As is to be expected, the five Nocturnes
have nothing at all Romantic about them, nothing of Chopin’s graceful melancholy. They are austere and monochrome in spirit. Perhaps because they are among the last works he wrote for the piano and constitute a grave farewell to the instrument he loved but never played very adequately, the Nocturnes
display an objective quality and lack facetious instructions to the player. Satie, you feel, has reached a point where he is no longer in the mood for jocular whimsicalities and wants his music to speak alone.
from notes by James Harding © 1989