Movement 1: Choral
Movement 2: Prélude du rideau rouge
Movement 3: Prestidigitateur chinois
Movement 4: Petite fille américaine
Movement 5: Acrobates
Movement 6: Final
Movement 7: Suite au «Prélude du rideau rouge»
It was not only mediocre minds that were alienated by the cock-snooking, surrealist world of Parade, peopled as it was on that May night in 1917 by a Chinese conjuror, cops and robbers, acrobats, circus folk of all descriptions, and three seriously down-to-earth and very ‘Cubist’ managers. The performance was drowned in the audience uproar, and the resulting journalistic battle resulted in a court case and a prison sentence for Satie which, typically, he managed never to serve. The fact that Parade saw the unique meeting of the greatest artistic minds offered by Paris at that time was conveniently overlooked.
Picasso’s cubist and colourful costumes, curtains, and scenery for Parade, with Massine’s choreography to match, were directly reflected in Satie’s ‘cubist’ score, which unfolds in a clockwork, mechanical and rather dry though exceedingly amusing way. Typewriters, revolvers, sirens, and clappers all find their place in the mêlée, the madness, and the melancholy of Parade. And, as the circus that departs overnight, it is all too soon gone, like the Midsummer Night’s Dream, an adaptation of which Cocteau was working on when he first met Satie in 1915.
from notes by Simon Wright © 1989