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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDH55176
Recording details: April 1989
Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Chapel, Hampstead, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Arthur Johnson
Engineered by Tony Faulkner
Release date: October 1989
Total duration: 3 minutes 34 seconds

Gnossienne No 1
composer
arranger

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Ronald Corp retains Debussy’s chamber orchestra (two flutes, oboe, four horns, harp, and strings) for his scoring of the Trois Gnossiennes, a similarly mysterious set of pieces written for piano by Satie in 1890. These miniatures, originally notated without bar lines or time signatures, again evoke a half-remembered and certainly long-vanished antiquity. Does the title refer to the stately Cretan figures endlessly circling the dark pottery of Knossos? We do not know, and it matters not. Satie’s semi-humorous but deadpan performing indications («Munissez-vous de clairvoyance», «Ouvrez la tête», and «Seul, pendant un instant», for example) are, doubtless, further red herrings, and side-swipes at the increasingly elaborate instructions with which Debussy was beginning to litter his own scores. The repetitive, motivic nature of his modally based melodies in Gnossiennes, with their parallel chordal accompaniments, also shows Satie’s developing interest in religious chant and monody, an interest that became an obsession.

from notes by Simon Wright © 1989

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