Erik Satie Gymnopédie No.1, 2 & 3

Erik Satie (17 May 1866 – 1 July 1925) was a French composer and pianist. He studied at the Paris Conservatoire, but the professors judged him lacked in talent and he didn’t obtain a diploma. In the 1880s he worked as a pianist in café-cabaret in Montmartre, Paris, where composed his Gymnopédies. He also wrote music for the Rosicrucian, a sect to which he was part. He uses a harmony that is characterised by unresolved chords and without bar-lines, like in Gnossiennes, and his melodies are simple and reflect his love of old church music. Satie never married, and his home was a single small room, first in Montmartre and then in Arcueil, a suburb of Paris. He was a lifelong heavy drinker and died of cirrhosis of the liver at the age of 59.

Three Gymnopédies

Satie wrote these three pieces influenced by the ancient setting that he found in the reading Salammbô by Flaubert and also by the poem Les antiques by his friend Patrice Contamine de Latour, in fact, the first Gymnopédie was published together with an extract of the poem in the magazine La musique des familles in the summer of 1888. These three gymnopédies are played slowly in a 3/4 rhythm with an ostinato tempo and an atmosphere capable of taking the listener into a timeless dimension.

Thank you and good listening!

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