Friday, August 15, 2008

Role of Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges in Commissioning Haydn's “Paris Symphonies”

[Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges: Violin Concertos, Op. 5, Nos. 1 & 2; Op. 3, No. 1; Op. 8, No. 9; Bernard Thomas Chamber Orchestra; Jean-Jacques Kantorow, Violin; Arion 68093 (1990)]

On Aug. 11, the blog “1001 Classical Recordings” posted “142. Joseph Haydn – Symphony no. 83, 'La Poule' (1785)”. Haydn's Symphony No. 83 (“The Hen”) is one of his Paris Symphonies. Their premier performances were conducted by Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges (1745-1799) in 1787:“The individual responsible for commissioning the symphonies from Haydn was Claude-François-Marie Rigolet, Comte d'Ogny (i.e., count of Ogny), an aristocrat still in his twenties (his life dates were 1757-1790). The Count, who was the 'Intendant Général des Postes' (postal service superintendent), grew up in a very musical household, where his father kept a great collection of musical manuscripts. Patronage of music may have been an extravagance for the Count, since at his death he left a huge debt of 100,000 livres.
“The actual negotiations with Haydn were carried out at Ogny's request by Joseph Boulogne, the Chevalier de Saint-Georges, the talented leader of the Loge Olympique orchestra. Haydn was paid 25 louis d'or for each symphony plus 5 louis for the French publication rights; the sum was apparently very satisfactory from Haydn's point of view, since the lack of copyright laws had generally prevented him from profiting much from his popularity as a composer.” Full Post [Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges is profiled at]

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