With the five Nocturnes composed in 1919, Satie concluded the series of cyclically organized piano pieces which, in a way, constitute the backbone of his oeuvre. As his models, he chose the eponymous pieces by John Field and Frédéric Chopin, borrowing not only the romantic, elegiac inflections, but also the tripartite form and rocking movement. Totally original, in turn, is the harmony which he devised according to his own system. Commenting on his Nocturnes, Satie once said: “This is a different expression of myself”. Indeed, the pieces, which are not difficult to play, seem unusually serious and far removed from the nonsense, parody and cabaret atmosphere that colour such a large part of his oeuvre.
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Erik Satie (1866 – 1925) wrote his five Nocturnes within a relatively short period of time in late summer and autumn 1919. The great number of discarded openings shows that the composer’s task was far from effortless. While the dates at the end of the first editions – which seem to have been provided by Satie himself – suggest that each Nocturne was written in … 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.|
About the authors
De prachtige uitgave respecteert Satie's eigen notatie van polyfonie en geeft een overdruk van diens harmonische plan voor deze cyclus.
Henle poursuit par ailleurs l'édition de l'oeuvre d'Erik Satie avec la publication des (...) Nocturnes pour piano, à la qualité irréprochable et aux commentaires précis.