Headstrong and eccentric, Satie consciously distanced himself from the Romantic traditions of the nineteenth century. His three miniatures for piano "Gymnopédies" are the first testimony to his idea of a "New Simplicity": repetitive, steady rhythms that are reminiscent of ancient cult dances have their very own meditative charm. Satie’s principle of stringing together musical units rather than forcing them to develop later proved groundbreaking for many musical movements of the twentieth century. Satie would certainly have appreciated the balanced print image of our Urtext edition, as he took pleasure in the visual design of his musical scores.
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It is entirely significant that the three Gymnopédies for piano, which Erik Satie (1866–1925) had already composed at the age of 22, are among the most popular works of this great outsider of music history. One searches in vain within them for signs of that radical turning away from the bourgeois aesthetic that is characteristic of Satie’s later compositions. In these … more
About the composer
Avant-garde composer in Paris around 1900 with an extremely unique oeuvre.
|1866||Born in Honfleur on May 17.|
|1874||Organ lessons and introduction to Gregorian chant, which will have a marked effect on his creative work: “Quatre Ogives” for piano (1886) and “Messe des Pauvres” for organ (1895).|
|1879–87||Studies at the Conservatoire de Paris.|
|from 1887||In Montmartre he makes his living variously as musical director of the shadow theater at the Chat Noir and as a pianist at the Auberge du Clou. He adopts the musical language of the music hall and the cabaret: e.g. “Trois morceaux en forme de poire” (“Three Pieces in the Shape of a Pear”) for piano, four-hands (1903).|
|1891–92||He joins the eccentric circle of the “Ordre de la Rose-Croix Catholique du Temple et du Graal” around Sâr Péladan and composes avant-garde music for it: “Le Fils des étoiles” (incidental music) with stacks of fourths, “Trois Sonneries de la Rose + Croix.”|
|1893||“Vexations” for piano, which is to be repeated 840 times.|
|1905–08||Studies at the Schola Cantorum in Paris to improve his compositional technique.|
|1911||Ravel’s performances of his compositions bring Satie recognition as a composer.|
|from 1912||New compositional phase: piano pieces whose underlaid texts are to be read aloud to further thwart the musical process (alienation of patterns): “Véritables préludes flasques (pour un chien)” (“True Flabby Preludes for a Dog,” 1912), “Descriptions automatiques” (1913), “Sports & Divertissements” (1914), “Sonatine bureaucratique” (1917).|
|1916/17||Ballet “Parade” with Cocteau and Picasso.|
|1917/18||“Socrate (drame symphonique)”, one of the primary works of neoclassicism.|
|1925||Death in Paris on July 1.|