Satie: Seen Through His Letters

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9780714528113: Satie: Seen Through His Letters
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This whimsical book about the eccentric Parisian composer Erik Alfred Leslie Satie (1866-1925) confirms his position as one of the most bizarre personalities in music history. Gathered by a determined iconographer, thedirector of the Satie Foundation in Paris, and arranged somewhat chronologically by topic, such as "Friends," and "Lawsuits," these lettersto Cocteau, Debussy, Milhaud, Picasso, Ravel and Stravinsky, among others,many of which have not been previously published, give us a picture of Satie the friend, student, neighbor, composer and musical influence, and of the only adherent to a religion that he founded. Illustrated with line line drawings by Cocteau, Magritte and Picasso, as well as Satie's own musical scores and logos, this book will entrance and delight those interested in Parisian cultural life in the early 20th century.

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Language Notes:

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French

Review:

Satie's eccentricity and contradictory nature made him one of the great enigmas of twentieth-century music. He was at once sophisticated and childlike, sociable and reclusive, iconoclastic and approval-seeking. His music was equally contradictory, old and new at the same time. Inspired by Gregorian plainsong, Satie reinterpreted medieval models in unorthodox, thoroughly modem ways and with a simplicity that seemed revolutionary within the context of late Romanticism. This epistolary portrait by Omella Volta, artistic director of the Satie Foundation in Paris, gives us fascinating glimpses of Satie and the Parisian avant-garde. Organized by subject, it incorporates letters to and by Satie, including correspondence with Debussy, Ravel, Cocteau, and Stravinsky. Numerous examples of Satie's eccentricity are recounted (including the founding of his one-man religious sect) along with the circumstances surrounding the composition of his major works, his numerous battles with critics, and his varied social life. This is combined with seventy-five line drawings by Cocteau, Picasso, and Magritte, as well as Satie's own drawings and scores. The result is a delight both to die eye and the mind, a book that beautifully captures the flavor of those turbulent years in Paris when modem art was born. -- From Independent Publisher

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Ornella Volta, Michael Black (Translator)
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