Pauline Viardot-Garcia

She was a mezzo soprano of Spanish descent who grew up in Paris. Liszt was her teacher and friend. She was also very close with Berlioz, and counted him as one of her four true friends. She was an a fairly famous performer, and sang for many of his compositions. She had her own Salon, to which Berlioz was a frequent guest. Also a composer!
I'm sort of gathering from that article in french (below) that Liszt was her piano teacher when she was young? The online translators aren't very good though, so I can't be sure.

Waddington, Patrick. "Pauline Viardot-Garcia as Berlioz's Counselor and Physician" The Musical Quarterly vol. 59 no. 3.

Link to an article about Viardot and Berlioz:

A picture of Pauline Viardot-Garcia

gasp! A picture of her salon!

an article about Liszt and Viardot, unfortunately in french

I'm reading a letter Liszt wrote to her in 1881. Heres a snippet of it that tells how he feels about her accomplishments. in this letter, he is trying to introduce a female author to Viardot, though he doesn't say the woman's name.

"I have told her what she and all the world already knows: that Pauline Viardot is the most exquisite dramatic singer of our time, and besides this a consummate musician and a compser of the most delicate and lively intelligence. To which opinion, as merited as it is universal, Madame X. is prepared to give ample and elegant expression in a notice she meditates publishing upon you … keep a friendly remembrance of your old and most devoted admirer, F. Liszt." (p393, vol 2)

source: Liszt, Franz, La Mara, and Constance Bache. Letters of Franz Liszt. New York: Haskell House Publishers, 1968.

Countess de Montault

found references on JSTOR to Anatole Demidov, who was married to Napoleon's niece. Apparently, he had a mistress whose last name was Montault in 1938. This would fit the time period, but I'm not sure its her, and I couldn't find any other info on her.

Countess de la Rochefoucauld

So, Liszt dedicates the second movement of "Apparitions to Mme. LaRochefoucauld. I can't be sure, but I believe it can also be spelled La Rochefoucauld. I have found some references to both.

First, in a letter to Madame Rondonneau dated february 11th, 1846:

" … a more persuasive eloquence, if eloquence only consists in reality of "the art of saying the right thing, the whole of the right thing, and nothing but the right thing," as La Rochefoucauld defined it; a definition from which General Foy drew a grand burst of eloquence - "The Charter, the whole Charter (excepting, however, Article 14 and other peccadilloes!), and nothing but the Charter." … he then goes on to ask Rondonneau to loan him money.

Duchess de Gramont

Countess Plater??

Found references to a madame plater, wife of Castellan Ludwick Plater, a politician and Polish Emigrant. Apparently, her salon was held every thursday, and Chopin was a regular attendee. Still, there could be other Platers. This salon was also known for being pro-monarchist

Peckaz, Jolanta T. "Deconstructing a "National Composer: Chopin in Polish Exiles in Paris, 1831 - 49. 19th Century Music vol. 24 no. 2

link to this article:

Princess Cristina Belgiojoso (1808-1871)

  • A pianist; raised by her mother (a friend of Rossini and Bellini) in Milan; she apparently accompanied other performers (Tunley, 31)
  • She was an Italian Princess, who moved to Paris after her marriage to the Prince Emilio Belgiojoso (a tenor) failed and lived in political exile
  • Her salon was an “intellectual and musical centre of Paris” (Tunley, 29)
  • 23 rue d’Anjou-Saint-Honoré 1835-1842
  • She suffered from epilepsy and syphilis
  • Writers, musicians, politicians; including Liszt
  • Salon was large and square, walls and furniture decorated in dark brown velvet with silver star decorations, all of the accessories were silver
  • Popular with the Parisian intellectual elites, but according to Whitehouse other Italian refugees may have found her salon distasteful because of its “promiscuousness” (Whitehouse 84); Rodolphe Apponyi wrote “is it surprising that the Princess, being surrounded as she is by such unconventional young people, starts behaving like they do and regards herself as above the rules of society?” (Gattey 43)
  • Whitehouse quotes Marie d’Agoult: “Never did a woman more fully understand the art of effect than did the Princess Belgiojoso… Pale, thin to emaciation, with eyes of flame, she cultivated the aspect of a spectre or a phantom. Readily also, for the sake of effect, she gave credence to certain rumours…” (Whitehouse 87-88)
  • She was no-nonsense: when Chateaubriand fished for compliments after reading aloud at Récamier’s salon, then protested that he should not be complimented, she took him seriously. She claims that made her “rather unpopular” with the author. (Gattey 30)
  • She complains about the formal relationship between Récamier and Chateaubriand, fifteen years of having tea together every day and always in the proper politeness bothered Belgiojoso (Gattey 32-33)
  • Charity concert - a musical “duel” between Liszt and Sigsimond Thalberg1 occurred in her salon in 1837
    • Set up by the Princess as a way to raise money for other Italian political exiles
    • Began with a three day art sale, including paintings, medallions, a fresco, tapestries woven by the royal family, an unpublished romance by Meyerbeer, and a set of music called the Hexameron (six composers - Liszt, Thalberg, Chopin, Pixis, Czerny, Herz - wrote variations on a duet from I puritani)
    • Liszt also wrote additional music for the variations; all six composers were to perform the work at the salon (but supposedly it was not finished in time and therefore not performed)
    • Liszt and Thalberg performed to about 200 listeners at the concert; Liszt declared winner by the Princess (Liszt says about Thalberg, “I have just heard Thalberg. Really, it’s utter humbug.” Selected Letters, 71)

Madame Juliette Récamier (1777-1849)

  • Liszt to Marie d’Agoult in 1833: “I almost asked [Ballanche], and he almost proposed, to take me to Mme Récamier’s, so that we shall probably end up going there on of these evenings.” (Letters, 14)
  • Mistress of François-René de Chateaubriand (French writer)
  • Salon at Abbaye-aux-Bois, rue de Sèvres (Letters, 14)
  • Apparently not gifted intellectually (according to Mason - but she also surrounded herself by a literary circle), leaving little written record, but managed to preserve “the fading traditions of the old salons” for almost thirty years (Mason, 278)
  • Musician - vocalist, harp, piano; danced as well
  • Overly charming? “I acquit myself with a little embarassment of a commission which Mme. de Krüdener has just given me. She begs you to come as little beautiful as you can. She says that you dazzle all the world, and that consequently every soul is troubled and attention is impossible. You cannot lay aside your charms, but do not add to them.” (Benjamin Constant, quoted in Mason, 280)
  • Mason: “Mme. Récamier represents better than any woman of her time the peculiar talents that distinguished the leaders of some of the most famous salons. She had tact, grace, intelligence, appreciation, and the gift of inspiring others.” (285)
  • “More than one of the ‘Immortals’ owed his elevation to that august assemblage to the influences exerted by the Fairy Godmother who, decked out in gossamer white and soft-hued muslins, presided over the discussions of her brilliant guests.” (Whitehouse 112)
  • Belgiojoso’s impressions of Récamier’s salon:
    • Dim, thick curtains to keep out the noise of the street, “the twelve chairs and six bergères which furnished the salon were reflected in a polished parquet floor without rugs or carpet. Madame Récamier lived in this sanctuary, seated in a large bergère beside her fireplace. In semi-obscurity she looked like a white cloud, from whihc came neither thunder nor lightning but only a sweet voice.” (Gattey, 30)
    • Her guests for salons were admitted after 4pm
    • -Described as "The last flower of the Salon"

-Qualities: marvelous beauty, kindness, irresistable fascination, subtle and poetic grace
-Had homes in Paris and in Clichy
-Joined the convent of Abbye-aux Bois for thirty years
-The book suggests that she was not especially intelligent but her success came from an almost indescribable quality, one of tact and personality. It seems that the success of a salon did not only depend on the quality of guests or artists, but perhaps more subtly on the abilities of the hostess to provide a warm and welcoming environment.
"When the press assumed sovereignty, the salon was dethroned."- pg 286

Comtesse Merlin (born Marie de Las Mercedes de Jaruco, 1786-1852)

  • Liszt to Marie d’Agoult in 1833: “No, I shall not be leaving for the country. I shall go neither to the Duchess’s, nor to granny’s, nor to Mme Boissier’s nor to Mme Merlin’s. I am suffering and need to be alone.” (Letters, 12)
  • Childhood in Havana, Cuba, where her father owned land, sugar plantations; moved to Madrid in 1802
  • Married Count Antoine Christophe Merlin (1771-1839), General in Bonaparte’s army
  • Moved to Paris - 40, rue de Bondy (now rue de René-Boulanger)
  • Driving force in Parisian musical life through salon and helped to create a Philharmonic society, performances for charity (Tunley, 23)
  • Her aristocratic salon, along with several Princesses’ salons (Czartoryska, Belgiojoso, Mathilde) were like “rites of passage” for musicians (Tunley, 35); it was “considered a must for aspiring musicians hoping to gain entry into exclusive artistic circles” (Méndez Rodenas, 23)
  • She returned to Cuba after her husband died in 1839

Clara, Duchesse de Rauzan - daughter of the Duchesse de Duras (Claire, author of Ourika 1823)

  • Fauborg Saint-Germain
  • Dedicatee of Liszt’s first Apparitions
  • Liszt tells Marie d’Agoult in 1833: “Nor shall I fail to speak to [Chopin] again of Mme de Rauzan, for whom I am positively pining away with a mad and hopeless passion. On both knees I ask you for the secret. Chopin is the only person to whom I dare speak freely of her, for the Marquis or Chevalier of the rue Niaise [Silly Street] is a little jealous of me.” (Letters, 11)

The Lives of the French Elite - 19th Century

Price, Roger. A Social History of Nineteenth-Century France. Hutchinson Education Ltd: 1987

The elite seems to be split between two groups:
Bourgeoise (merchants, bankers, industrialists)

-During the nineteenth-century, there was a lot of conflict between the old and new elites.
-Before the revolution, nobility was only inherited, but in the 19th c, "the status of nobility had been te reward for success for many buiness or professional men, able because of their wealth to purchase ennobling office and land and to enjoy the appropriate life-style" (price, 103)
-still, only around 15% of the elite were businessmen in 1840 (price, 102)
-In the early half of the century, most elites made their money by owning and renting rural land, but towards the late half, there was an industrial trend towards investment in companies.
-for many, especially the non-noble elite, "the nobility served initaily as models for good manners, but also as the source of ideological and hence political leadership" (price 104)
-the majority of their time was spent in leisure and quietly within the famiy
-however, holding balls, regular dinners and receptions was important for a family's social standing (price, 105)
-memberships with salons and cercles preserved social linds within the elite
-most social events were held in the winter
-noble families usually spent the summer and fall in their country homes to "maintain links with their peasants" and harvesting
-in the winter, they returned to their town houses, and a cycle of balls , receptions and soirees would begin (price 105)

-a lack of invitations signified rejection in this elite society
-"the acceptance of newcomers into such social circles depended on willingness to adopt the established life-style and culture" (price 105)
-this information is particularly important to Liszt, chopin, and other musicians because they didn't come from extremely wealthy backgrounds

Madame de Stael

Madame de Stael did not appear to be a woman directly involved with Liszt but did appear to have a significant effect on the salon of the 19th century.

-de Stael grew up attending her mother's salon and learning the pleasantries involved with being a salon host.
-She was married around the turn of the century and began hosting her salons
-The talents of de Stael, according to the author, far surpassed that of being only a salon hostess, in particular she may have been an author.
-The book references her salon moving past social pleasantries perhaps to deeper conversation and more elaborate salons of the 19th century.
-The book also makes reference to her many affairs and the general accepted nature of being romantically active outside of nature.
-de Stael did not fit well into the changing political climate at the turn of the century, being to moderate in her beliefs. The book suggests this may be part of the reason her salon declined in popularity.

Mme. de Montesson

-Wife of Duc d'Orleans
-Referenced as "the salon which referenced the best side of the new regime"
-Qualities: brilliant talents, finished manners, great knowledge of the world, fine gifts of conversation, great discrimination and perfect tact
-Her salon included nobles and returned "emigres", members of the Bonaparte family, the new military circle, and "many people of influence not to the manner born"
-Her salons "revived the old amusements, wrote plays for entertainment of her guests, gave grand dinners and brilliant fetes"
-"Her salon simply illustrates a social life in a state of transition"

See: Strozier MicroFilm 4068

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