24 April 2011

Erik Satie - Gnossiennes, Trois Morceaux, Pièces Froides

Lately I've been working on my thesis a lot, reading endlessly and trying to write something slightly coherent. I really like having music on when I'm studying, but there's very few music that really helps me study and calm down. My absolute favourite studying-music is Erik Satie's piano pieces (in particular this CD). There's something very relaxing and soothing about Satie's piano music. Here's why:

Gnossienne 1, played by Alexandre Tharaud

Trois Morceaux en Forme de Poire: En Plus (unfortunately I don't know who the performers are).

Pièces Froides, played by Peter Dickinson.

Erik Satie (1866-1925) was a French composer and pianist. Apparently when he was studying at the conservatoire of Paris the teachers thought he was incredibly lazy and untalented, weirdly enough. For most of his life he wasn't very succesful and had hardly any money, but from around 1912 onwards people seemed to appreciate his music more, and he collaborated with quite a few amazing artists, including Picasso, Cocteau and Massine in Parade (such a fun work!). He seemed to have a habit of making friends with people (like Debussy, Ravel, Honegger, Poulenc) and then discarding them, which can't have made him too popular. He was also involved in the Dadaist movement, and was in touch with people like Tristan Tzara, Man Ray and Marcel Duchamp. He died from some sort of liver disease because he drank too much. Nowadays he's mostly known as a composer of beautiful little piano pieces, but when you listen to some of his other works, like Parade and Relâche, you'd be suprirsed at how different they are! He was a funny composer.

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