Salon Music in Nineteenth-Century London and Bucharest

Derek B. Scott


A study of nineteenth-century salon music in Bucharest and London proves as interesting for the similarities that it reveals as much as for the differences. Both cities felt on the margins of ernste Musik, which was something they imported rather than created with any international success. I compare salon music in London and Bucharest alongside the broad social topics of class, gender and identity. I focus, first, on dance music and analyze how traditional airs are used in two quadrilles: Ciprian Porumbescu’s Coloane Române, Op. 7 (c. 1875), and the anonymous The Caledonian Quadrilles (c. 1880). Then, I discuss the contribution of women to salon music-making, looking at the rise of English women composers of drawing-room ballads and, in Romania, the salon compositions of Esmeralda Athanasiu-Gardeev (including a brief analysis of her Rumänisches Charakterstück,Op. 44, composed around 1861). Without a knowledge of salon music, understanding nineteenth-century musical life in Britain and Romania is inadequate. In London and Bucharest, the salon was uniquely placed to allow the public and private aspects of music-making to be observed: public, because the music was published and publicly marketed, and private, because the salon, although open to guests, was part of a domestic space.

Salon Music in Nineteenth-Century Greece

Avra Xepapadakou


This paper aims to give an overview of musical salons in Greece over the course of the 19th century. Musical salons formed part of the general Westernizing and Europeanizing trend of Greek culture after the foundation of the Greek state ‒ a trend that reflected the Greeks’ wish to distantiate their identity from their Ottoman past. Most Greek salons of the 19th century followed the fashion of the European salons of the period: they were held by cosmopolitan elites; Italian opera excerpts and light dance music were the key repertoire; the piano functioned as a bourgeois status symbol; women enjoyed a certain prominence in them. However here we will focus on the particularities of the Greek 19th century as well as on the aspects of musical hybridization that reflect the cultural amalgamation between Greece and Europe that was taking place in salons.

Forms of Sociability and Entertainment in the Principality of Serbia: Princess Anka Obrenović’s Salons

Marijana Kokanović Marković


Salons in the young Principality of Serbia (1815-1882) first appeared in Belgrade and date back to the late 1830s. The gradual repression of the Oriental lifestyle changed the appearance of the then family homes, as well as their interior design. Under the influence of Central European understanding, buildings were being built, characterized by representative salons, and instead of the Oriental system, which kept privacy in the strictly closed blocks of individual houses, the doors of the home were opened for a new form of communication, socializing and relaxation. During the second reign of Prince Mihailo Obrenović (1823-1868), in the 1860s, his cousin Princess Anka Obrenović (1821-1868) organized salons that represented significant social and cultural gatherings in the capital. Anka Obrenović played piano and guitar, and published translations of short stories from German in the Serbian press. In her salons, decorated in a “European way”, dressed in the latest Viennese fashion, she brought together the most respectable fellow citizens and foreigners who lived in Belgrade. An important segment of the salon gatherings was the musical part of the program. In addition to the favorite piano, violin, harp and guitar could also be heard in Anka’s salons. Popular salon music by foreign and local authors dominated the repertoire, as well as covers of Serbian folk and civic songs. The salon gatherings ended with dancing Serbian folk dances, followed by waltzes and csárdáses, which were very modern in Belgrade in the 1860s.

The Changing Taste of the Romanian Elites as Mirrored in Handwritten Piano Cahiers from the First Half of the Nineteenth Century

Haiganuș Preda-Schimek


By examining piano cahiers Ms. R. 2663 and Ms. R. 2575 from 1820 to 40, preserved in the Romanian Academy’s Music Cabinet, in this paper I set out to illustrate the musical tastes of the Romanian elite during the period and how they shifted. I have examined samples from the favourite repertoire of dilettantes from Bucharest and Jassy, tracing aesthetic choices as they related to the particularities of urban society: ethnic pluralism, immigration, and westernisation.

Salon Music in the Nineteenth-Century Iași

Dalia Rusu-Persic


The political and cultural orientation of the Romanian Principalities towards the values of the Central and Western Europe, starting with the fourth decade of the 19th century, established a period of intense recovery of the forms of artistic manifestation and in the musical field. In agreement with the social-cultural life of the major cultural cities of Europe, especially with Paris and Vienna, in Iași, due to the existence of a large class of aristocratic boyars, the culture of the salon was developed, stimulating environment for the recovery and adaptation of Western-type chamber music for the Romanian receiver. The musicological writings and the manuscripts researched attest to the large number of living pieces created by the previous composers, who activated in Iași in the 19th century: Alexandru Flechtenmacher, Gheorghe Burada, Pietro Mezzetti, Enrico Mezzetti, Eduard Caudella et al. The genres of this compositional category can be associated with those practiced in European salon music, constituting dances (polkas, waltzes, minuets, gavotte, etc.), medleys (dance and song suites), vocal miniatures (songs, romances, patriotic hymns). The study aims to highlight some old manuscripts and prints, discovered through an applied historiographic research, based on cataloging and analysis. I will focus on the pianistic creation of Gheorghe Burada from 1848 to 1865 and on the vocal miniature of Eduard Caudella from 1872 to 1915, unknown pieces, found in the manuscript in different library collections.

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