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These are all played straight and cleanly, as I expect Satie would have wished. I have heard Pascal Rogé play Satie poetically and with more expression, but, perhaps, in a manner less appropriate to the genre. Chapitres tournés en tous sens (Chapters turned in all directions) are three character pieces telling bizarre stories, and are given the kind of treatment they require. More interesting, perhaps, is Le fils des étoiles. It consists of preludes to each of three acts of a play by Péladan set in Chaldaea in 3000 BC. Although it is rather stolid rhythmically, the harmonies are remarkable, and the pieces, unmarked dynamically, are given a sensitive performance.

Passing over three pieces, all typical of the composer's approach, I must mention Sonatine bureaucratique, reworkings of a sonatina by Clementi, with an attached Satanic story and a neat touch of neoclassicism. The penultimate tracks contain Sports et divertissements (Sports and Entertainments) [listen -- track 29, 0:00-0:29]. It is reckoned as Satie's masterpiece. Originally it was published with drawings and a surrealistic text to be read pell-mell over sometimes very loud music, not performed on the disc. It is a fitting finale to an entertaining record, and is presented with humour and panache. The excellent notes by Dickinson regrettably do not include titles of the twenty one pieces in Sports et Divertissements.

Copyright © 7 August 2002 Brian Howes, London, UK


Quintessential Satie

OCD 695 DDD Stereo 77'26" 2001 Olympia Compact Discs Ltd

Peter Dickinson, piano

Trois Gymnopédies (1888); Le Piège de Méduse (1913); Croquis et agaceries d'un gros bonhomme en bois (1913); Poudre d'or (c 1901); Chapitres tournés en tous sens (1913); Le fils des étoiles (1892); Le Piccadilly (1904); Prélude en tapisserie (1906); Véritables préludes flasques: pour un chien (1912); Je te veux: valse pour piano (c 1901); Sonatine bureaucratique (1917); Pièces froides (Airs à faire fuir) (1897); Sports et divertissements (1914); Vexations (1893)


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