Do you remember those “most interesting man in the world” commercials from the last decade? It’s hard to imagine another figure in music who fits the bill besides Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges. He wasn’t just a composer, a conductor, and a virtuoso violinist, but also one of the greatest fencers in Europe, a military man, was involved in the French Revolution and by all accounts I've seen was dashingly handsome. Not to mention the fact that he was part of “high society” and also spent time with Queen Marie Antoinette.
It seems only natural that a movie would be made on his extraordinary life (it’s called Chevalier and comes out this April!).
In this episode, Evan Keely and I explore his life and music, which like most composers from the 18th century is missing some information. For example, there isn’t anything mentioning Joseph Bologne as a musician until he was 19 when another composer (Antonio Lolli) dedicated 2 violin concertos to him in 1764. We piece things together along the way and demonstrate some of the musical characteristics of his compositions.
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