Before There Was Mozart


This post is part of Nonfiction Monday
hosted today by History With A Twist
Schwartz & Wade (Random House)
(pub. 1.25.11)
 40 pages

A True Tale with A Cherry On Top

A uthor:  Lesa Cline-Ransome
      and Illustrator: James E. Ransome
C haracter:  Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint-George
O verview from publisher: 
      "The musical superstar of 18th-century France was Joseph Boulogne ... After traveling from his native West Indies to study music in Paris, young Joseph is taunted about his skin color. Despite his classmates' cruel words, he continues to devote himself to his violin, eventually becoming conductor of a whole orchestra. Joseph begins composing his own operas which everyone acknowledges to be magnifique.  But will he ever reach his dream of performing for the king and queen of France?"
T antalizing taste: 
       "During one performance, a young man sat among the crowd, enthralled.  The unusual melody at the end of one of Joseph's pieces stayed with him long after the playing had stopped.  Brimming with inspiration, he returned home to Vienna, where he began work on his Sinfonia Concertante in E-flat Major for violin and viola. The young man was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart... But though each enjoyed the other's music and they had mutual acquaintances, the two never met."

and something more: The dedication in this book is for "Jeanette Peterson" who brought "the life of Saint-George into our home." Joseph Saint-George "though ... best known for his violin performances ... is also credited with writing fourteen concertos, nine symphonies, eighteen string quartets and six operas." (Lesa Cline-Ransome's Author's Note includes additional historical background in this interesting picture book biography, Before There Was Mozart).  It's wonderful that more of us will now learn about him!


Books4Learning said...

Looks like a fascinating book. Probably a good one for black history month. Fortunately, my local library has a copy, so I will check it out. Thanks for the suggestions.

Jeanne Walker Harvey said...

You're welcome. I think you'll find it interesting.