KS2: Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges - Symphony No. 1 in G major – Allegro (1st mvt)
Behind this classical symphony is an extraordinary story of a composer who took Paris by storm.
A contemporary of Mozart, Saint-Georges became a champion fencer, virtuoso violinist, and a famous composer and conductor. His hands wielded the foil, the bow and made music with equal skill!
Allegro (which means play at a lively speed) is the first movement from this symphony, which premiered in 1779.
Listen out for: The fast and intricate violin parts. Saint-Georges was one of the best violinists of his time and wrote complex music to show off his skills!
Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges
BORN: 1745 / DIED: 1799 / NATIONALITY: French
Aside from being a champion fencer and a virtuoso violinist and conductor, Saint-Georges has the distinction of being the first classical composer of African ancestry. His parents were a wealthy slave owner on a plantation in the West Indies and a slave. So little is known of his musical training, that several myths have grown up around it.
We do know that he eventually became the leader of a very good Parisian orchestra and performed his concertos with them, improvising solos at several points and wowing the audience. His appearances with this orchestra led to it being declared the best in France. Saint-Georges wrote two symphonies, several concertos, much chamber music and at least 6 operas. He pursued both fencing and music throughout his life, and towards the end of his life finally admitted that music was his true love.
Six weeks of learning and activities Download lesson plans for six weeks of learning and activities for Symphony No. 1 in G major – Allegro, as Powerpoint presentations or PDFs. These lesson plans are ideal for music lessons, but you can of course use the Ten Pieces in many other subjects and activities. Take a look at our video masterclasses for inspiration.
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Primary lesson plans:
- Primary lesson plan for Symphony No. 1 in G major – Allegro (PowerPoint)
- Primary lesson plan for Symphony No. 1 in G major – Allegro (PDF)
Lesson plan by Rachel Leach
Key Stage 2 in England and Wales
Second Level, P5-P7 in Scotland
*Key Stage 1/Key Stage 2 in Northern Ireland
Arrangements: Play the piece with simplified parts
All parts have been designed to work together to enable mixed-ability groups to perform together. See more information about the parts below.
- 1st Violin | 2nd Violin | Viola | Cello |
- Flute | 2nd Flute | Clarinet in B♭ | Alto saxophone | Oboe | Bassoon
- Trumpet in B♭ | Trombone | Trombone in B♭ | Tenor horn | Horn in F | Euphonium | 2nd Euphonium | Tuba | Bass in B♭ (tuba)
- Download all of the Grade 4-5 parts in one .zip file
- Grade 4-5 full score
Notes from the arranger
By Iain Farrington
All parts have been designed to work together to enable mixed-ability groups to perform together. A certain amount of simplification has been required to adapt the pieces for mixed-ability. Some pieces have been cut to allow a 3-5 minute general duration and to remove especially difficult passages of music. A successful rendering of each piece would require the essential melodic material and bass line which are often in the Grades 4/5 parts, especially in the piano.
There are scores for each difficulty level plus three other scores for each piece:
- Grouped according to ability
- Grouped according to instrument type
- 'Short score' in C, grouped according to ability
There are three ability levels – beginner, intermediate (Grades 1-3) and Grades 4-5.
- Flute parts can be played by the violins
- Oboe parts can be played by the flutes and violins
- Trumpet parts (in Bb) can be played by the clarinets
- Violin parts can be played by the flutes (except when in the lowest register)
- The 'percussion' part is a beginner part and can be played on any drum. It adds a simple rhythm layer to each piece. Timpani and full percussion parts are for intermediate or Grades 4/5
Symphony No. 1 in G major – Allegro: Note values have been halved (4/4 rather than 2/2) to allow counting in crotchets rather than minims. There is a cut from bar 50 to bar 189 in the original.