ERIK SATIE: Choix d’oevres pour piano [TrackList follows] – Christoph Deluze, p. in 33 pieces; Parade ballet – Orch. Nat. de France/ Manuel Rosenthal – Praga Digitals stereo-only SACD PRD/DSD 250299, 79:11 [Distr. by Naxos] ****:
Satie was a rather solitary and modest little guy who played the piano in various Montmarte cafes, writing seemingly simple but often enigmatic little pieces, and drank heavily. (He also collected oodles of umbrellas, which he stored behind his upright piano.)
Most of the Praga Digitals “bi-stereo” SACDs have used older stereo recordings, but the first hour-plus of this disc uses a stereo master recorded in Switzerland in December of 2012. Using a wonderful-sounding Bosendorfer grand, Deluze essays both familiar Satie pieces such as some of the Gynopedies, mixed with some rather rare numbers, such as the enigmatically-titled “Waltz of the Mysterious Kiss in the Eye.” Deluze has received much critical acclaim for his previous recordings in Europe, including one devoted to works of Scriabin. So he’s definitely into composers who were…a bit weird.
The grand finale of the SACD is the 16-minute ballet Parade, which (unless I mis-read the rather confusing notes) looks like it was recorded with conductor Manuel Rosenthal in Paris in 1959. Diaghilev brought together Cocteau, Picasso, Massine and Satie for his 1915 ballet Parade, using a sort of fun fair scenario. The ballet’s aim was an illustration of the gap between the world of performers and the merciless world of the city. Satie agreed to do the music, and had great fun inserting a number of uncustomary instruments into the orchestra: a typewriter, a siren and a pistol. Partly as a result of this, the premiere turned into something of a scandal—almost like that which had occurred four years before with The Rite of Spring.
This seems be the only SACD of Parade, so that moves this excellent version of the score to a strong position, plus the hour-long Satie piano concert by Deluze.
TrackList:Petite ouverture à danser Gnossienne no 1 Cinq grimaces pour “Le songe d’une nuit d’été” Gymnopédie no1 Croquis et agaceries d’un gros bonhomme en bois Gnossienne no 2 Les 3 valses distinguées du précieux dégouté Première pensée Rose-Croix La belle Excentrique : Marche franco-lunaire Gymnopédie no 2 Gnossienne no 7 La belle Excentrique : Valse du mystérieux baiser d ans l’oeil Gnossienne no 3 Pièces froides Gnossienne no 4 Gnossienne no 5 La Diva de l’Empire Troisième Sarabande Descriptions automatiques Gymnopédie no 3 *Parade – musique de ballet pour orchestre (1916)