ERIK-ALFRED-LESLIE SATIE

17th May 1866 --- 1st July 1925

Erik Alfred Leslie Satie (born 1866, Honfleur, Calvados, France--died 1925, Paris), French composer whose spare, unconventional, often witty style exerted a major influence on 20th-century music, particularly in France.

Satie studied at the Paris Conservatoire, dropped out, and later worked as a café pianist. About 1890 he became associated with the Rosicrucian movement and wrote several works under its influence, notably the Messe des pauvres (Mass of the Poor, composed 1895). In 1893, when he was 27, Satie had a stormy affair with the painter Suzanne Valadon. From 1898 he lived alone in Arcueil, a Paris suburb, cultivating an eccentric mode of life and permitting no one to enter his apartment. He studied at the Schola Cantorum under Vincent d'Indy and Albert Roussel for three years. About 1917 the group of young composers known as "Les Six" adopted him as their patron saint. Later the School of Arcueil, a group including Darius Milhaud, Henri Sauguet, and Roger Désormiere, was formed in his honour.

Satie's music represents the first definite break with 19th-century French Romanticism; it also stands in opposition to Impressionism. Closely allied to the Dada and Surrealist movements in art, it refuses to become involved with grandiose sentiment or transcendent significance, disStevenards traditional forms and tonal structures, and characteristically takes the form of parody, with flippant titles, such as Trois morceaux en forme de poire (Three Pieces in the Shape of a Pear) and Embryons Desséchés (Desiccated Embryos), and directions to the player that mock those of the Impressionists: "with much illness" or "light as an egg."

Satie's flippancy and eccentricity, an intimate part of his musical aesthetic, epitomized the avant-garde ideal of a fusion of art and life into an often startling but unified personality. He sought to strip pretentiousness and sentimentality from music and thereby reveal an austere essence. This desire is reflected in piano pieces such as Trois Gnossiennes (1890), notated without bar lines or key signatures. Other early piano pieces, such as Trois Sarabandes (1887) and Trois Gymnopédies (1888), use then-novel chords that reveal him as a pioneer in harmony. His ballet Parade (1917, choreographed by Léonide Massine, scenario by Jean Cocteau, stage design and costumes by Pablo Picasso) was scored for typewriters, sirens, airplane propellers, ticker tape, and a lottery wheel and anticipated the use of jazz materials by Igor Stravinsky and others. The word Surrealism was used for the first time in Guillaume Apollinaire's program notes for Parade. Satie's masterpiece, Socrate (1918), for four sopranos and chamber orchestra, is based on the dialogues of Plato. His last, completely serious piano works are the five Nocturnes (1919). Satie's ballet Relâche (1924) contains a Surrealistic film sequence by René Clair, the film score Entr'acte, or Cinéma, serves as an example of his ideal background, or "furniture," music.

Satie was dismissed as a charlatan by musicians who misunderstood his irreverence and wit. They also deplored the nonmusical influences in his life--during his last 10 years his best friends were painters, many of whom he had met while a café pianist. Satie was nonetheless deeply admired by composers of the rank of Darius Milhaud, Maurice Ravel, and, in particular, Claude Debussy--of whom he was an intimate friend for close to 30 years. His influence on Impressionism, although he mocked it, and on the later school of Neoclassicism was profound.

Copyright 1994-1998 Encyclopaedia Britannica

Last Updated on 5th October 2002
By Steven

And now for the Music

I like to thank B.S. Lengton for sequencing and donating the following lovely pieces, to contact Email (mb.lengton@12move.nl">B.S. Lengton.

(2680) "Gnossiènne No.1". Donated and sequenced by B.S. Lengton.

(2681) "Gnossiènne No.2". Donated and sequenced by B.S. Lengton.

(2682) "Gnossiènne No.3". Donated and sequenced by B.S. Lengton.

(2683) "Gnossiènne No.4". Donated and sequenced by B.S. Lengton.

(2684) "Gnossiènne No.5". Donated and sequenced by B.S. Lengton.

(2685) "Gnossiènne No.6". Donated and sequenced by B.S. Lengton.

I like to thank Geoff Retallick for the following music, to contact Geoff please (g.retallick@btinternet.com"> Click Here,

(2652) "My 'Intro' and 'Ending'" in Real Time. Sequenced by Geoff Retallick

I like to thank B.S. Lengton for sequencing and donating the following lovely pieces, to contact Email (mb.lengton.athelas@12move.nl">B.S. Lengton.

(2615) "Cinq grimaces pour le songe d'une D'été, No.1. Préambule. Donated and sequenced by B.S. Lengton.

(2616) "Cinq grimaces pour le songe d'une D'été, No.2. Coquecigrue . Donated and sequenced by B.S. Lengton.

(2617) "Cinq grimaces pour le songe d'une D'été, No.3. Chasse. Donated and sequenced by B.S. Lengton.

(2618) "Cinq grimaces pour le songe d'une D'été, No.4. Fanfaronnade . Donated and sequenced by B.S. Lengton.

(2619) "Cinq grimaces pour le songe d'une D'été, No.5. Pour sortir. Donated and sequenced by B.S. Lengton.

(1746)"Ogive No.1" Squenced by David Cooke

(1747)"Ogive No.2" Squenced by David Cooke

(1748)"Ogive No.3" Squenced by David Cooke

(1749)"Ogive No.4" Squenced by David Cooke

(1750)"Sarabande No.1" Squenced by David Cooke

(1751)"Sarabande No.2" Squenced by David Cooke

(1752)"Sarabande No.3" Squenced by David Cooke

(943)"Le Piccadilly (1904" Squenced by John Cowles

(632)"Gnossienne No2" One of Mats favourite composers. Kindly donated and sequence by Mats Asplund

(944)"Gnossienne No.5,(1889)" Squenced by Niclas Fogwall

(473)"Gymnopedie No.1" Kindly donated and sequence by Mats Asplund

(945)"Gymnopedie No.2" Squenced by ?

(946)"Gymnopedie No.3" Squenced by ?

(947)"La Diva de l'Empire (1919)" Squenced by Philip DeWalt

(948)"Danse de travers No 1 (1897)" Squenced by Niclas Fogwall

(473)"Gymnopedie No.1" Kindly donated and sequence by Mats Asplund

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