Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Erik Satie (May 17, 1866 - 1925) was a French composer who ranks among the oddest figures in late 19th C./early 20th C. music. He preferred to be called ‘gymnopedist’ or ‘phonometrograph’ rather than ‘composer’, and his pieces - often bagatelles for piano with whimsical titles - have a hypnotic and addictive effect on the listener. They sound simple but are actually hard to perform properly (not as pretty little ditties, but as complex and minute variations on a minimalist theme - Vexations for instance calls for 840 repetitions). Sequences such GymnopĂ©dies and Gnossiennes foreshadow later ambient music, as do the later pieces that Satie himself dubbed ‘furniture music’…
Today we remember him with a little cumbia version:
Chicha Libre: Gnossienne No.1 (Satie) - from Sonido Amazonico! 2009

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