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Erik Satie

Erik Satie Composer

9 Danses gothiques   

Performances: 4
Tracks: 4
  • 9 Danses gothiques
    Year: 1893
    Genre: Other Keyboard
    Pr. Instrument: Piano
Danses gothiques comprises nine contiguous pieces, with only the inserted titles in the score to indicate where one piece ends and another begins; the entire set is unified by nine recurring motives and their variants. It was composed in 1893, during Satie's tempestuous love affair with the painter Suzanne Valadon, and is subtitled "Neuvaine pour le plus grand calme et la forte tranquillité de mon Âme" ("Novena for the greatest calm and tranquility of my soul"). This coincides with Satie's so-called "Rose-croix" period (1891-1895), during which the composer was associated with the Rosicrucian brotherhood and influenced by the aesthetics of the writer and mystic Joséphin Peladan, also known as Sâr Peladan, who viewed art as a source of revelation. During this period, Satie was experimenting with a number of different compositional methods, as well as with modality and the use of non-traditional scales. The Danses gothiques are similar to a number of pieces from this time, especially in terms of their use of altered chords, and the sense of stasis that arises from groups of them sounding in succession. There is also a recurring rhythmic figure—a pair of eighth notes followed by a quarter note—which runs continuously throughout this piece. The nine sections are titled as follows: "A l'occasion d'une grande peine" ("On the occasion of a great sorrow"), "Dans laquelle les Pères de la Très Véritable et très Sainte Eglise sont invoqués" ("On which the fathers of the true and holy church are invoked"), "En faveur d'un malheureux" ("On behalf of a poor wretch"), "A propos de Saint Bernard et de Sainte Lucie" ("Concerning Saint Bernard and Saint Lucy"), "Pour les pauvres trépassés" ("For the poor deceased"), "Où il est question du pardon des injures reçues" ("Where there is question of forgiveness for insults received"), "Par pitié pour les ivrognes, honteux, débauchés, imparfaits, désagréables, et faussaires…" ("Out of pity for the drunken, disgraced, corrupted, faulty, unlikable, and forgers…"), "En le haut honneur du vénéré Saint Michel, le gracieux Archange" ("In high honor of the venerable Saint Michael, the graceful Archangel"), and "Après avoir obtenu la remise de ses fautes" ("After having obtained the remission of their faults").

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