In music history, the application of the public/private dichotomy and the accompanying metaphor of separate spheres of masculine and feminine activity has meant that performance in domestic settings has generally been regarded as less important than and unrelated to public performance in concert halls. Yet private performances in salons were often an important part of the transmission and reception of many kinds of music (not only that labeled "salon music"), and salons frequently helped to nurture the careers of performers and composers. This study is based primarily on Nadia Boulanger's personal papers, only recently made available to scholars. It uses the relationship between Boulanger and the Princesse Edmond de Polignac to illustrate the significant role salons played in musical culture of the 1930s and discusses some of the ways in which the ostensibly private world of the salon was related to and bound up with the public world of the concert hall. In using the public/private dichotomy as a metaphor for such relationships we run the risk of distorting perceptions of them and underestimating their part in musical culture.
- Copyright 1993 The American Musicological Society, Inc.