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INDISPENSABLE

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PETER DICKINSON reads Steven Moore Whiting's
'Satie, the Bohemian: from Cabaret to Concert Hall'

 

Erik Satie needs little introduction today but it wasn't always like that. Since I have quite a long perspective on the composer I'll go back to the mid 1960s when my sister, mezzo-soprano Meriel Dickinson, and I gave all-Satie recitals of songs and piano music throughout the British Isles and in Europe. At that time there was practically nothing in the record catalogue and my sister and I were able to do some first recordings -- but look at it now! Almost every record company has something of Satie.

I still recall our Satie Entertainment given at Dyrham Park as part of the Bath Festival in 1969. Even the composer's name was so unfamiliar that the review in the Guardian was headed A STATE ENTERTAINMENT! That was the period when the alternative term Grauniad was coined to refer to that newspaper's flair for typographical errors and Satie would have liked the joke. His response would probably have been to challenge the music critic to a duel but I merely wrote a letter: he apologized. That concert was memorable because it was attended by Rollo Myers, who wrote the first full-length study of Satie in English (1948). He had lived in Paris throughout the 1920s, knew Satie and had a shrewd idea of his importance.

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Copyright © 25 February 2001 Peter Dickinson, Aldeburgh, UK

 

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