Erik Satie - Art Works 1892-1924

Les Disques du Crepuscule
(TWI1258: 708527230022)

Release date: 4/21/2023

Les Disques du Crepuscule presents a comprehensive 4 disc CD anthology by visionary French avant-garde composer Erik Satie, collecting together piano works associated with the Dada, Cubist and Surrealist art movements, as well as his celebrated musique d'ameublement (furniture music) written between 1917 and 1923.

Disc 1 offers Satie's extraordinary Vexations, the score for which is just three lines long, yet a complete performance (840 repetitions) may last for anything between 14 and 28 hours. First performed under the supervision of John Cage in 1963, this radical, enigmatic, proto-Surrealist work is now recognised as a significant milestone in the avant-garde canon. This meditative 70 minute recording features 40 repetitions of the motif, performed by Alan Marks on piano.

Disc 2 is a collection of Dada-related works, including music used by Francis Picabia, Tristan Tzara, Kurt Schwitters and René Clair. An enthusiastic Dada activist in Paris between 1920 and 1924, Satie collaborated extensively with Tzara, Man Ray, Pablo Picasso and Jean Cocteau, and wrote often in Picabia's journal 391. Performed on piano by Bojan Gorisek, this disc includes Trois morceaux en forme de poire, performed by Satie in 1923 at Tzara's notorious Soirée du Coeur à Barbe, as well as Ragtime Dada, an extract from the ballet Parade performed at Dada events staged by Kurt Schwitters and Theo van Doesburg in 1922. Also included is Satie's score for Entr'acte, Picabia's dazzling multi-media 'instantaneist' ballet. Relâche dates from 1924, while Cinéma is Satie's music for an intermission film by René Clair. Both are arrangements for solo piano.

Cubist Works on Disc 3 offers four works composed by Satie between 1913 and 1924 for his collaborations with Pablo Picasso. These include piano and orchestral versions of his scores for the celebrated 'Cubist' ballets Parade (1917) and Mercure (1924), as well as a seldom-heard organ 'diversion', The Statue Found (1923). This third disc also includes The Puppets Are Dancing, written for the French Futurist dancer/poet Valentine de Saint-Point in 1913, and the ludic Trois valses distinguées du précieux dégouté ('Three Disgustingly Precious Waltzes'), a barbed swipe at rival composer Maurice Ravel, premiered at an exhibition of works by Picasso, Matisse and others in 1916. Solo piano performed by Bojan Gorisek.

Disc 4 leads with Satie's often referenced (but seldom heard) musique d'ameublement (furniture music), written to order for various benefactors between 1917 and 1923. Intended to be heard in the background, rather than actually listened to, these five disparate pieces have been cited as a conceptual precursor to the ambient, minimal, functional and serial works of Brian Eno, Paul Hindemith, Steve Reich and Philip Glass. Also included are the experimental pieces Descriptions automatiques and Sports et divertissements, the latter a collection of 21 miniatures from 1914 published with illustrations by Charles Martin. Disc 4 also finds space for Satie's single-act, neo-Dada lyric comedy Le Piège de Médusa, comprising 'seven tiny dances for Jonah the Monkey', illustrated by Cubist painter Georges Braque., as well as his 'Christian ballet' Uspud from 1892.

The 4 CDs are housed in a clamshell box, which also includes an illustrated 32 page booklet featuring detailed liner notes by James Nice and Stephen Whittington.

CD 1 tracklist:

1. Vexations (69.42)

CD2 tracklist:

1. Trois morceaux en forme de poire
2. Ragtime Dada
3. Relâche Pt.1
4. Entr'acte (Cinéma)
5. Relâche Pt.2

CD3 tracklist:

1. Les pantins dansent
2. Trois valses distinguées du précieux aégoété
3. Parade (piano, 4 mains)
4. Mercure (piano)
5. Divertissement (La statue retrouvée)
6. Parade (orchestral)
7. Mercure (orchestral)

CD4 tracklist:

1. Furniture Music Pts.1-5
2. Le Piège de Médusa
3. Descriptions Automatiques
4. Embryons desséchés
5. Sports et divertissements
6. Uspud

Available as a 4xCD box set. 

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