Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges (1745-1799), was born on the French-Caribbean Island of Guadeloupe as the son of an enslaved black woman and a white plantation owner.

At the age eight he was sent to be educated in France, and by the age of 17 he had become an officer of the king’s guard and given the title Chevalier de Saint-Georges.

Although he was a virtuoso violinist, conductor, and composer, he first became known as the best fencer in France.


Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges wrote these six two-movement string quartets as his first opus. The six are brief in duration, inventively melodic, harmonically straightforward, simply structured, lively in mood.

String Quartet No. 6 in D Major

String Quartet No. 4 in C Minor

String Quartet No. 3 in C Minor

String Quartet No. 2 in E Flat Major

String Quartet No. 1 in C Major

String Quartet No. 5 in G Minor

The Jean-Noel Molard String Quartet whose members are Jean-Noel Molard, 1st Violin; Jacques Watelle, Viola; Jean-Pierre Lacour, 2nd Violin; Robert Duval, Cello was formed in 1973 after its members finished their studies at the Paris Conservatoire. They offer six string quartets of Joseph Boulogne delightfully played.


The Orpheus recording OPH 3727, released by ALTO was produced by Greg Barbero for the Musical Heritage Society and remastered for download and streaming by Gene Gaudette, of Urlicht AudioVisual. Liner notes are by Joel-Marie Fauquet.

Rafael de Acha © 2023

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