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Home -> Composers -> Saint-Georges, Le Chevalier de -> Violin Concertos


Saint-Georges Violin Concertos

Selected Recordings


Table of Contents

  1 Arion 68093
  2 Naxos 8.555041
  3 Cedille 90000 035
  4 Forlane 16792
  5 Avenira AV 9985 2E
  6 Avenira AV 9986 2E
  7 Avenira AV 9987 2E
  8 Avenira AV 9988 2E
  9 Avenira AV 9989 2E
 10 Naxos 8.557322
 11 CBC SMCD 5225
 12 Assai 222662

 13 Calliope 9373
 14 Avenira AV 276015
 15 Oehms OC 705


Audio Samples: CDs 3, 6 & 8

(1) Arion 68093 (1990)
Op. 3, No. 1; Op. 5, Nos. 1 & 2; Op. 8, No. 9
Bernard Thomas Chamber Orchestra; Jean-Jacques Kantorow, Violin. Arion 68093 (1990).  The picture above was painted in London in 1787 by Mather Brown, an American artist.  Violinist Joel-Marie Fauquet writes in the liner notes:

I remember, after hearing a performance of a fine Sinfonie concertante for two violins by Saint-Georges, the following comment: "He is influenced by Mozart." In order to establish the truth, it must be stated that Saint-Georges remains, it is too often forgotten today, one of the principal exponents of the French style of the sinfonie concertante and the violin
concerto, and it was on the contrary Mozart, with his extraordinary genius for integrating new ideas, who introduced the quintessence of what he had learned from the Parisian violinists influenced by the Mannheim school, into his own violin concertos.  The circumstances were those of his second visit to Paris in 1778.  Nevertheless, the aristocratic quality of Saint-Georges' invention, the variety and suppleness, made of him a musician similar to Mozart with all due consideration.

(2) Naxos 8.555040 (2001)
Op. 5, Nos. 1 & 2; Op. 8 in G Major
Takako Nishizaki, Violin; Cologne Chamber Orchestra; Helmut Muller Bruhl, Conductor; Naxos 8.555040 (2001)

(3) Cedille 90000 035 (1997)
Op. 5, No. 2 in A Major 
Violin Concerto in A Major, Op. 5, No. 2
Violin Concertos by Black Composers of the 18th & 19th Centuries; Rachel Barton, Violin; Encore Chamber Orchestra; Daniel Hege, Conductor; Cedille 90000 035 (1997).  The Black composers represented are: Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912), Chevalier de Saint-Georges (1745-1799), and Jose Silvestre White (1836-1918). Each has a page of his own at this Web site.  A fourth composer was a "Black Musketeer" named Chevalier J.J.O. de Meude-Monpas (18th C.).  Gabriel Banat is the noted violinist who wrote The Chevalier de Saint-Georges: Virtuoso of the Sword and the Bow, published by Pendragon Press in 2006.  He finds that Meude-Monpas was a
member of a unit which rode black horses, but there is no reason to believe he was Black.  

(4) Forlane 16792 (1992)
Op. 3, No. 2 in C Major; Op. 4 in D Major; Op. 7, No. 1 in A Major; Op. 7, No. 2 in B flat Major
Anthony Flint, Hana Kotkova, Hans Liviabella & Tamas Major, Violin; Orchestre de la Svizzera Italiana; Forlane 16792
(1999).  Alain Guede writes in the liner notes:

The "famous Saint-George", as commentators invariably call him, was, undoubtedly, one of the most striking figures of musical Paris in this second half of the eighteenth century. The "Watteau of music", as he was often called at the time, the "Voltaire of music" as the Abbe Gregoire called him, was then one of the very few composers able to fill the salons regularly with several hundreds if not thousands of people.  And whereas the Lord of Ferney (Voltaire) was the incarnation of this "Age of Enlightenment", with its light-heartedness, its quest for happiness and the hope of a more just society, its revolt - and whereas Fragonard and later Greuze best translated the abundance of the time in painting, it is Saint-George who appears as the French composer who, through his life and work, best portrays this period.

Composed during different periods in Saint-George's career, these four concertos each have their own tonality and character. Their individuality is highlighted by each of the four soloists, whose talents are quite diverse. Nonetheless, these works are related and bear witness to the homogeneity of the composer's work.  There is indeed a Saint-George "signature".

(5) Avenira AV 9985 2E (2000)
Op. 2, No. 2 in D Major; Op. 3, No. 1 in D Major; Op. 8, No. 1 in D Major

(6) Avenira AV 9986 2E (2000)
Op. 2, No. 1 in G Major; Op. 4 in D Major; Op. 8, No. 9 in G Major  Violin Concerto in G Major, Op. 8, No. 9

(7) Avenira AV 9987 2E (2000)
Op. 5, No. 1 in C Major; Op. 7, No. 2 in B Flat Major

(8) Avenira AV 9988 2E (2000)
Op. 5, No. 2 in A Major; Op. 8, No. 10 in D Major
Violin Concerto in A Major, Op. 5, No. 2

(9) Avenira AV 9989 2E (2000)
Op. 3, No. 2 in C Major; Op. 8, No. 11 in G Major
Jiri Zilak, Violin; Jan Motlik, Alto; Radio Symphony Orchestra of Pilsen; Frantisek Preisler, Conductor.

The Avenira Foundation is based in Lucerne, Switzerland.  It is also the publisher of the 1996 biography Joseph Boulogne called Chevalier de Saint-Georges by Emil F. Smidak.  The liner notes are from the book.

Roger-Claude Travers wrote a review of the five discs for the June 2000 issue of Diapason, a music magazine which is published in French.  The following excerpt is translated from French:

The Avenira Foundation is devoted exclusively to publishing the works of Emil Smidak, author of a recent biography of Saint-Georges.  It comes close to completely fulfilling our wishes for rehabilitation of this appealing catalog.
How should Saint-Georges be played? The same way he directed Le Concert des Amateurs: with precision, suavely nuanced, with vivaciousness, bringing elegance to expressive beauty.  Miroslav Vilimec is a charming, sensitive and honest technician of art.  His seductive vibrato is both compressed and generous. Was it really necessary to entrust the entire body of concertos to one soloist?  The performance on the Forlane label chose the inverse option and varied the soloists from one work to the other.  But Preisler's conducting is more lively, as well as more picturesque. The two approaches complement each other.

(10) Naxos 8.557322 (2004)
Op. 3, No. 1 in D; No. 10 in G; Post. No. 2 in D
Yu Qian Zhou, Violin; Toronto Camerata; Kevin Mallon, Conductor; Naxos 8.557322 (2004)

(11) CBC SMCD 5225 (2003)
Op. 3, No. 1 in D Major
Linda Melsted, Violin; Tafelmusik Orchestra; Jeanne Lamon, Conductor; CBC SMCD 5225 (2003)

(12) Assai 222662 (2004)
Concerto for Violin and Guitar, Op. 8, No. 9 in G Major
Concerto for Violin, Op. 11, No. 2 in D Major
Stephanie-Marie Degand, Violin; Le Parlement de Musique;
Martin Gester, Conductor; Assai 222662 (2004)

(13) Calliope 9373 (2007)
Concertos for Violin, Op. 7, No. 1 in A Major; Bertrand Cervera, Violin; Op. 4 in D Major; Christophe Guiot, Violin; Op. 7, No. 9 in G Major; Thibault Vieux, Violin; Les Archets de Paris; Calliope 9373 (2007)

(14) Avenira AV 276015 (2006)
Concertos for Violin, Op. 7, No. 2, in B flat Major; Op. 8, in G Major; Without Op. No., in D Major
Miroslav Vilimec, Violin; Pilsen Philharmonic Orchestra; Frantisek Preisler, Jr., Conductor; Avenira AV 276015 (2006)
Michelle Garnier-Panafieu writes in the liner notes, translated by Mary Pardoe:

These three concertos were composed within a short lapse of time, between 1777, the year Ernestine was presented at the Comédie-Italienne and Saint-George entered the service of the Duke and Duchess of Orléans, and 1778, when he published his second set of symphonies (Opus IX), which had been performed at the Concert Spirituel as well as at the Concert des Amateurs.

(15) Oehms OC 705 (2007)
Op. 2, No. 1 in G Major
Yura Lee, Violin; Bayerische Kammerphilharmonie; Reinhard Goebel, Conductor; Oehms OC 705 (2007)


This page was last updated on January 3, 2021

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