Talk:Chevalier de Saint-Georges

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January 18, 2015Featured article candidateNot promoted


Is it appropriate to say that he wrote in the style of Mozart?[edit]

When in fact, he had already helped to strongly define the French style of violin at the time when Mozart traveled there to study. He was a contemporary of Mozart's, and was more established and socially invested in French society by the time of Mozart's arrival. As a student of LeClaire & Gossec, and the fact that Mozart "borrowed" one of his melodies for his ballet Score Les petits riens, wouldn't a different comparison of styles be more apropos? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Torinhill (talkcontribs) 00:40, 24 January 2010 (UTC)

Only if you can provide reliable sources that say so. --Orange Mike | Talk 00:50, 24 January 2010 (UTC)
The CBC documentary "The Mozart Noir: Reviving a Legend" features members of the renowned Tafelmusik baroque orchestra discussing the technical challenges of Saint-Georges' music and specifically his influence on Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Viola and Orchestra in E-flat major, K. 364 (320d). It can be seen at -Garpinator (talk) 01:01, 29 June 2012 (UTC)

so what you're saying is that you can make an anachronistic comparison of style without sources, but can't correct it without sources? according to Le Mozart Noir, the movie on St-George, after returning from paris as a child, Mozart wrote a symphony concertant with a passage in the violin ripped off directly from a symphony concertant by St-George. Mozart is a well-documented imitator, especially when younger, though he put his brilliant spin on things. putting St George downstream from Mozart isn't factual in the slightest, and needs citations. (talk) 22:19, 23 November 2011 (UTC)

The passage cited in "Le Mozart Noir" was from the third movement of his Sinfonia Concertante for violin and viola, composed after Mozart's 1777 visit to Paris (and later Mannheim) as an adult, not as a child and is short enough that it should be considered a "quote" not plagiarism. Quoting was a common practice of composers in the European tradition and was done as a sort of tip of the cap acknowledging the influence of the quoted composer. One of the better known examples is Franz Schubert's quote of the "Ode to Joy" them from Beethoven's ninth Symphony in the finale of his own ninth In other words, Mozart is letting us know that he was influenced by Saint-Georges (Yes, that is the correct spelling; it's French), a pioneer of the genre, in writing his concertante. BTW, the quoted piece is Saint-Georges' Concerto for Violin and Orchestra Op. 5, No. 2. Also, the comparison to Mozart is not new. As the title of the CBC documentary you cited indicates, he was known as the "Black Mozart" to his contemporaries. It might be fairest to state that each composer was influenced by the other. Garpinator (talk) 01:23, 28 June 2012 (UTC)

Pretender to the English Throne?[edit]

Does anyone know anything about a Pretender to the English Throne, who also went by the nickname "the Chevalier de St. George"? -- Nahum (talk) 16:33, 21 March 2008 (UTC)

You're probably thinking of James Francis Edward, Prince of Wales and a son of James II. 0zero9nine (talk) 22:39, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

Composer project review[edit]

I've reviewed this article as part of the Composers project review of its B-class articles. This article is a weak B -- I almost rated it down to Start (at least as a composer bio). There are notable gaps in the coverage on his life and music; however, they do not detract enough to merit dropping the rating. My full review outlining the problems is on the comments page; questions and comments should be left here or on my talk page. Magic♪piano 01:07, 23 February 2009 (UTC)

  • I'm surprised that this one was not demoted, although magicpiano's criticisms are right on the money as usual. Is the composer project not using the standard 1.0 assessment criteria? In my opinion it fails the first 3 of the 6 criteria. The lead does not adequately summarize the article's content and there are many significant gaps in his biography. The article doesn't talk about his activities as part of the French Revolution (which the article incorrectly downplays), particularly related to his close ties with Pierre Choderlos de Laclos and Jacques Pierre Brissot. It also doesn't talk about his work with the National Guard and the Légion des Américains et du Midi. Other missing points from his life include: 1. He notably saved the town of Lille from a counter-revolutionary plot by Charles François Dumouriez. 2. He was captured and imprisoned during the Reign of Terror in November 1793, ultimately released after the fall of Robespierre. 3. He spent 1795-1797 in Saint Domingue with horn player Lamothe, a close friend with whom he performed often throughout France. 4. Two notable performance tours to London. 5. His work as a conductor/musical director has a number of notable gaps. The article also doesn't discuss some of his most important works, such as La fille-garĉon and his symphonies concertantes (a genre he helped popularize). I would strongly consider re-thinking this assessment. A side note, I have been meaning to improve this article for some time and I eventually will do so once I am finished with other current projects. CheersNrswanson (talk) 03:48, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
Well, as I indicated, it was a close call. The Composer project's rating criteria are not exactly those of the editorial team; there is some leeway for incompleteness (primarily to allow for poorly-documented figures). In this case, I recognized that there were gaps, but that they were (marginally) acceptable. I'm not perfect, and don't know everything -- your observations, based on more knowledge of the subject than I possess, are a clear indication of that. I'll lower the rating to Start for now. Magic♪piano 13:40, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
  • Thanks magicpiano and, like I said above, I agree with mostly everything you said in your review. It can be difficult reviewing articles on subjects with which one is not highly familiar and I understand why you initially decided to keep the B-class rating. I think you are doing an excellent job at assessment and I apriciate your comments. Keep up the good work.Nrswanson (talk) 02:50, 24 February 2009 (UTC)

We agreed with you and replaced it with a complete, documented and illustrated article. Hope you enjoy it. Dsteveb (talk) 18:58, 26 February 2014 (UTC)


There were several large sections of poorly translated content added in May 2009 that I've begun attempting to cleanup. Most of it is incomprehensible or redundant with the older text of this article (the "Youth" and "Career" sections), so I've mostly been deleting, and merging into the Youth and Career sections when appropriate. Two sections of the May content remain still; these need to be merged into the Career section where possible. I wonder if retaining any of that content at all is wise, though: I've identified a few self-contradictions and inaccuracies already from the parts I've been able to understand, and I suspect that it all may be copied from a possibly copyrighted source, just run through a machine translation (which gets into a legally gray area). In any case, if I don't finish the cleanup within a day or two, I encourage anyone to help out if you're interested. -kotra (talk) 01:44, 20 October 2009 (UTC)

Nanon who?[edit]

This article mentions people, but doesn't really tell you the relation of who they are. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:39, 2 September 2011 (UTC)

I would venture further to say that "Nanon" could conceivably be the ruins of a metaphoric story, or reference a place and not a person of origin. Ironically, Wiki doesn't have an entry for Nanon as a girl's name. A number of baby name sites define the origins of Nanon, which means "He (God) has favored me", as a variation or combination of the Hebrew names Ann and Nan.

Nanon should have a disambiguation page to include the references below:

The minor planet 559_Nanon [of Wolf]

The villiage in Burkina Faso [[1]]

Nanom-keea-po-da - subterranean spirit who causes earthquakes. [[2]] — Preceding unsigned comment added by Dawnwarfield (talkcontribs) 10:53, 18 April 2012 (UTC)

The article clearly says that Nanon was his mother ("Joseph Bologne was Nanon..and..Georges"). The article in French WP expands on this: "Anne, dite Nanon, mère de Joseph" ("Anne, called/ nicknamed 'Nanon', mother of Joseph"). Scarabocchio (talk) 13:53, 28 June 2012 (UTC)


James Francis Edward Stuart was known as the Chevalier de St George so I think a disambiguation page is needed. His page in the Dictionary of National Biography and the Oxford DNB often refer him to as "the Chevalier".[3][4]--Britannicus (talk) 17:17, 10 April 2012 (UTC)

Spelling of Joseph Boulogne, chevalier de Saint-Georges[edit]

According to the Larousse Encyclopedia (French) the correct spelling is "Joseph Boulogne, chevalier de Saint-Georges", cited as an erroneous spelling in this article. The spelling St. George with no s would make the name English. The article should be changed to reflect that Saint George is the incorrect spelling.Garpinator (talk) 00:54, 28 June 2012 (UTC)

The Grove Dictionary of Opera gives the name as "Saint-Georges [Saint-George]", ie that the standard name had the 's' but that there was a variant, also used, without. Scarabocchio (talk) 13:08, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
OTOH, French Wikipedia discuss the variety of spellings here, but elects to follow the BnF with "Saint-George". To add extra confusion, to the right of this discussion there's an illustration of a fencing manual that uses Saint-Georges about our man, but it's under a signature of the father that's clearly "Saint-George". On balance, I'd leave it as-is. Scarabocchio (talk) 13:20, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
See also this. Scarabocchio (talk) 13:24, 28 June 2012 (UTC)


I'm confused by the title Chevalier de Saint-George. Where does it come from. What does it mean? Is it some kind of peerage or nickname or what? Was he actually nobility?

IceDragon64 (talk) 21:18, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

His father - a member of the Order of Chivalry, the House of Bologne and once worked for Louis the XV King of France - gave him a right to use his family name and title. To clarify: he was illegitimate, which meant he couldn't inherit his father's peerage (chevalier = knight), but his father had given him a right to use his courtesy title as a honorific, which was legally and fully recognised. Legally, he wasn't recognised as a noble, but since his father gave him the family name and courtesy title, which made it clear that he was recognised as a Bologne, he was recognised and treated as a noble in the society. In short: he wasn't a noble in the court of law, but he was a noble in the society. Hope this makes sense. 0zero9nine (talk) 22:35, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
It is a title which translates as "knight". However, there are two major distinctions from its British equivalent: 1. The title could be acquired by grant of the king, ad personam or hereditary (thus, like a baronetcy), or 2. by enrollment in one of France's orders of chivalry, and also by enrollment in the prestigious international Sovereign Military Order of Malta). But so far as we know, St. George never received either a royal grant or enrollment in a French order (such as the Saint Esprit). At least from 1729, it was difficult to free slaves in France and the code noir forbade them from inheriting nobility or hereditary titles. It is also likely that knights of any order would have resented and possibly objected to his joining their ranks, as did the vocalists of the French stage. Yet given St. George's paternal nobility and his renown for skill in knightly exercises (horsemanship and, especially, swordsmanship), everyone from his fellow squires and soldiers, to the populace to the royal court apparently called him by the title. Thus it was a kind of courtesy title, bearing in mind that by the end of the ancien regime the use of such titles were not regulated or limited by official rules as in Britain: most titles of nobility (below that of "duke", which was the highest but only sometimes was granted with the still higher rank of "peer" -- duc-pair. His paternal family's nobility is still debated but, again unlike the British, they never bore any legally recognised title, just like most of the French nobility, who were untitled nobility. Peerage was even rarer, since no barons, viscounts, marquises, only one or two counts and some dukes held peerages) were self-assumed, if not by the current title-bearing nobleman then by his ancestors. So the title was never legal, but universally used -- approved by the populace and employed by members of the royal family. FactStraight (talk) 22:53, 11 August 2013 (UTC)


Werieth's action looks very strange to me. Is he one of these Wikipedians that prefer to delete, rather than to add? His contributions show quite clearly he is checking pages where he can delete stuff. For some years Wikipedia seems to be ruled by Wikipedians that have nothing to tell, but think they know all the rules, which gives them the right to go anywhere, without being an expert. Without any notification or discussion on the talk page, very impolite, he does what he likes, or is he instructed?

This is how it looks to me, without knowing all the details. The pictures should go back, and Werieth should have started a discussion here! A page or a section without pictures looks very boring, is usually too wide and more difficult to read.

These pictures are probably two hundred years old. Nobody can claim they are theirs, not even Gabriel Banat. Besides they come from an archive that has goal or task to inform the public. These pictures seem to be here for educational and lay-out reasons, a fair reason. Taksen (talk) 07:53, 26 February 2014 (UTC)

There are 13 files that I removed:

Each one of these files are tagged as non-free, as such they cannot be used in this article. Give me a few minutes and Ill post a detailed review. Werieth (talk) 17:19, 26 February 2014 (UTC)

Werieth, did you get our message on your talk site before responding to Taksen? Dsteveb (talk) 17:27, 26 February 2014 (UTC)

Published 2006 still under copyright.
If in fact it was published in 1853 the work is outside of copyright and is mis-licensed.
No known original publication date, author died after 1923, we cannot assume a pre-1923 license. Must be treated as copyrighted until more specific licensing information can be provided.
Published 2006 still under copyright.
Published 2001 still under copyright.
If in fact it was published in 1777 the work is outside of copyright and is mis-licensed.
Published 2006 still under copyright.
No known author, or publication history, must be treated as non-free.
Published 2006 still under copyright.
Published 2001 still under copyright.
If in fact it was published in 1830 the work is outside of copyright and is mis-licensed.
If in fact it was published in 1777 the work is outside of copyright and is mis-licensed.
Published 1950, high probability that it is still under copyright unless evidence to the contrary is given.

This means that we probably have 4 files that are mis-licensed and are actually free, the remaining 9 are presumed still copyrighted and thus cannot be used in this article. Werieth (talk) 17:34, 26 February 2014 (UTC)

@Dsteveb: if in fact you do hold the copyright to the above works you will need to email WP:OTRS at and release the files under a free license in order to use them here on wikipedia. See Wikipedia:Requesting_copyright_permission#For_images Werieth (talk) 17:42, 26 February 2014 (UTC)


Some of the pictures claimed by Banat are old enough for free use, more than 70 years. It looks to me Banat cannot claim them, because he was not the artist. They come from his book. As Banat is the author here under a pseudoniem, he can do what he likes with his pictures, is not it? May be he made a mistake when uploading them. But his intention is to illustrate the article. Either he needs some help or some pictures can be replaced with others, which are already in Commons.

Banat is an expert on the subject, but he needs some time and help to change the licenses.

In my point of view the article became a little bit long, but I have to study it more seriously.Taksen (talk) 18:28, 26 February 2014 (UTC)

Just because something is 70 years old doesnt mean copyright automatically expires. See the section above with the breakdown and attempts at straightening out the licensing issues. However until things are fixed they shouldnt be added to the article. Werieth (talk) 18:37, 26 February 2014 (UTC)



I, Gabriel Banat, hereby release my files under free license to Wikipedia to publish the following illustrations., from my book The Chevalier de Saint-Georges, Virtuoso of the

   File:Detail from the Passenger List of Le Bien Aimé showing St. Georges and his son Mulatre J'h (Joseph) debarking in Bordeaux.jpeg
        Banat, page 42
   File:Dumouriez arresting the commissioners.jpeg          OK
   File:Fencing match at Carlton House.jpeg  OK
       Original publication date is 1823,  1923 is wrong
   File:François-Joseph Gossec, composer, Saint-Georges’ teacher and mentor.jpeg
       Banat  P.114
   File:Mme. de Montesson, employer of Saint-Georges.jpeg
       Banat  P. 208 (1775)
   File:Page 10 of Concerto Op. V , No. 2 in A by Saint-Georges.jpeg
       If in fact it was published in 1777 the work is outside of copyright and is mis-licensed.OK
   File:Le Théâtre Italien in Paris.jpeg
       Banat P. 198   (1771)
   File:Palais de Soubise.jpg
       No known author, or publication history, must be treated as non-free. OK
   File:Philippe, Duke of Orleans.jpg
       Banat P. 278   (1787)
   File:Print of Young Saint-Georges.jpg
       Banat P. 111  (1768)
   File:The Angelos' Fencing Academy. jpeg.jpeg
       If in fact it was published in 1830 the work is outside of copyright and is mis-licensed. OK
   File:Title page of Saint-Georges concertos.jpg
       If in fact it was published in 1777 the work is outside of copyright and is mis-licensed. OK
   File:Toussaint L'Ouverture.jpeg
     Painting by Denis A. Volozan ca. 1800-1825.
               Banat P. 444

This message was just sent to permissions-en This should make things OK. Thanks for the help with the licensingDsteveb (talk) 18:54, 26 February 2014 (UTC)

@Dsteveb: you will need to email that to them, There may be a few more "pieces of paperwork" that need to be done in order to establish that permissions are released. The address to send the release to is Werieth (talk) 18:57, 26 February 2014 (UTC)

Thanks Werieth, I have done that. Lets hope it goes through. Dsteveb (talk) 19:04, 26 February 2014 (UTC)


Hello Taksen,Thanks for correcting my typo in Liaison. Sorry, I DO mean Nicholas Pierre Tourte, Père, his famous son, François Tourte, did not invent the camber of the new bow, he just perfected it. I used the name "Palais" because, unlike you, some people would think a hotel is a place to check into. Palais is also used. Also, Gontaut was commander of the army of the Rhine, Dumouriez was commander of the army of the North where Saint-Georges fought. We all know that Frances II was Holy Roman Emperor, but I didn't use it because we are concentrating on "Austria". My husband begs you not to make corrections at this time before I settle my problems with Werieth(He won't accept your pictures for the same reason he objects to mine). You have my e-mail, so if you have any suggestions I'll be glad to consider them entra nous. Dsteveb (talk) 22:56, 26 February 2014 (UTC)


Hello Werieth, We never saw an acknowledgement that Mr. Banat's permission to release the rights to his illustrations from 2006 has been received. Has it been registered? If not, should we submit it again? All the 2001 copyrights from Guadeloupe were transferred to and published in Banat's book copywriten 2006. "The Fencing Match at Carlton House" 1923 as the date of death of Henry Angelo, it's author, was a typo by us. Sorry, the correct date of his death is 1823. So is his drawing of "Angelo's Fencing Academy," both from "Angelo's Reminiscences". Thanks in advance, Dsteveb (talk) 02:39, 2 March 2014 (UTC)


Omnipaedista, Sorry, but these are musical titles and titles of sections. In English (unlike in French) every word in a title starts with a capital. As a music editor and musicologist, I would appreciate it if you would restore the original capitals. Sincerely, Dsteveb (talk) 15:32, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

Please read MOS:CAPS. --Omnipaedista (talk) 14:11, 4 March 2014 (UTC)


Werieth, I sent you an e-mail about the illustration permission. Dsteveb (talk) 14:13, 5 March 2014 (UTC)

Flag paragraph[edit]

Good day Omnipaedista,

I am a performing violinist and musicologist by profession. Very sorry to have to contradict you, but I have to tell you: Saint-Georges was not a “Caribbean- French figure” but a French fencer and musician living and performing in Paris, since he was 7 years old. Calling him a “Caribbean” without mentioning that his mother was a slave of African ancestry, does not serve our common purpose well. Saint-Georges was not only famous on the “Paris musical scene” but on the athletic “scene” as well. He was active in both those fields not only “prior to the French Revolution,” as you put it in your flag, but also during and after the Revolution, giving concerts and fencing matches in Lille in 1790 and 1791, and conducting an orchestra in Paris once again, from 1797, up to his death. All these facts are documented by Notes in my Saint-Georges article.

Contrary to some modern authors, Saint-Georges was never called “Le Mozart Noir” until 2008 by a CBC docudrama on which I was featured as commentator, but was unable to change that presumptuous title they used to help promote the DVD. There is no such category as, “… musicians of the European classical type,” and Saint-Georges was not just one of them [the earliest musicians of the European capital type], but, to quote my flag, “The chevalier de St.-Georges IS the first classical composer of African ancestry.”

I do think it rather unethical of you to use the result of my years of research in various European Archives to legitimize your flag formerly referenced solely with the aforementioned modern DVD, including its commercialized title, “ Mozart Noir” or “Black Mozart,” which Saint-Georges himself would have rejected.

In view of the above, as the author of articles, including the entry on the subject in The New Grove, Dictionary of music and musicians 2000, a monograph in The Black Music Research Journal of 11/1990, an acclaimed biography in 2007, and having published his violin concertos in 1982, and premiered them in 1984 and 85 in New York and Japan, I appeal to you, esteemed Omnipedista, to restore or permit me to restore my flag to its painstakingly researched article. Dsteveb (talk) 21:45, 9 March 2014 (UTC)

I never claimed that we should have “Black Mozart” in the lead section. However, this characterization has become quite notable and I could argue that omitting it altogether from the article is somewhat unwarranted. In any case, the main reason I restored the old lead section (which I did not write myself in the first place) was because your version of the lead is contrary to common Wikipedia practice. Please read WP:OPENPARA. --Omnipaedista (talk) 01:17, 4 April 2014 (UTC)


Werieth, I put Gossec back so he wouldn't be an orphan file. Everything else has been dealt with, with your help. I'll wait until I get another message about him before putting him up again. Dsteveb (talk) 01:46, 12 March 2014 (UTC)

Date of birth[edit]

An apparently uninformed anonymous user "corrected" the documented year of Joseph Bologne's birth, disregarding both footnotes in the flag of the article. It has been restored because: 1): In his "NOTICE" published in 1818 by his close friend, Tessier de La Boëssière fils, he states categorically that the Chevalier de St.-Georges was born on Christmas day in 1745. 2): A document dated Sept. 1, 1748: "Permission for Mme. George Bologne to take Nanon negresse and Joseph, her son to France", in the Archives départementales de la Gironde; 6B/50 (as reproduced in the biographies of Saint-Georges by Gabriel Banat in English, and Pierre Bardin in French) attests Nanon age as 20 and her son to be two years old. 3): An earlier Paris sign naming a street after the Chevalier de Saint-Georges, mistakenly quoting St.-Georges' birth year as 1739, (supplied by Alain Guédé based on Roger Beauvoir's fictional novel) was replaced by the mayor of Paris, convinced by Gabriel Banat that, based on documents in the Paris and Bordeaux archives, if born in 1739, Joseph's mother would have been 11 years old at the time. See picture of the corrected Paris street sign at the end of the article being questioned. Dsteveb (talk) 10:21, 4 June 2014 (UTC)

Saint George and Charles Burney[edit]

Burney wrote a brief biography of Saint George in Vol 31 of Rees's Cyclopaedia. There he said he was of Greek extraction, and was guillotined at Lille in 1794. I can trace no earlier account of him in Burney's History or Musical Tours. Apwoolrich (talk) 08:38, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

Link picture?[edit]

I posted a link to this article via Facebook chat and the picture on it was Charlotte-Jeanne Béraud de la Haie de Riou (who is mentioned further down in the article), and not Chevalier himself. Is it possible to fix this? Asarelah (talk) 15:43, 22 August 2015 (UTC)

Hello, Asarelah. I think I have had similar problems. The Facebook software is erratic. Sometimes it gives you a choice of pictures, sometimes none at all and sometimes you have to take what it gives. I did wonder whether, if you deleted the post and then came back later and created the post again, you might get a different result. It always seems hit and miss to me.
I tried downloading the picture, which is in the public domain, and putting that up on Facebook with the URL in the text, but that produces a different effect from the one I think you are looking for.
Sorry not to be more helpful. LynwoodF (talk) 14:24, 23 August 2015 (UTC)
Thank you for trying.Asarelah (talk) 15:36, 23 August 2015 (UTC)

Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Chevalier de Saint-Georges/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

Last edited at 01:04, 23 February 2009 (UTC). Substituted at 11:27, 29 April 2016 (UTC)

article: The ‘Black Mozart’ Was So Much More[edit]