Salon music is an easily understandable expression, mostly master art or sentimental music. In addition to the literary salon, there is also the musical salon, which has been gaining in importance since the beginning of the 19th century. In the “salon” there is a private, mainly upper-class, rather superficial focus on musical performance compared to concerts. Salon music is, in a sense, the bourgeois continuation of the chamber music of the aristocracy in the 17th and 18th centuries. Eighteenth-century. Salon music as a genre consists mainly of opera and operetta arias and ballroom dancing. It also includes “poetic” instrumental works that tell stories or create atmosphere.
Franz Schubert composed music for the Biedermeier salon in Vienna that is still recognized as concert music today. With the increasing commercialization of family music in the mid-19th century, a genre of parlor music emerged that was no longer valued and was criticized and called kitsch by critics such as Robert Schumann and Adolf Bernhard Marx. This parlour music is embodied in Tekla Bądarzewska and Charles François Gounod’s Méditation sur le 1er prelude de Bach (1852) in Prayer for the Virgin (1856) and was loved by many piano students. In addition to amateur music lovers who devote themselves to salon music, there is also professional, mainly artistic salon music: for example, composer Jacques Offenbach’s career began in the Paris salon as a cellist. Franz Liszt shone as a pianist in the salon.
Since the end of the 19th century, salon music has become more petty and popular and can be heard in many cafés and hotel lobbies. In addition to the dance band, the salon orchestra also has a special line-up. The piano retained its dominant position. With the development of radios and phonographs, salon music gradually disappeared, giving way to newer light music. Since about 1980, historical salon music has been revived and supported by many orchestras, such as the Hamburg Town Hall, the Bremen Café Orchestra, the Leipzig Cappuccino Salon Orchestra, the Salonmusik Saitensprünge, the Salzburg I Salonieri, the Salonorchester Cölln and my Salonisti from Bern. Musicians like the Palast Orchester, André Rieu or Richard Clayderman presented modern versions of salon music.