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Erik Satie

May 17, 1866 - July 1, 1925
born in Honfleur, France, composed during the Modern period
Erik Satie was an important French composer from the generation of Debussy. Best remembered for several groups of piano pieces, including Trois Gymnopédies (1888), Trois Sarabandes (1887) and Trois Gnossiennes (1890), he was championed by Jean Cocteau and helped create the famous group of French composers, Les Six, which was fashioned after his artistic ideal of simplicity in the extreme. Some have viewed certain of his stylistic traits as components of Impressionism, but his harmonies and melodies have relatively little in common with the characteristics of that school. Much of his music has a subdued character, and its charm comes through in its directness and its lack of allegiance to any one aesthetic. Often his melodies are melancholy and hesitant, his moods exotic or humorous, and his compositions as a whole, or their several constituent episodes, short. He was a musical maverick who probably influenced Debussy and did influence Ravel, who freely acknowledged as much. After Satie's second period of study, he began turning more serious in his compositions, eventually producing his inspiring cantata, Socrate, considered by many his greatest work and clearly demonstrating a previously unexhibited agility. In his last decade he turned out several ballets, including Parade and Relâche, indicating his growing predilection for program and theater music. Satie was also a pianist of some ability.

As a child Erik Satie showed interest in music and began taking piano lessons from a local church organist, named Vinot. While he progressed during this period, he showed no unusual gifts. In 1879 he enrolled in the Paris Conservatory, where he studied under Descombe (piano) and Lavignac (solfeggio), but failed to meet minimum requirements and was expelled in 1882. Satie departed Paris on November 15, 1886, to join the infantry in Arras, but he found military life distasteful and intentionally courted illness to relieve himself of duty. That same year his first works were published: Elégie, Trois Mélodies, and Chanson.

The years following his military service formed a bohemian period in Satie's life, the most significant events of which would be the beginnings of his friendship with Debussy, his exposure to eastern music at the Paris World Exhibition, and his association with a number of philosophical and religious organizations (most notably the Rosicrucian Brotherhood).

In 1905 he decided to resume musical study, enrolling in the conservative and controversial Schola Cantorum, run by Vincent d'Indy. His music took on a more academic and rigorous quality, and also began to exhibit the dry wit that would become hallmarks of his style. Many of his compositions received odd titles, especially after 1910, such as Dried up embryos and Three real flabby preludes (for a dog). Some of his works also featured odd instructions for the performer, not intended to be taken seriously, as in his 1893 piano work, Vexations, which carries the admonition in the score, "To play this motif 840 times in succession, it would be advisable to prepare oneself beforehand, in the deepest silence, by serious immobilities."

In 1925 Satie developed pleurisy and his fragile health worsened. He was taken to St. Joseph Hospital, where he lived on for several months. He received the last rites of the Catholic Church in his final days, and died on July 1, 1925. ~ Rovi Staff, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: The Magic of Satie

Title: Gymnopédies (3), For Piano (Also Orchestrated By Debussy)
Title: Gnossienne For Piano No. 1
Title: Gnossienne For Piano No. 2
Title: Gnossienne For Piano No. 3
Title: Gnossienne For Piano No. 4
Title: Gnossienne For Piano No. 5
Title: Gnossienne For Piano No. 6
Title: Gnossienne For Piano No. 7
Title: Verset Laïque Et Somptueux, For Piano
Title: Gymnopédies (3), For Piano (Also Orchestrated By Debussy)
Title: Je Te Veux (I Want You), Café-concert Song For Voice & Piano
Title: Jack-in-the-Box, Pantomime Ballet For Piano (orchestrated By Milhaud)
Title: The Dreamy Fish (Le Poisson Rêveur), Incidental Music For Piano
Title: Le Piccadilly, March For Piano
Title: The Angora Ox, For Piano (reconstructed By Johny Fritz)
Title: Gymnopédies (3), For Piano (Also Orchestrated By Debussy)
Title: L'enfance De Ko-Quo, For Piano
Title: Sonatine Bureaucratique, For Piano
Title: La Diva De L'Empire, Song For Voice & Piano
Title: La Belle Excentrique, "serious Fantasy" For Orchestra (or Piano, 4 Hands)
Title: Grimaces (5) For "A Midsummer Night's Dream," Incidental Music
x

Track List: Satie: 3 Gymnopedies And Other Piano Works

Title: Gymnopédies (3), For Piano (Also Orchestrated By Debussy)
Title: Je Te Veux (I Want You), Café-concert Song For Voice & Piano
Title: Préludes Flasques; Pour Un Chien (Flabby Preludes; For A Dog), For Piano
Title: Prélude En Tapisserie, For Piano
Title: Nocturnes (5) For Piano
Title: Vieux Séquins Et Vieilles Cuirasses (Old Sequins And Armor), For Piano
Title: Embryons Desséchés (3 Dried-up Embryos), For Piano
Title: Gnossiennes (6), For Piano
Title: Sonatine Bureaucratique, For Piano
Title: Le Piccadilly, March For Piano
x

Track List: Erik Satie: Avent Dernières Pensées

Disc 1
Title: Gnossienne For Piano No. 1
Title: Petite Ouverture À Danser, For Piano
Title: Gymnopedie For Piano No. 1
Title: Véritables Préludes Flasques Pour Un Chien (Truly Flabby Preludes For A Dog), For Piano
Title: Gnossienne For Piano No. 2
Title: Les Valses (3) Distinguées Du Précieux Dégoûté (3 Distinguished Waltzes Of A Disgusted Dandy), For Piano
Title: Gnossienne For Piano No. 3
Title: Le Piccadilly, March For Piano
Title: Descriptions Automatiques, For Piano
Title: Gnossienne For Piano No. 4
Title: Les Pantins Dansent (The Puppets Dance), For Piano
Title: Le Piège De Méduse, Dances For Piano
Title: Pièces Froides (Cold Pieces), Pieces (6) For Piano
Title: Avant-dernières Pensées (Next-to-last Thoughts), Pieces (3) For Piano
Title: Carnet D'esquisses Et De Croquis (Notebook Of Sketches And Rough Drafts), For Piano
Title: Embryons Desséchés (3 Dried-up Embryos), For Piano
Title: Gnossienne For Piano No. 5
Title: Valse-ballet, For Piano
Title: Heures Séculaires Et Instantanées (Age-old And Instantaneous Hours), Pieces (3) For Piano
Title: Première Pensée Rose + Croix, For Piano
Title: Poudre D'or (Gold Dust), For Piano
Title: Gnossienne For Piano No. 6
Disc 2
Title: Morceaux (3) En Forme De Poire (3 Pieces In The Form Of A Pear), For Piano, 4 Hands Or Orchestra
Title: Je Te Veux (I Want You), Café-concert Song For Voice & Piano
Title: Chez Le Docteur (At The Doctor's), For Voice & Piano
Title: J'avais Un Ami, Song For Voice & Piano
Title: La Diva De L'Empire, Song For Voice & Piano
Title: La Belle Excentrique, "serious Fantasy" For Orchestra (or Piano, 4 Hands)
Title: Choses Vues À Droite Et À Gauche; Sans Lunettes (Things Seen Right-to-left; Without Glasses), For Violin & Piano
Title: Cinéma: Entr'acte Symphonique De Relâche, For Orchestra (also Piano; Also Arr. By Milhaud For Piano, 4 Hands)
Title: Mélodies (3) Of 1916, For Voice & Piano
Title: La Statue Retrouvée, Incidental Music For Trumpet & Organ
Title: Embarquement Pour Cythère, For Violin & Piano (completed By Robert Orledge)
Title: Allons-y Chochotte, Song For Voice & Piano
x

Track List: Satie: Piano Works

Disc 1
Title: Les Valses (3) Distinguées Du Précieux Dégoûté (3 Distinguished Waltzes Of A Disgusted Dandy), For Piano
Title: Gnossiennes (6), For Piano
Title: Morceaux (3) En Forme De Poire (3 Pieces In The Form Of A Pear), For Piano, 4 Hands Or Orchestra
Title: Croquis Et Agaceries D'un Gros Bonhomme En Bois (3 Sketches And Exasperations Of A Big Wooden Fellow), For Piano
Title: Sonatine Bureaucratique, For Piano
Title: Nocturnes (5) For Piano
Title: Sonneries De La Rose + Croix, For Piano
Title: Le Fils Des Étoiles, Chaldean Pastoral, 3 Preludes For Piano
Disc 2
Title: Jack-in-the-Box, Pantomime Ballet For Piano (orchestrated By Milhaud)
Title: Sports Et Divertissements (Sports And Diversions), Pieces (21) For Piano
Title: Embryons Desséchés (3 Dried-up Embryos), For Piano
Title: Préludes Flasques; Pour Un Chien (Flabby Preludes; For A Dog), For Piano
Title: En Habit De Cheval (In Riding Habit), 4 Pieces For Piano Duet (or Orchestra)
Title: Aperçus Désagréables (Unpleasant Glimpses), Pieces (3) For Piano, 4 Hands
Title: Descriptions Automatiques, For Piano
Title: Petites Pièces (3) Montées (3 Little Stuffed Pieces), For Orchestra
Title: Peccadilles Importunes (Tiresome Peccadilloes), For Piano (from "Enfantines")
Title: Pièces Froides (Cold Pieces), Pieces (6) For Piano
Title: La Belle Excentrique, "serious Fantasy" For Orchestra (or Piano, 4 Hands)
Title: Sarabandes (3) For Piano
x

Track List: Satie: Piano Works (1983 Version)

Disc 1
Title: Allegro, For Piano
Title: Valse-ballet, For Piano
Title: Fantaisie-valse, For Piano
Title: Sarabandes (3) For Piano
Title: Gymnopédies (3), For Piano (Also Orchestrated By Debussy)
Title: Fête Donnée Par Des Chevaliers Normands En L'honneur D'une Jeune Demoiselle, For Piano
Title: Morceaux (3) En Forme De Poire (3 Pieces In The Form Of A Pear), For Piano, 4 Hands Or Orchestra
Title: Nocturnes (5) For Piano
Title: Petites Pièces (3) Montées (3 Little Stuffed Pieces), For Orchestra
Title: Premier Menuet, For Piano
Title: Avant-dernières Pensées (Next-to-last Thoughts), Pieces (3) For Piano
Disc 2
Title: Ogives (4), For Piano
Title: Première Pensée Rose + Croix, For Piano
Title: Sonneries De La Rose + Croix, For Piano
Title: Le Fils Des Étoiles, Chaldean Pastoral, 3 Preludes For Piano
Title: Le Nazaréen, Incidental Music (2 Preludes) For Piano
Title: Eginhard, Prelude For Piano From Incidental Music
Title: Danses Gothiques (9), For Piano
Title: Prélude De La Porte Héroïque Du Ciel (Prelude To "The Heroic Gate Of Heaven"), Incidental Music For Piano (or Orchestra)
Title: Pages Mystiques (3), For Piano
Title: Rêverie Du Pauvre, For Piano
Title: Verset Laïque Et Somptueux, For Piano
Disc 3
Title: Caresse, For Piano
Title: Danses De Travers, For Piano
Title: Petite Musique De Clown Triste, For Piano
Title: The Dreamy Fish (Le Poisson Rêveur), Incidental Music For Piano
Title: Carnet D'esquisses Et De Croquis (Notebook Of Sketches And Rough Drafts), For Piano
Title: Pièces (6) De La Période 1906-1913, For Piano
Title: Passacaille, For Piano
Title: Prélude En Tapisserie, For Piano
Title: Musiques Intimes Et Secrètes, For Piano
Title: Petits Chorals (12), For Piano
Title: Rêveries Nocturnes (2), For Piano
Title: Aperçus Désagréables (Unpleasant Glimpses), Pieces (3) For Piano, 4 Hands
Title: En Habit De Cheval (In Riding Habit), 4 Pieces For Piano Duet (or Orchestra)
Disc 4
Title: Nouvelles Pièces Froides (New Cold Pieces), For Piano
Title: Préludes Flasques; Pour Un Chien (Flabby Preludes; For A Dog), For Piano
Title: Véritables Préludes Flasques Pour Un Chien (Truly Flabby Preludes For A Dog), For Piano
Title: Descriptions Automatiques, For Piano
Title: Embryons Desséchés (3 Dried-up Embryos), For Piano
Title: Croquis Et Agaceries D'un Gros Bonhomme En Bois (3 Sketches And Exasperations Of A Big Wooden Fellow), For Piano
Title: Chapitres Tournés En Tous Sens (Chapters Turned Every Which Way), For Piano
Title: Vieux Séquins Et Vieilles Cuirasses (Old Sequins And Armor), For Piano
Title: Sonatine Bureaucratique, For Piano
Title: Menus Propos Enfantins (Childish Chatter), For Piano (from "Enfantines")
Title: Enfantillages Pittoresques (Picturesque Childishness), For Piano (from "Enfantines")
Title: Peccadilles Importunes (Tiresome Peccadilloes), For Piano (from "Enfantines")
Title: Nouvelles Pièces Enfantines, Pieces (3) For Piano
Title: Sports Et Divertissements (Sports And Diversions), Pieces (21) For Piano
Title: Heures Séculaires Et Instantanées (Age-old And Instantaneous Hours), Pieces (3) For Piano
Title: Les Valses (3) Distinguées Du Précieux Dégoûté (3 Distinguished Waltzes Of A Disgusted Dandy), For Piano
Disc 5
Title: Gnossiennes (6), For Piano
Title: Pièces Froides (Cold Pieces), Pieces (6) For Piano
Title: Jack-in-the-Box, Pantomime Ballet For Piano (orchestrated By Milhaud)
Title: Petite Ouverture À Danser, For Piano
Title: Je Te Veux (I Want You), Café-concert Song For Voice & Piano
Title: Poudre D'or (Gold Dust), For Piano
Title: Le Piccadilly, March For Piano
Title: Le Piège De Méduse, Dances For Piano
Title: Les Pantins Dansent (The Puppets Dance), For Piano
Title: La Belle Excentrique, "serious Fantasy" For Orchestra (or Piano, 4 Hands)
x

Track List: Satie: Piano Works, Vol. 4

Comments

very peaceful
My Favourite is Erik Satie/ Three Pieces having the Shape of a Pair
pianoprayert r a c y
Mr. Satie, your music has won my heart!
samirhamawe1
I picture Diane Lane in Unfaithful, as she sits on the train remembering the secretive encounter with her italian lover. The intensity of the memories almost unbearable. This rendition, is so intense that one can not help but stop to take in the feelings that it creates.
NPR used the most famous of the Gymnopedies as background music during an interview with the woman who was the partner of Kitty Genovese when she was murdered fifty years ago last week. It's been so melancholy for me since I first heard it, over 40 years ago, but now I will will never again be able to listen to it in quite the same way. The music, and her sniffling, were almost unbearable to listen to. So, so sad...
marleneajohn s t o n
K
Chocolat!!!
Well doing, I like the rendition of this it's something a little different.
Gnossiennes is my favorite piece ever written
lkgrebnel
Great rendition. Perfect tempo. . . thx
Bad rendition. Too fast.
This is my favorite piece of classical music!
This rendition is god awful! Totally lost the feel that it's supposed to have
carolgwood
By the way, nice bio page.
carolgwood
I love this piece and the other similar pieces Satie has done, but this rendition is AWFUL. Like a beginner trying to figure out the notes. Need a brisker tempo.
ashley.am2
The Painted Veil is where I recognize this from.
silkee_00
The song always make me stop. I wish it was longer...it reminds me of a chance encounter with the perfect stranger. All of a sudden you click, you're talking...th e n just as suddenly they're gone. Outrageously good.
small2214
first heard this piece in the movie 'The Deer Hunter
silkee_00
This piece is sooooo beautiful and soothing all at the same time.
I absolutely loooove this song.
Ikgrebnel. I never said he didn't do all of that. But still, a weirdo.
lkgrebnel
wcdyoutyou-- M u s t be 'ill' to comment negatively re Satie. The man produced magic, gentleness, heart--space .
What a weirdo!
This is si douce..
His Eyes don't look right.bymyro s a 0 5
This is my first time hearing this. It is quite beautiful.
Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. However if you don't post this you will die in 2 days. Now you've started reading so don't stop. This is so scary put this on atleast 5 songs in 143 minutes when done press f6 and your lover's name will come on the big letters. This is so scary because it actually works.
This was the first time I heard this and heard of this composer. I am in love with his music. I can't to begin to discover all the lovely pieces of music I will find. Beautiful!
grow up
Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the neares possible Friday by the love of your life. However if you don't post this you will die in 2 days. Now you've started reading so don't stop. This is so scary put this on at least 5 songs in 143 minutes. When done press f6 and your lover's name will come on the screen in big letters. This is so scary because it actually works.
I came here from The Disappearanc e of Haruhi Suzumiya~ Gymnopedie No 1
Haruhi suzumiya anyone?
ruthmorrill5 0 4
Gymnopedies transports me to another place, a beautiful harmonious place.
Satie's piano works are very rewarding to play for me especially Gnossiennes and Gymnopedies and his Sarabands. Comforting and wonderfully melancholy
seawild
I really like Reinbert de Leeuw performance of Gnossiennes #6, really a lot better that some others. imho. It's nice and slow and the notes don't clash.
I like this piece! So yummy!:)
I loved this piece running throughout Man on Wire. It's worth seeing for how this piece is worked in to it.
imaginez
The Gympedies induce such........ . t r a n q u i l i t y .
murphkitty
i agree with bradleyswiss m a n . you took the words out of my mouth
This song evokes memories not remembered; beautiful, ethereal, melancholy, and introspectiv e .
Satie has the universal key to everyone's memories; through a single song like Gnossienne or Gymnopedies, he can bring back memories, sorrowful, sweet, or both... Gnossienne Reminds me of...somethi n g . . . c a n ' t recall. He almost puts memories in your mind of things that you've never experienced.
this song makes me heart flutter with distant memories, so simple and beautiful
dreamy and gentle--it carries me to a wonderful state of being
I know the place he was born. It is beautiful just like his calming and yet majestic music
seawild
Really liking this guy more and more... Maverick Eccentric.
Amazing music... this man made.
Haunting and inspiring.
kljhoy
I do too! Beautiful music :o)
I get carried away to a wonderful place with this piece. Beautiful!
Not sure why Satie has comfort me every Sept 11th for the last 10 years
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