Erik Satie

Erik Satie

We have another new piano book in the house – this time the Dover Edition of Erik Satie’s Gymnopedies, Gnossiennes and Other Works for Piano.  I never realized Satie was such an interesting fellow. For example,

After years of heavy drinking, Satie died on 1 July, 1925, from cirrhosis of the liver. At the time of his death absolutely nobody else had ever entered his room in Arcueil since he had moved there twenty-seven years earlier. What his friends would discover there, after Satie’s burial at the Cimetière d’Arcueil, had the allure of the opening of the grave of Tutankhamun: apart from the dust and the cobwebs (which, among other things, made clear that Satie never composed using his piano), they discovered numerous items that included:

  • great numbers of umbrellas, some that had apparently never been used by Satie,
  • a total of four pianos: two of which were back to back, two of which sat upside-down on top of the other two
  • the portrait of Satie by Suzanne Valadon,
  • love-letters and drawings from the Valadon romance,
  • other letters from all periods of his life,
  • his collection of drawings of medieval buildings (only then did his friends see a link between Satie and certain previously anonymous, journal advertisements regarding “castles in lead” and the like),
  • other drawings and texts of autobiographical value,
  • other memorabilia from all periods of his life, amongst which were the seven velvet suits from his Velvet gentleman period. (read more)

Click here for more articles and check out the video clip of Satie and Francis Picabia jumping up and down and firing a cannon on a Paris rooftop. (reminds me of a few goofballs I’ve met over the years….)

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