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Erik SATIE (1866 - 1925)
Piano Music - Volume 5

Prélude en Tapisserie (1906) [3.08]
Passacaille (1906) [3.03]
Douze petits chorals (1906) [13.26]
Deux rêveries nocturnes (1911) [4.06]
Nouvelles pièces froides (1907) [7.19]
Laes pantins dansent (1913) [2.14]
Préludes Flasques — pour un chien (1912) [5.28]
Véritables Préludes Flasques — pour un chien (1912) [3.39]
Rêverie de l’Enfance de Pantagruel (1918) [2.11]
Six Nocturnes (1920) [15.25]
Menuet à Claude Dubosq (1920) [2.53]
Steffen Schleiermacher, piano.
Piano technician, Franz Schliederer
Recorded 20 Nov 2002 at the Royal Ridingschool, Bad Arolsen, Germany
Notes in English, Français and Deutsch. Drawings and a painting of the composer.

Comparison recording:
Aldo Ciccolini [ADD] EMI CZS 7 67282 2

When I bought the 2 CD Satie set with Aldo Ciccolini I naïvely assumed that "Œuvres pour piano" meant complete works. Now, I am delighted to see a disk with almost all unfamiliar music: there is more Satie than I imagined. Only the Préludes Flasques - pour un chien are duplicated between the sets. Both pianists approaching the music authentically, the performances are all but identical; but Ciccolini plays with slightly more drama(?), whereas Schleiermacher plays ever so slightly more cleanly. From a number of these pieces it is obvious that Shostakovich, among others, took Satie very seriously, for there are frequent echoes of the Op. 87 Preludes and Fugues.

In general these pieces are somewhat more conventionally interesting and less sarcastic and strange than the group of pieces one often hears, but none of them have the magical beauty of the Gymnopédies or even the Gnossiennes.

The Prelude is memorable, but the Passacaglia and the Chorales are at once arresting, especially given Satie’s reported contempt for formal musical structure. The Nocturnes are also very much worth hearing. "Pantagruel" is a reference to a work by Rabelais, hardly surprising. If all the disks in this set are as good as this one, then a true Satie student will want the whole set.

Schleiermacher receives excellent recording and plays Satie as one should—cleanly, precisely, firmly, without focusing the music excessively so the various ambiguities in the music remain be free to resolve themselves as they will in each listener’s perception. Yet he accomplishes this with beautiful tone, deep concentration, and genuine affect.

Paul Shoemaker


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