"Before There Was Mozart"

William O. Lockridge/Bellevue Library

"Before There Was Mozart"

Before There Was Mozart book cover

This book has a striking title with a handsome picture of a young black man named Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint-George, on the front cover.  Before There Was Mozart was written by a husband and wife team, Lesa Cline-Ransome and James E. Ransome. They used beautiful oil paintings as illustrations which complements the era and setting of the story.

Most of us have heard of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. He attended one of Joseph’s performances; Mozart was “enthralled” by an unusual melody Joseph played. “Brimming with inspiration, Mozart went home to Vienna, where he began work on his Sinfonia Concertante in E-flat Major for violin and viola.”

Months later, Joseph's and Mozart's names appeared side by side on concert posters. They played to full-house audiences on alternating nights, and they enjoyed each other’s music. They knew about each other, but had never officially met. Unfortunately, Joseph’s music died with his soul, and Mozart’s music lives on. 

Read this book to learn more about Joseph Boulogne; there are some interesting facts that would make good conversation with your child. For example, Joseph was born on Christmas Day, and the midwife predicted he would meet the king and queen of France, and he did.

Read and find out how it happened.

--by Deborah P. Turner, Children’s Librarian