Morning Music: Erik Satie

Erik SatieI will probably write about Orson Welles’ The Immortal Story this evening. It uses a lot of music by the great minimalist Erik Satie. I tell you, there was something in the water there in France in the decades surrounding the turn of the 20th century — such beautiful music! One of the pieces used is the first of the Gymnopédies. It’s interesting in that it has its own idiosyncratic sense of rhythm. It makes sense but it is frustrating if you try to find a constant beat to it. You’ll hear a clear four beat measure and think, “I’ve got it.” And then suddenly: you’re lost. You just have to go with it and it is lovely. It won’t lead you astray.

The other major piece is the first of the Gymnopédies. It was written a few years earlier and is in strict 3/4 time. But it is so delicate — so tenderly beautiful — that it is impossible not to love. You doubtless know it because it has been used in a zillion films. Here it is performed by Swedish pianist Lars Anders Roos at the St Nicholas Church on 13 April 2008:

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