Erik Satie, SATIE: Piano Music

Justin Davidson

By Justin Davidson

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
“Furniture music” perfect for low-key parties.

Classical music offers a range of party options: Vivaldi is a brunch standby; Steve Reich's "Drumming" goes nicely with certain mood-altering substances; Osvaldo Golijov's "La Pasión según San Marcos" is the perfect accompaniment to frenzied religious celebration; the morbidly inclined might enjoy boogieing to Liszt's "Totentanz" ("Dance of Death"). But for a gathering of ironic sophisticates over single malt and gravlax, the best option is the piano music of Erik Satie. Satie wrote several pieces specifically for the purpose of not really listening — musique d'ameublement (furniture music) he called it. His "Gymnopedies" and "Gnossienes" were not strictly in that category, but they make a sublimely beige background. And when guests have overstayed their welcome, nudge them on their way with Pièces froides: Airs a faire fuir, which translates as: "Chilly Pieces: Songs to Make People Flee."