Erik Satie (1866-1925)

Episodes

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200901Gymnopediste2009110920110606Donald Macleod explores Satie's early life and his famous set of three Gymnopedies.

Irascible. Irreverent. Infuriating. He's the author of one of the most famous - and beautiful - piano pieces ever written. Yet away from the famous Gymnop退die, Erik Satie still divides opinion like no other composer.

In today's episode, Donald Macleod explores Satie's early life - from his youth in the sleepy seaside town of Honfleur to the boozy dives of bohemian Montmartre...and that trio of Gymnop退dies, written at the tender age of 20.

Donald Macleod explores the life and work of Erik Satie, concentrating on his early life - from his youth in the sleepy seaside town of Honfleur to the boozy dives of bohemian Montmartre, and that trio of Gymnopedies, written at the tender age of 20.

Musique d'ameublement No 1: Tenture de cabinet prefectoral (excerpt)

Ensemble Erwartung

Bernard Desgraupes (conductor)

FNAC 592292 Tr 4

Selection of early songs: Sylvie (1886); Chanson (1887); Les Fleurs (1886)

Eileen Hulse (soprano)

Robin Bowman (piano)

LTM LTMCD2459 Trs 6, 10, 12

Variations on a Theme of Eric Satie

Blood, Sweat and Tears

BGO BGOCD28 Tr 1

Gymnopedie No 3 (1886-8)

Reinbert De Leeuw (piano)

PHILIPS 4204722 Tr 7

Gymnopedie No 2 (1886-8)

Joanna MacGregor (piano)

COLLINS CLASSICS 10532COL Tr 6

Gymnopedie No 1 (1886-8)

Anne Queffelec (piano)

VIRGIN CLASSICS VC7907542 Tr 5

Gnossienne No 3 (orch. Poulenc)

Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse

Michel Plasson (conductor)

EMI CDC7494712 Tr 15

Trois Sarabandes (1887)

PHILIPS 4204722 Trs 8-10

Absence (arr. Morgan Pochini)

Katherine Jenkins (soprano)

UNIVERSAL 9866064 Tr 13

Christy Doran and John Wolf Brennan: Waltz for Erik Satie

Christy Doran (guitar)

John Wolf Brennan (piano)

LEO LEOLABCD105 Tr 7

Dudley Moore: Satie

Dudley Moore (piano)

GRP GRP96612 Tr 11

Endorphin: Satie 1

From Cafe Del Mar - Volumen Seis

MANIFESTO 564861-2 Tr 7

Malcolm McLaren: Walking With Satie

Malcolm McLaren (voice)

VOGUE 74321191392 Tr 2

Jacques Loussier/Erik Satie: Gymnopedie No 1 - Variation 2

Jacques Loussier Trio

TELARC CD8431 Tr 2.

200902Monsieur Le Pauvre2009111020110607Donald Macleod explores Satie's 'mystic' period of the 1890s.

In the 1890s, Satie reinvented himself as a holy man - a self-imposed outcast from the 'wicked' musical establishment. After a brief spell as the composer for a Christian cult, he set up his own church, studied mystical volumes in Paris's National Library, and penned vitriolic articles in his own magazine (average circulation: 1).

Donald Macleod introduces the music of this 'mystic' period, including the infamous Vexations - a short piece which the pianist is apparently instructed to repeat 840 times - and the rare, almost Zen-like ballet Uspud.

Donald Macleod explores the life and work of Erik Satie, focusing on the composer's 'mystic' period.

Donald introduces the music of this period, including the infamous Vexations - a short piece that the pianist is apparently instructed to repeat 840 times - and the rare, almost Zen-like ballet Uspud.

Vexations (1893) (excerpt)

Jean-Yves Thibaudet (piano)

DECCA 4736202, CD 2 Tr 23

Bonjour, Biqui, Bonjour!

To be recorded

Robert Young (voice/piano)

Uspud (Act 3) - 1892

DECCA 4736202, CD 5 Tr 6

Kyrie eleison; Dixit domine; Priere pour le salut de son ame (Messe des Pauvres - 1895)

Gaston Litaize (organ)

Choeur Rene Duclos

Pierre Dervaux (conductor)

EMI CZS7628772, CD 1 Trs 7-8

Danses de travers (Pieces froides)

Steve Hackett (guitar)

INSIDE OUT IOMACD4024 Tr 9

Je te veux (arr. Tonika Ishinose)

Yoshikazu Mera (countertenor)

Japan Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra

BIS 949 Tr 9

Genevieve de Brabant (orch. Desormiere) (excerpts) (1899)

Genevieve....Mady Mesple (soprano)

Golo....Jean-Christophe Benoit (tenor)

Choeurs du Theatre Nationale de l'Opera de Paris

Paris Orchestra

EMI CZS7628772 CD 2 Tr 3

Trois morceaux en forme de poire (1903)

Klara Kormendi

Gabor Eckhardt (pianos)

NAXOS 8550699 Tr 9

Lost In Satie

Mount Florida

MATADOR OLE3992 Tr 1.

200903Le Fantaisiste2009111120110608Donald Macleod explores Satie's famously eccentric character.

In 1905, Satie renounced his bohemian lifestyle and decided, rather improbably...to go back to school, at the tender age of 39. After two years of hard graft, he graduated with flying colours - and with typical perversity, set about composing some of the most surreal piano works ever written...

In today's episode, Donald Macleod explores his famously eccentric character, as expressed in works like Desiccated Embryos and the six 'monkey dances' from his Dadaist opera Medusa's Snare. He ends with Satie's most famous stage work - the irreverent ballet Parade.

Donald Macleod explores the life and work of Erik Satie.

In 1905, Satie renounced his bohemian lifestyle and decided, rather improbably, to go back to school at the age of 39. After two years of hard graft, he graduated with flying colours - and with typical perversity, set about composing some of the most surreal piano works ever written.

Donald focuses on Satie's famously eccentric character, as expressed in works like Desiccated Embryos and the six 'monkey dances' from his Dadaist opera Medusa's Snare. He ends with Satie's most famous stage work - the irreverent ballet Parade.

Tenture de cabinet prefectoral (excerpt) (Musique d'ameublement No 2)

Ensemble Erwartung

Bernard Desgraupes (conductor)

FNAC 592292 Tr 12

Kurt Schwertsik: Clownerie acrobatique (Adieu Satie)

Per Arne Glorvingen (bandoneon)

Alban Berg Quartet

EMI 5577782 Tr 12

Passacaille

Jean-Yves Thibaudet (piano)

DECCA 4736202, CD 3 Tr 1

Orchestre du Capitole De Toulouse

Michel Plasson (conductor)

EMI CDC74947212 Trs 1-4

Berceuse (Enfantillages pittoresques)

DECCA 4736202, CD 3 Tr 33

Les valses distinguees d'un precieux degoute (1912)

Anne Queffelec (piano)

VIRGIN CLASSICS VC7592962, Trs 7-9

Embryons Desseches (1913)

Joanna Macgregor (piano)

COLLINS CLASSICS 105332COL Tr 3

Seven Dances: Quadrille; Valse; Gigue; Mazurka; Danse-ballet; Polka; Quadrille (Le piege de Meduse) - 1913

Orchestre Des Concerts Lamoureux

Yutaka Sado (conductor)

ERATO 8573858272 Tr 12

Trois Melodies (orch. Robert Caby): Le chapelier; Dapheneo; La statue de bronze (1916)

Carole Farley (soprano)

Orchestre de La RTBF

Jose Serebrier (conductor)

ASV CDDCA643 Trs 8, 6, 10

Parade (1917)

New London Orchestra

Ronald Corp (conductor)

HELIOS CDH55176 Tr 2.

200904Two Masterpieces2009111220110609Donald Macleod presents two works considered Satie's greatest, plus a rare miniature.

Donald Macleod introduces two works widely regarded as Satie's greatest, plus a rare miniature for violin and piano, The Embarkation For Cythera.

The brilliant suite of vignettes Sports Et Divertissements was commissioned to accompany a volume of artworks. Originally turned down by Stravinsky, Satie almost rejected the project - as he felt the fee offered was too handsome.

Socrate is generally considered the composer's masterpiece - a unique, poignant, stunningly beautiful work for voices and chamber orchestra, setting Plato's account of the death of Socrates.

Donald Macleod explores the life and work of Erik Satie, introducing two works widely regarded as his greatest, plus a rare miniature for violin and piano, The Embarkation for Cythera.

The brilliant suite of vignettes Sports et Divertissements was commissioned to accompany a volume of artworks. Originally turned down by Stravinsky, Satie almost rejected the project - as he felt the fee offered was too handsome. Socrate is generally considered the composer's masterpiece - a unique, poignant, beautiful work for voices and chamber orchestra, setting Plato's account of the death of Socrates.

John Cage: Cheap Imitation

Teodoro Anzellotti (accordion)

WINTER & WINTER 9100802 Tr 1

L'embarquement pour Cythere (1917)

Isabelle Faust (violin)

Alexandre Tharaud (piano)

HARMONIA MUNDI HMC90201718, CD 2 Tr 28

Sports et divertissements: Choral inappetissant; La balancoire; La chasse; La comedie Italienne; La reveille de la mariee; Colin-Maillard; La peche; Le yachting; Le bain de mer; Le carnaval; Le golf; La pieuvre; Les courses; Le water-chute; Le tango; Le traineau; Le flirt; Le feu d'artifice; Le tennis

Pascal Roge (piano)

DECCA 4553702 Trs 1-21

Socrate (Parts 1, 2 and 3)

Socrate....Marie-Therese Escribano (soprano)

Phedre....Michele Bedard (soprano)

Alcibiade....Emiko Iiyama (soprano)

Phedon....Gerlinde Lorenz (soprano)

Die Reihe

Friedrich Cerha (conductor)

VOXBOX CDX 5107.

200905 LASTLe Maitre2009111320110610Donald Macleod focuses on Satie's momentous last decade.

By the early 1920s, Satie was the toast of Paris. Having been spotted by the legendary impresario Jean Cocteau, he found himself working with the likes of Picasso and hailed by a new generation as "the Prince Of Musicians". The composer had also invented "furniture music" - designed to work unnoticed as interior decoration, a little like modern muzak.

Donald Macleod introduces Satie's momentous last decade, featuring two rare fanfares for trumpet and a song written in memory of the composer's greatest friend and colleague, Claude Debussy. The week ends with Satie's remarkable Entr'acte Cinematographique, the first ever film music to be written frame-by-frame, and a startling precursor of minimalism.

Donald Macleod concludes his exploration of the life and work of Erik Satie, concentrating on the composer's momentous last decade.

By the early 1920s, Satie was the toast of Paris. Having been spotted by the legendary impresario Jean Cocteau, he found himself working with the likes of Picasso and hailed by a new generation as 'the Prince Of Musicians'. The composer had also invented 'furniture music' - designed to work unnoticed as interior decoration, a little like modern Muzak.

Featuring two rare fanfares for trumpet and a song written in memory of Satie's greatest friend and colleague Claude Debussy. Plus the remarkable Entr'acte cinematographique, the first ever film music to be written frame-by-frame and a startling precursor of minimalism.

Musique d'ameublement No 3: Carrelage Phonique

Ensemble Erwartung

Bernard Desgraupes (conductor)

FNAC 592292 Tr 34

Louis Durey: Hommage a Erik Satie

Francois Le Roux (baritone)

Graham Johnson (piano)

HYPERION CDA67257 Tr 1

Sonnerie pour reveiller le bon gros roi des singes (lequel ne dort toujours que d'un oeil) - 1921

Richard Giangiulio, Bert Traux (trumpets)

CRYSTAL CRR230 Tr 10

La statue retrouvee (1923)

Hakan Hardenberger (trumpet)

Simon Preston (organ)

BIS BISSACD109 Tr 6

Six Nocturnes (1919)

Jean-Yves Thibaudet (piano)

DECCA 4736202, CD 3 Trs 44-49

Trois petits pieces montees (1919): De L'enfance de Pantagruel - reverie; Marche de Cocagne - demarche; Jeux de Gargantua - coin de polka

Orchestre Des Concerts Lamoureux

Yutaka Sado (conductor)

ERATO 8573858272 Trs 18-20

Quatre Petites Melodies (1920): Elegie; Danseuse; Chanson a Boire; Adieu

Anne-Sophie Schmidt (soprano)

Jean-Pierre Armengaud (piano)

HARMONIA MUNDI HMCD90 Trs 25-28

Entr'acte cinematographique (Relache) (1924)

Ars Nova Ensemble

ERATO STU71336 Tr 1.

201601Dada Futurist20160516Donald Macleod focuses on Erik Satie's legacy and his controversial Dadaist final works.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

201602Original Surrealist20160517Donald Macleod explores Satie's absurd ballet Parade, a work that caused a riot.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

201603Silly Season20160518Donald Macleod explores some of Satie's provocative and humorous miniatures.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

201604School Of Satie20160519Donald Macleod on Satie's midlife crisis, when he went back to school and wrote chorales.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

201605 LASTMystic Cabaret20160520Donald Macleod discusses Satie's earliest and most celebrated work, the Gymnopedies.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

202101The Trailblazer20210426Donald Macleod explores five aspects of Satie. Today, meet the innovative and influential composer Ravel dubbed “a precursor of genius” and Cage termed simply “indispensable”.

On Satie's death in July 1925, the Musical Times pronounced that he had written “little of real importance in itself”, yet grudgingly acknowledged that “his influence on modern French music was considerable”. The obit writer was probably taking his cue from Ravel, whose support for Satie, nine years his senior but still, up until that point, languishing in obscurity, had taken concrete form in January 1911, when he put on a concert in Satie's honour at a fashionable new venue in the eighth arrondissement of Paris. On that occasion, Ravel paid homage to the older composer's “inventor's mind par excellence” and praised the manner in which he had opened up paths “to new fields of experiment”. From this point on, Satie ceased to be a kind of musical satnav for other composers; now he was on the map himself.

Trois Gymnopédies (No 1, Lent et douloureux)
Pascal Rogé, piano

Trois Sarabandes (No 2)
Francis Poulenc, piano

uspud – ballet chrétien (3rd act)
Reinbert de Leeuw, piano

Le piège de Méduse
Tzenka Dianova, (prepared) piano

Relâche – ballet instantanéiste
New London Orchestra
Ronald Corp, conductor

Vexations (très lent) – excerpt
Nicolas Horvath, piano

Produced by Chris Barstow

Five aspects of Satie. Today, meet the innovative, influential 'precursor of genius'.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

202102The Humourist20210427Donald Macleod explores five aspects of Satie. Today, his sharp, quirky, magical, satirical, absurdist sense of humour, which he once credited to Cromwell and Christopher Columbus.

Satie's humour permeated everything he did – his music, his performance indications, his correspondence, his dress-sense, the whole tenor of his life. When asked to write a few biographical lines about himself for his new publisher, Eduard Demets, he included the insight: “Before I compose a piece, I walk around it several times, accompanied by myself.” On publication of his Sports et divertissements (Sports and amusements) he advised the pianist to turn each page “with a tolerant thumb and a smile”. His score for Parade, a collaboration with Jean Cocteau, Leonid Massine and Pablo Picasso that became his greatest succès de scandale, included parts for bouteillophone (a row of fifteen tuned bottles), revolver-shots, two sirens, a lottery wheel, “splashy puddles” and a typewriter. Music critic Jean Poueigh gave an unflattering review of the première; Satie responded by calling him “an arse”, for which he received a fine, a sentence of eight days in prison, and, so far, more than a century's worth of excellent publicity.

Embryons desséchés (No 1, ‘d'Holothurie' – Allez un peu)
Aldo Ciccolini, piano

Parade (ballet réaliste)
Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire
Louis Auriacombe, conductor

Sports et divertissements
Aldo Ciccolini, piano

La Belle Excentrique – fantaisie sérieuse
Ensemble Die Reihe
Friedrich Cerha, conductor

Cinéma – entr'acte symphonique de Relâche (reduction for piano duet by Darius Milhaud)
Alexandre Tharaud, Éric Lesage, piano 4 hands

Produced by Chris Barstow

Five aspects of Satie. Today, his sharp, quirky, magical, satirical sense of humour.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

202103Trinities20210428Donald Macleod explores five aspects of Satie. Today, his penchant for composing in threes, which has been likened to presenting three different views of the same sculpture.

Composers who write ‘suites' tend to go for variety of tempo, texture and so on. One of Satie's innovations was the mini-suite of three similar movements, of which the composer observed: “I invent an absolutely new form. The piece I wrote seems good to me. But might that not just be luck? If I compose a second and a third piece along the same lines but with different melodic ideas, and if these pieces are still good, then the form I have invented is good in itself.”

Les trois valses distinguées du précieux dégoûté
1. Sa taille – pas vite
2. Son binocle – très lent, s'il vous plâit
3. Ses jambes – déterminé
Joanna MacGregor, piano

Pièces froides
I. Airs à faire fuir
1. D'une manière très particulière
2. Modestemente
3. S'inviter
II. Danses de travers
1. En y regardant à deux fois
2. Passer
3. Encore
Roland Pöntinen, piano

Choses vues à droite et à gauche {sans lunettes}
1. Choral hypocrite
2. Fugue à tâtons
3. Fantaisie musculaire
Alexandre Tharaud, piano
Isabelle Faust, violin

Trois Gnossiennes
Noriko Ogawa, piano

Trois mélodies
1. La statue de bronze
2. Daphénéo
3. Le chapelier
Régine Crespin, mezzo soprano
Philippe Entremont, piano

Trois Morceaux en forme de poire, for piano 4 hands
1. Manière de commencement, allez modérément
2. Prolongation du même, au pas
3. Morceaux 1, lentement
4. Morceaux 2, en levé
5. Morceaux 3, brutal
6. En plus, calme
7. Redite, dans le lent
Anne Queffélec, Catherine Collard

Produced by Chris Barstow

Five aspects of Satie. Today, his penchant for composing in threes.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

202104Satie Through His Writings20210429Donald Macleod explores five aspects of Satie. Today, his copious, playful and highly idiosyncratic writings, which present a kaleidoscopic panoply of absurdist wit and humour.

Satie's writings: there are the texts he set to music; texts which he specifies are “not to be read aloud”; bits of copy he wrote for bizarre adverts in his local newspaper; the publications of his private church; letters to friends – and enemies – some 400 of them; and strangest of all, thousands of beautifully calligraphed “personal advertisements” – little cards, discovered amidst the chaos and squalor of his room in the humdrum Parisian suburb of Arcueil after his death, carefully stored in old cigar-boxes. Many of them depict means of transport: five-masted schooners, streamlined “Transaerial” liners, elaborate gliders “made of steel”, magnificent airships – each describing, as Satie authority Ornella Volta put it, “elements of a looking-glass world”.

Première pensée Rose+Croix
Alexandre Tharaud, piano

Messe des pauvres (Kyrie eleison)
Choeurs René Duclos
Jean Laforge, chorus master
Gaston Litaize, organ
Pierre Dervaux, conductor

Quatre Ogives
Jeroen van Veen, piano

The Dreamy Fish
Aldo Ciccolini, piano

Avant-dernières pensées
1. Idylle, for Claude Debussy
2. Aubade, for Paul Dukas
3. Méditation, for Albert Roussel
Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano

Sonatine bureaucratique
1. Allegro
2. Andante
3. Vivache
Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano

Mercure – ‘Poses plastiques' in 3 tableaux by Picasso
New London Orchestra
Ronald Corp, conductor

Produced by Chris Barstow

Five aspects of Satie. Today, his copious, playful and highly idiosyncratic writings.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

202105 LASTSatie's Serious Side20210430Donald Macleod explores five aspects of Satie. Today, it's goodbye clowning, hello classical simplicity, as Satie confesses himself to have become "very serious; too serious even”.

Perhaps it was the relentless onslaught of World War I that knocked some of the absurdity out of Satie. Whatever the reason, when, in 1916, Winnaretta Singer, heiress to the Singer sewing machine fortune, suggested to him that he should compose a work based on Plato's account of the life and death of the philosopher Socrates, after initial reservations he became increasingly enamoured of the project: “Plato is a perfect collaborator, very gentle and never troublesome. It's a dream! I'm swimming in happiness.”

‘Sylvie' (Trois mélodies)
Mady Mesplé, soprano
Aldo Ciccolini, piano

Cinq Nocturnes
Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano

Socrate (Pt 1, Portrait de Socrate)
Barbara Hannigan, soprano
Reinbert de Leeuw, piano

Socrate (Pt 2, Les Bords d'Illissus)
Barbara Hannigan, soprano
Reinbert de Leeuw, piano

Socrate (Pt 3, Mort de Socrate)
Barbara Hannigan, soprano
Reinbert de Leeuw, piano

‘Les Anges' (Trois mélodies)
Mady Mesplé, soprano
Aldo Ciccolini, piano

Produced by Chris Barstow

Five aspects of Satie. Today, it's goodbye clowning, hello classical simplicity.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.