Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges: “The Complete Symphonies Concertantes On 2 CDs”

[Le Chevalier de Saint-George: The Complete Symphonies Concertantes On 2 CDs, CD1; Avenira (2008)]

The Avenira label will soon release two CDs, t
he symphonies concertantes of Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges (1745-1799). He is profiled at AfriClassical.com, where 12 audio samples of his music can be heard. The new CDs have been recorded by the Pilsen Philharmonic Orchestra, under conductors Jiří Malát and František Preisler. Violin soloists are Miroslav Vilímec (b. 1958), Jiří Žilák (b. 1948), and Michal Pospíšil (b. 1960). Liner notes are by Michelle Garnier-Panafieu, with English translation by Mary Pardoe. Many Avenira CDs of the works of Saint-Georges are available from classical music stores and websites. The complete collection is available from the U.S. Distributor, Qualiton.com The following is an excerpt from the liner notes:

Since 1979, the Avenira Foundation (Lucerne, Switzerland), which champions humanitarian
causes and is particularly interested in the struggle against slavery of the Black populations, has
undertaken to revive the memory of one of the most interesting musical figures of the eighteenth century...Joseph de Bologne de Saint-George, better known as “Chevalier de Saint-George”. After publishing a biography of this musician in 1996 by the late Emil F. Smidak, Joseph Boulogne called Chevalier de Saint-Georges (also available in French), in 1997 Avenira produced recordings of most of his concertos, symphonies and symphonies concertantes. These were followed in 2005 by recordings of his Six Quartets Opus 14, and in 2006 by the release on five CDs of his complete Violin Concertos (world première), with liner notes including biographical, historical and musicological information. Now, for the delight of music lovers, Avenira presents his complete Symphonies concertantes in the hope that more and more people will thus discover one of the most remarkable composers of the French Enlightenment: Monsieur de Saint-George. While the great names of Viennese Classicism live forever in the annals of fame, few French musicians of the second half of the eighteenth century attained the pinnacle of repute. This naturally leads us to wonder whether, at the time of the famous Encyclopédie, when French culture enjoyed such international renown, composers were not relegated to the fringe of cultured society. But considering the prestige at that time of the concerts given in Paris (then also eminent in the field of music publishing), which attracted virtuoso musicians from all over Europe, that is hardly believable. Appearing there, whether in public concerts (around 1750 the Concert Spirituel opened its doors to Italians, Germans and artists from Central Europe) or private ones (those of La Pouplinière or the Prince de Conti), was for them essential. The arrival of Marie-Antoinette, then of Gluck, strengthened the position of foreign musicians in the French capital. It was in that cosmopolitan social and cultural context that the famous “Chevalier de Saint-George” lived in Paris, succeeded in overcoming the social handicap of his colour, and obtained recognition as one of the greatest musicians of his time.

1 comment:

Halleyjc said...

Bravo pour la FONDATION AVENIRA. Nous sommes certain du succès de ces deux CD tant les Symphonies Concertantes nous sembles belles.
Ayons une petite pensée pour le regretté Emil SMIDAK qui aura beaucoup fait pour le Chevalier de Saint-Georges.
Jean-Claude HALLEY
Les Amis de Saint-Georges