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Erik Satie - 1866-1925

Satie in 1918


Erik Satie was born at Honfleur, on the coast of Normandy. The Satie family moved to paris, but when Satie's mother died when in 1872 he was sent back to Honfleur to live with his grandparents. In 1879, Satie entered the Paris conservatoire. He did not do well here, but kept on to avoid five years of military service. He ended up being in the military for a what should have been a year. He deliberately caught bronchitis and that got him out of the 33rd infantry. After this Satie began to publish his works. He earned his money by playing on old pianos in cafés. He would get up everyday from his home in Arceuil to walk to Montmartre, where he would play. In 1905 he enroled as a student at the Schola cantorum. Here he attempted to make up for technical deficiencies in his technique of plaing. He was somewhat a hero to groups such as "Les Six", and the "Ecole d'Arceuil". He was influencial on such composers as Ravel and Debussy. Satie knew Debussy rather well over the years. Some of the titles Satie chooses for his pieces are ironic, funny, and just strange. A set of pieces for four hands Satie named "Trois Morceaux en Forme de Poire" (Three Pieces in the Form of a Pair) after Debussy has critisised their lack of form. Other strange titles are those such as "Veritables Préludes Flasques pour un Chien", (Three really flabby preludes for a dog), and "Vieux Sequins et Vielles Cuirasses" (Old Sequins and Old Breastplates). He was a very eccentric man, and you can see it in some of his music. His most well-known piece is probably "Gymnopedie No.1", which is one of his more calm pieces.


Satie wrote quite a lot of music. He wrote chamber music, songs, and of couse, pieces for the piano. These are most of his piano pieces:

3 Gymnopédies
3 Sarabandes
6 Gnossiennes
4 Ogives
5 Nocturnes
Croquis et agaceries d'un bonhomme en bois
Embryons desséchés
Avant dernièrs pensées
Veritables préludes Flasques (pour un chien)
Sonatine Bureaucratique
Menu propos Enfantins
Enfantillages pittoresques
Chaptires tournés en tous sens
Descriptions automatiques
Passacaille
Six Pièces de la periode 1906-1913
Rag-Time "Parade"
Première pensée rose + croix
Sonneries de la rose + croix
Rêverie de l'enfance de Pantagruel
Rêverie du Pauvre
Deux rêveries nocturnes
Prelude de la porte héroïque du ciel
Musiques intimes et secrètes
Caresse
12 Petits Chorals
Danse de travers
Pièces froides
Nouvelles pièces froides
Préludes flasques
Trois Nouvelle pièces enfantines
Petite musique de clown triste
Pages mystiques
Prélude en tapisserie
Les pantins dansent
Danses gothiques
Valse-ballet
Fantasie-valse
Petite ouverture à danser
Je te veux
Premier menuet
Les 3 valses du précieux dègoûté
Carnet d'esquisses et de croquis
4 Préludes
Sports et divertissements
Le Piccadilly
Le poisson rêveur : Esquisse
Le piège de Méduse
La Diva de l'Empire
Jack-in-the-box
Vieux sequins at vielles cuirasses
Heures séculaires et instantanées
Peccadilles importunes
Trois morceaux en forme de poire (4 Hands)
En habit de cheval (4 Hands)
Trois petites pièces montées (4 Hands)
Aperçus désagréables (4 Hands)
La belle excentrique (Fantasie sérieuse) (4 Hands)

I think there are a few more piano works out there, but I don't know of them as yet. When I find them, they'll be here.


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