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Work

Erik Satie

Erik Satie Composer

Flabby preludes for a Dog (Préludes flasques pour un chien)   

Performances: 6
Tracks: 9
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Musicology:
  • Flabby preludes for a Dog (Préludes flasques pour un chien)
    Year: 1912
    Genre: Prelude / Fugue
    Pr. Instrument: Piano
    • 1.Voic d'interieur (Inner voice)
    • 2.Idylle synique (Cynical idyll)
    • 3.Chanson canine (Canine song)
    • 4.Avec camaraderie (With camaraderie)
The Preludes flasques (pour un chien), or Flabby Preludes (For a Dog), were commissioned by the Demets publishing house in 1912. Satie completed them in July of that year, but they were rejected by Demets. In despair, Satie first planned to destroy them. Instead, he wrote a second set of preludes, the Veritables preludes flasques (pour un chien), or "True Flabby Preludes (for a dog)," which he offered to Debussy's publisher, Durand. Like Demets, Durand was not pleased with these pieces and quickly returned them to Satie. It was not until the end of 1912 that Demets finally accepted the second set of preludes for publication.

This work consists of four pieces, each possessing an irreverent, esoteric, and decidedly characteristic title: "Voix d'interieur," "Idylle cynique," "Chanson canine," and "Avec camaraderie." The Preludes flasques strongly reflect Satie's post-Scuola Cantorum esthetic; in the years following his graduation from Vincent D'Indy's school, Satie produced a number of pieces that reflect a certain "academicism" with their precise contrapuntal textures. These Preludes are decidedly contrapuntal and austere, a sharp departure from the mostly chordal works that preceded the beginning of his studies at the Scuola Cantorum in 1905. Gone are the static harmonies and repetition of the Gymnopedies and Gnossiennes, written before the turn of the century; instead, the Preludes, along with the other piano pieces composed after 1912, are works of brevity and condensation. They are more or less tonal works, but Satie's tonality could be called expanded tonality, as there are moments when harmonic relationships are strained, dissonant, and occasionally bitonal. Unlike many of the humorous piano works written by Satie between 1912 and 1915, however, these preludes have barlines and time signatures. The Preludes also differ from Satie's other sets of piano pieces, as Alan Gillmor has noted, in that there are four pieces in the set rather than three: Satie, Gillmor writes, had a "trinitarian obsession, and most of his piano works consist of sets of three."

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