves, Historique du 13e Régiment de chasseurs, Béziers: A. Bouineau, 1891
  • (in French) J. B. Labat, père, Nouveau voyage aux isles d'Amérique, Paris: Peyraud, 1722
  • (in French) Arthur Pougin, Viotti et l'école moderne du violon, Paris: Schott, 1888
  • (in French) J. L. Quoy-Bodin, L'Orchestre de la Société Olympique en 1786, Revue Musicale, 70/1, Paris: Bibliothèque historique de la Ville de Paris. Imprimé No. 10708

External links

This page was last modified 31.12.2017 18:06:15

This article uses material from the article Chevalier de Saint-Georges from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia and it is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.