Satie: The Velvet Gentleman

Satie: The Velvet Gentleman

by John McCabe
     
 

Erik Satie is a composer whose star is on the rise. In 1980, when these recordings by pianist John McCabe were first released, he was, apart from the inscrutable "Gymnopédie No. 1" and a few other works, mostly a footnote to the Debussy chapter in the history books. Since then it has gradually emerged that "The Velvet Gentleman" (the name came…  See more details below

Overview

Erik Satie is a composer whose star is on the rise. In 1980, when these recordings by pianist John McCabe were first released, he was, apart from the inscrutable "Gymnopédie No. 1" and a few other works, mostly a footnote to the Debussy chapter in the history books. Since then it has gradually emerged that "The Velvet Gentleman" (the name came from Satie's predilection for wearing identical gray velvet suits), with his layer of snark concealing a profound sadness and a willingness to shock the bourgeoisie, has a great deal to say to the modern listener. This disc, combining two McCabe LPs, offers a generous selection of Satie's piano music, from the familiar "Gymnopédies" and "Sports et Divertissements" to less-standard items like the "Pièces froides" (Cold Pieces) of 1897. Generally the listener of a quarter century later will find that McCabe did quite well, especially considering that he did not have a surfeit of models to follow at the time. He gets the slightly distant melancholy of Satie, and he brings out the radical qualities of Satie's music, his drastic simplifications, pointing well into the future, of Debussy's harmonic ideas. If he does not quite catch Satie's expert humor -- the "Sonatine bureaucratique" can make the listener smile like a Charlie Chaplin routine -- he seems to have a Montmartre indefinable feel for Satie's mood as he skulked in the shadows of Paris nightlife and devised crazy schemes like a new church of which he was the only member. The sound of this reissue is inferior, with enough hiss to dull the articulation of the piano; the problem may well have resided in the original LPs (one seems worse than the other), but that doesn't matter to the CD buyer. And the booklet is marred by errors; the name of painter Suzanne Valadon is misspelled, as is the fairly familiar name of the neighborhood. Still, those for whom the sound is not so important -- commuters, for example -- can get an unusually good introduction to Satie here.

Read More

Product Details

Release Date:
01/29/2013
Label:
Regis
UPC:
5055031312276
catalogNumber:
1227

Tracks

  1. Gymnopédies (3), for piano (also orchestrated by Debussy)
  2. Ragtime, arrangement for piano (by Hans Ourdine, after "Parade")
  3. Gnossienne, for piano No.1
  4. Gnossienne, for piano No.4
  5. Gnossienne, for piano No.5
  6. Sonatine bureaucratique, for piano
  7. Passacaille, for piano
  8. Nocturnes (5) for piano: Nocturne No. 1
  9. Je te veux (I Want You), café-concert song for voice & piano
  10. Gnossienne, for piano No.2
  11. Gnossienne, for piano No.3
  12. Le Piège de Méduse, dances for piano
  13. Rêverie du pauvre, for piano
  14. Valse-ballet, for piano
  15. Pièces froides (Cold Pieces), pieces (6) for piano: (Airs à faire fuir 1-3)
  16. Chapitres tournés en tous sens (Chapters turned every which way), for piano
  17. Nocturnes (5) for piano: Nocturne No. 3
  18. Nocturnes (5) for piano: Nocturne No. 5
  19. Avant-dernières pensées (Next-to-last thoughts), pieces (3) for piano
  20. Sports et divertissements (Sports and diversions), pieces (21) for piano
  21. Grimaces (5) for "A Midsummer Night's Dream," incidental music

Read More

Album Credits

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >