Satie was a genius. Noone I know of has been able to squeeze so much depth into compositions so "simple", although Aphex Twin (a completely different genre, has come close). I've always been drawn to classical music, but grew quickly tired of the repetitive structures and rigid arrangements - perhaps my ignorance shows itself, but it seems as if much classical music allowed for only so much creativity within certain well-defined walls. Perhaps this rigidity is what, as I've read above, Satie was trying to buck against with outlandish titles and a distinctly un-orthodox musical style. Aldo does a fantastic job with Satie. I'd originally bought a Naxos compilation after hearing Satie at a friend's place, and was disappointed to find a very jarring, mechanical performance of the pieces. Perhaps, this may be how Satie intended it, but Aldo's work here breath of such warmth and brings out such depth, completely missing in the other CD collection. Satie is one of those essential works that NEED to be in your collection, and Aldo apparently is the only one who can do them right.
No one could deny that setting every disperse music in a unique album is a remarkable job. But I didn't like much the approach of Ciccolini, which I knew around 1975 while getting borrowed the vinyl LPs in the Embassy of France in Buenos Aires. Now I'd like to explain to whom it may concern why do I feel that way. Satie was an anti-romantic composer, at the point of creating the "furniture-music" (musique d'ameublement) which refuses that music could be so expressive as romantics wanted. Other ones clasifies him as a "Surrealist" composer (anti-romantic movement too), but there are no signs of dreams of unconsciousness through his work. Since that point of view you could play Satie's music anyway but expressively. Satie wasn't Debussy, besides the fact that they knew personally and admire each other. Could you play Debussy in a plain style without damage?. I don't think so, because Satie was farther of expressive tradition than Debussy: we can say that Debussy is a spirit of the XIX Century while Satie is a precursor of the XXth. Remember his own words: "I came to the world too young in a time too old". The best performance I heard of the piano work of our composer was in charge of Jacques Fevrier on the excelent album called "Monsieur Erik Satie", with such a "sideman" as another member of the group of six as Georges Auric for the 4 hands pieces. I wave goodbye with a great embrace to all Satie's fans.
Erik Satie was a bit of a rebel and his influence is probably more noticed today than during his life. His composition often sound more like jazz of the 1990s than classical music of the late 1800s. Even in his titles he rebeled against the trend to give compositions sweet titles and chose instead such things as "Jack in the Box," or "dried fetuses." His intent was not, in my opinion, to shock, as his music is not at all shocking, but to jar the musical establishment away for from "traditional" thinking. This recording is, to my knowledge, one of the few with all of the sixty piano pieces. Usually a few are left out. Aldo Ciccolini does a marvelous job on this music. There is no attempt to doll it up with unnecessary flourishes, all of the pieces are played straight ahead. This music is not for everyone. However, if you have an interest in very good piano music and an appreciation for the roots of modern music, you will love these CDs.
For my taste, no one comes close to interpreting Satie as superbly as Aldo Ciccolini. He plays with such purity, delicacy and feeling, and strength and power when the music calls for it. My favorite Satie compositions are the "Gnossiennes" and here you get all 6 of these exquisite pieces (most CDs only have the first 3) played to perfection. The enclosed booklet says that "Satie escapes all definition and classification". He was truly one of a kind, inimitable, inspiring...there is a corner of my soul that only Satie can satisfy. On the practical side, this CD set has nearly 2 1/2 hours of music at a great price on amazon.com, and the case has 2 separate sections, not one of those annoying flaps to lift in order to get out the 2nd disc. This is a terrific package from every angle, and if you like Satie, this one's a must to own.
Fans of "The Electronic Spirit of Eric Satie" will immediately recognize Aldo Ciccolini as one of the few musicians in touch with the true "Satie" style. The selections correspond to "Electric Spirit" ; except, performed as a good piano solo. The piano recording is done so well it's better than most orchestral versions. It sounds very much like "Electric Spirit" without orchestration nor electronic "boops" and "beeps"-- just a good piano. It's really just as funny and powerful; and here it has a class act. This performance is a rare find !
If you're reading this, you've already heard Satie's music, so I needn't to go into that. I do want to say that this is the only recording of Satie that is worth hearing. Ciccolini is the only foot that will fit the Satie glass slipper. Don't waste your money on the ugly step-sisters.
SATIE HAS CREATED THE DEFINITIVE PIANO MUSIC FOR TODAY'S WORLD; CICCIOLINI HAS PUT IT ON DISC. OTHERS TRY TO "ROMANTICIZE" THIS WORK, NOT UNDERSTANDING THAT IT CONTAINS ITS OWN ROMANTICISM AND THAT IT NEEDS NOTHING ADDITIONAL TO MAKE IT ENJOYABLE & UNDERSTANDING