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The best known and best loved of his works is the first of Trois Gymnopédies, all of which are on the disc. They are played with due solemnity [listen -- track 1, 2:23-3:13]. Le Piège de Méduse (Méduse's Trap), is a sequence of seven miniatures for a dancer dressed as a monkey, derived from Satie's one-act comedy. It is a remarkable prelude to the 'Theatre of the Absurd'. The seven dances, very different in character, are presented by the pianist quite vividly [listen -- track 4, 2:14-3:16]. The same might be said for the three pieces which make up Croquis et agaceries, mentioned earlier. One is a skit on Spanish dances, another has an echo of Mozart's Rondo: alla turca from the Piano Sonata in A.

One of Satie's special interests was composing dance tunes, the style of which would have been familiar to audiences in the early decades of the 20th century. One of these is Poudre d'or, a typical waltz. Another is Le Piccadilly, which has associations with ragtime, the character of which Peter Dickinson catches particularly well [listen -- track 15, 0:53-1:51]. Je te veux ('I want you') is the piano version of Satie's popular song, and is the longest single piece on the disc.

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Copyright © 7 August 2002 Brian Howes, London, UK


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