Erik Satie, The Best of SATIE

John Schaefer

By John Schaefer

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
Spare, simple, gorgeous, Satie was a master

At a time when classical music was all about large, overwrought, ultra-emotional scores, Satie created tiny, distilled moments of simple, glittering music. Then he gave them crazy names, like Pieces in the Form of a Pear, or Driveling Pieces (for a Dog). Challenging every preconception of classical music — its sound, its intent, its earnest nature — Satie has become one of the hippest (and most influential) classical composers of any era. This collection features his most famous works: the Three Gymnopedies (both in their beautiful, solo piano originals, and in the equally lovely orchestral versions — two of them by Debussy), and the Six Gnossiennes (another untranslatable word). All share a spare, almost Greco-Roman sound that is now, a century later, often imitated.