Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges (1745-1799) Was 54 When He Died

[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)]

Parisienne Postcards published a post entitled Le Nègre des Lumières” on Sept. 22, 2009. It says, in pertinent parts, “I have read about the french revolution but I was not aware of the wonderful and remarkable story of le Chevalier de Saint-Georges until I attended the opera Le Nègre des Lumières in Paris.” “The Chevalier de Saint-Georges was born Joseph de Bologne on the 25th of December 1745.”

Ultimately, toward the end of his life, in 1797, he directed the Circle of Harmony, a concert organization established at the Palais-Royal. In 1799, living alone in a small apartment in Paris he succumbed to an untreated bladder infection. He was taken in and cared for by an old friend, Nicolas Duhamel, until his death on the 10th of June 1799. He was 60 years old.”

If in fact Saint-Georges was born in 1745, he was 54, not 60, when he died in 1799. The age of 60 is, however, consistent with the biography
Le Nègre des Lumières (1999) by Alain Guédé, which states that Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges was born in 1739.

Three major biographies have been published since 2004:
The Chevalier de Saint-Georges: Virtuoso of the Sword and the Bow (2006) by Gabriel Banat; Le chevalier de Saint-George (2004) by Claude Ribbe in French; and Joseph de Saint-George, le Chevalier Noir (The Black Chevalier) (2006) by Pierre Bardin. The authors of these works examined historical documents related to Saint-Georges, and all found that the authentic date of birth of Saint-Georges is Christmas Day, 1745. [Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges is profiled at]

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