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Erik Satie (1866 - 1925)


Two Gymnopedies
(orch. Debussy)
I. Lent et Douloureux
II. Lent et Grave

Erik Satie was a whimsical rebel in his music, much admired by some musicians, but dismissed as irrelevant by others. His music is static rather than developing - these Gymnopédies are like paintings on a Greek vase, a movement frozen in time. His titles and instructions to performers are often ironically unhelpful - for example "Limp Preludes (for a Dog)" which he directs to be played "very nine in the morning". And at his most extreme he is intentionally purposeless, such as in his piece Vexations which is an 80-second piece he directs to be repeated 840 times. His influence on both his contemporaries (Debussy, Ravel, Poulenc) and later 20th century composers (John Cage and others) has been considerable.

These two short pieces were written for piano and later orchestrated for a small orchestra by Debussy. They are very similar, though Debussy does his best to hide the fact.

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