Paris 1830s

The music life in Paris in the early 19th century, almost 200 years before now, was incredibly rich. In 1828 the young Flotow arrived in Paris to receive lessons. The pianists Liszt, Chopin, Fields and Czerny passed or lived for longer times in Paris. The innovation in this period of romantic music and operas saw also a fierce competition among those talents. It was no easy task to find your niche to thrive in composition or in both performing and composing.
The 1830s had a rich urban bourgeoisie, which animated and indulged in festive events of live music and social life. Friendships of Chopin and Sand are a testimony for this. Similarly, the young Flotow and Offenbach paired to find their place in the Paris music salons and society of that time. The biography of John Field, written by Patrick Piggott (1973, p.73-81) supports this density of musical experience. The period is also characterized by the fast industrialization and the rise of the global trade. The musical life found refuge in the romantic period and more and more artistic performances by musicians. Theatres, opera houses, concert halls and private salons were meeting points of the upper social class which practices networking in rather closed circles with rather rigid routines and admission at the time.
In architecture the Operas became meeting points and a matter of national pride with National Operas contributing even to national identities. The opulent “Palais Garnier” in Paris was started in 1861 to become an iconic place in the new Paris with the huge boulevards à la Haussmann. The wealthy citizens cultivated a new lifestyle of a networked upper class that had the leisure to participate in the masses of modernity. Cultural events of all kinds filled newspapers and specialized editions. There were inner and outer circles of influence in the economic, military, political and cultural spheres.
Recommendation letters were a real currency for entry in each of these circles. Some of these social practices, have still a lot of currency even in 2024. In short, in the 1830s Paris was the place to be. Compositions of that time still fill concert halls today and their music is abundant on the new music platforms and streaming as well.