Quite by accident the other day I came across a documentary called
Le Mozart Noir. It happens to be posted on youTube, and they have
it broken into five parts. After watching the first one I gladly went
through all the rest of them.
Le Mozart Noir is a combination performance video and documentary
about the life and work of Georges Boulogne, whose official title became
the Chevalier de Saint Georges. I won't give any kind of a summary here
but will just say that it is a fascinating story of a man who counter to the
racial prejudices of his time became a famous fencer, virtuoso violinist,
and composer. He also served as a soldier and eventually became involved
in the rising Abolitionist movements in France and Britain.
I'm almost 54 years old now, and have a pretty good knowledge of music
and history. And yet across the years I never came across St. Georges.
At the very least I would have thought to have run into him in relation
to Haydn's "Paris" symphonies, which St. Georges conducted. But I guess
that goes to show you how things sometimes get lost in the cracks of history
— especially those things dealing with minorities or the underclasses.
Even if you don't particularly like classical music, I think that the story's
cultural and historical interest is well worth watching. It takes about 45
minutes to watch all of the 5 parts posted on youTube.
And if you don't feel like doing that, you can also get it on Amazon.