Hyperion Records

Gymnopédie No 1

'Satie: Piano Music' (CDH55175)
Satie: Piano Music
Buy by post £5.50 CDH55175  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
Track 1 on CDH55175 [3'15] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)

Gymnopédie No 1
When Satie died at the age of fifty-nine, his liver rotten with cirrhosis after a lifetime’s devotion to cognac and absinthe, he bequeathed a strange legacy. It included the Trois Gymnopédies, once considered eccentric but now so tamed and domesticated that they are used as incidental music for TV commercials. They were written when he was only twenty-two and take their name from the adjective ‘gymnopaedic’ which refers to the dances and exercises ritually performed by naked boys at public festivals in ancient Greece. Hypnotic, haunting, they pursue their measured way over a misty bass and, without travelling very far, create an illusion of steady movement forward. There is a parallel in French art of the time with Puvis de Chavannes, a painter whose clear lines, unforgiving simplicity and statuesque groupings find an echo in the purity of the Gymnopédies.

from notes by James Harding © 1989

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