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Michael Ferris

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Member Since: May, 2009

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Erik Satie
by Michael Ferris   
Not "rated" by the Author.
Last edited: Saturday, July 11, 2009
Posted: Thursday, May 07, 2009

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Article on Erik Satie featured on Great Composers and Their Lives.

Erik Satie, a pianist and composer, grew up in a bicultural family, having a mother who was Scottish and a father who was French. Although he studied at the Paris Conservatoire and was always a very gifted musician, in the beginning of his career, he had reputation to be very lazy and unreliable, even to the point of being untalented. Despite this, he wrote 3 Gymnopédies.

In 1890, living in Montmartre, France, he met his life-long friend Claude Debussy. He used to like to go to a lot of cafés to meet other musicians and have discussions with them. It was in this year that he wrote Gnosssiennes, which sounds very oriental.

For a long time, he was very low on money and had to live in very humble accommodations, although his desire was to always do more with his music. Not being very satisfied with his knowledge of composition, he went back to school and studied basic compositional technique in 1905. It was during this time that his musical style truly matured, leading up to 1911, when among others, Maurice Ravel, a great composer and one of the friends he got to meet going to the cafés, brought him into the spotlight. His career as a musician began to grow rapidly.

Erik Satie, in a way, was quite a rebel within the musical world. For example, he once co-produced, along with the playwright and poet Jean Cocteau a ballet, Parade. This ballet caused quite a debate in the musical world on account of the magnitude of comedy it contained. In the pit orchestra for this ballet there were, for example, typewriter-players, people playing pistols, and even steamboat whistle players.

He was ridiculed by many during his lifetime, yet some people truly looked up to him as being ahead of his time, a real genius that did not just want to play the same things as everyone else. He was, in other words, as he is for many musicians even today, an inspiration.

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