Erik Satie at 150

Tom Service re-appraises Erik Satie, the man and his music, on the 150th anniversary of his birth. Including contributions from Caroline Potter and Pascal Roge.

Tom Service re-appraises Erik Satie, the man and his music, on the 150th anniversary of his birth.

Satie was an eccentric figure in Paris: the velvet gentleman with identical suits, who lived in a cramped 'cupboard' in Montmartre before moving to the suburbs in Arcueil. He had an uncanny knack of being involved in all the latest artistic advances of the time, collaborating with Jean Cocteau and Pablo Picasso among others.

Tom visits some of Satie's favourite haunts in Paris and endeavours to find the truth behind the colourful stories of his eccentric life. At the Musée de Montmartre he discovers Satie's connections with visual artists, and at the Lapin Agile he experiences the form of artistic cabaret as Satie would have encountered it.

With expert opinion from musicologists Caroline Potter and Robert Orledge, pianist Pascal Rogé, composer Kurt Schwertsik, stage director Danielle Mathieu-Bouillon, and Satie enthusiast Alistair McGowan.

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45 minutes

Satie 150

Tom Service re-appraises Erik Satie, the man and his music, on the 150th anniversary of his birth.

Satie was an eccentric figure in Paris: the velvet gentleman with identical suits, who lived in a cramped ‘cupboard’ in Montmartre before moving to the suburbs in Arcueil.  Born in Normandy to a French father and Scottish mother, he was a talented child but a terrible student at the Paris Conservatoire: reports of his piano playing call him a lazy mediocrity. Attracted to Montmartre by its revolutionary spirit in the late 1880s and 1890s, he established the strange sound world that he would make his own – writing around this time, the pieces for which he’s still most famous – the Gymnopedies and Gnossienes.  He had an uncanny knack of being involved in all the latest artistic advances of the time, collaborating with Jean Cocteau and Pablo Picasso in the Cubist ballet Parade, which the poet Apollinaire dubbed ‘a kind of surrealism’.  In the later 20th century Satie became the godfather of minimalism and of postmodernism, being championed by many, including John Cage.

Tom visits some of Satie's favourite haunts in Paris and endeavours to find the truth behind the colourful stories of his eccentric life.  At the Musée de Montmartre he discovers Satie’s connections with visual artists in what was the art studio of Satie’s lover, Suzanne Valadon, and at the Lapin Agile he experiences the form of artistic cabaret as Satie would have encountered it.

With expert opinion from musicologists Caroline Potter and Robert Orledge, pianist Pascal Rogé, composer Kurt Schwertsik, stage director Danielle Matthieu-Bouillon, and Satie enthusiast Alistair McGowan.

More information:

Composer of the Week: Erik Satie
Proms Chamber Music: A Satie Cabaret
Caroline Potter – ErikSatie: A Parisian Composer and His World (Boydell & Brewer)
Pascal Rogé
Alistair McGowan
Robert Orledge
Satie Celebrations at the Cheltenham Music Festival


Beyond Gymnopédies - some recommended listening from our Satie experts

 

Pascal Roge recommends:

Gnossiennes no.s 1-6

Avants dernieres pensees

 

Caroline Potter recommends:

Embryons desséchés

Parade (ballet)

Relâche (ballet)

Sports et divertissements

 

Robert Orledge recommends:

Trois Nocturnes

Socrate

Credits

Role Contributor
Presenter Tom Service
Interviewed Guest Caroline Potter
Interviewed Guest Robert Orledge
Interviewed Guest Pascal Roge
Interviewed Guest Kurt Schwertsik
Interviewed Guest Danielle Mathieu-Bouillon
Interviewed Guest Alistair McGowan

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