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Work

Erik Satie

Erik Satie Composer

Cold Pieces (6 Pièces froides)

Performances: 14
Tracks: 64
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Musicology:
  • Cold Pieces (6 Pièces froides)
    Year: 1897
    Genre: Other Keyboard
    Pr. Instrument: Piano
    • 1.Airs à faire fuir: D'une maniere particuliere
    • 2.Airs à faire fuir: Modestemente
    • 3.Airs à faire fuir: S'inviter
    • 4.Danses de travers: En y regardant a deux fois
    • 5.Danses de travers: Passer
    • 6.Danses de travers: Encore
Satie completed his Pièces froides for piano in 1897. The work has two sets of three pieces, designated "Airs à faire fuir" (Tunes to Make You Run Away) and "Danses de travers" (Crooked Dances). The simplicity and charm of these pieces are reminiscent of Satie's early piano works, especially the Gnossiennes and Gymnopédies of the late 1880s: it shares with these pieces a tendency to present a single musical idea from a number of different perspectives. Pièces froides, with its 2x3 construction, also reflects Satie's interest in the number three, evident in many of his works for piano. The first set combines spare melodic lines, linear textures, and simple repeating left-hand figures. All together, the three pieces make up a perfectly symmetrical ternary form, with the first and third pieces having the same number of measures. The outer pieces feature symmetrical phrasing, gentle dissonances, and many motives, while the middle piece has asymmetrical phrasing and less motivic variety. There is a simple tonal plan to the music, essentially defining the tonic/dominant relationship; however, Satie also employs tonal chords in unexpected ways, and uses dissonance to undermine harmonic movement. The second set of pieces is in stark contrast to the previous set. They are formally looser and essentially based on a single idea, which is stated at the beginning of the first piece. Each piece in this set basically begins in the same way, though with the main musical idea—a narrow melodic line enmeshed with its arpeggiated accompaniment—slightly altered each time. The "Danse de travers" also differs from the "Airs à faire fuir" in that it features more harmonic movement, frequently shifting between remotely related key areas.

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