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Erik Satie

Erik Satie Composer

Chapters turned every which way (Chapitres tournés en tous sens)

Performances: 5
Tracks: 15
  • Chapters turned every which way (Chapitres tournés en tous sens)
    Year: 1913
    Genre: Other Keyboard
    Pr. Instrument: Piano
    • 1.Celle qui parle trop
    • 2.Le porteur de grosses pierres
    • 3.Regrets des enfermés (Jonas et Latude)
The aptly named Chapitres tournés en tous sens (Chapters Turned Every Which Way) consists of three distinct, and entirely unrelated, pieces: "Celle qui parle trop" ("She who talks too much"), "Le Porteur de grosses pierres" ("The hauler of big stones"), and "Regrets des Enfermés" (Lament of the confined). These pieces are typical of Satie's later style—humorous, dry, and unsentimental. The ceaseless chatter of the woman in the first piece is represented by a wandering melody made up of consistent, repeating triplets. The piece is actually a dialogue between the woman and her husband, whose feeble interjections are heard as a diatonic theme (in G major) two octaves above the wife's motoric melody. The husband is never able to get a word in edgewise, and as the piece ends, the wife's chatter ceases, and the husband' s theme is heard, as Satie scholar Alan M. Gillmor observed, "dissonantly harmonized and chromatically distorted," testifying to the husband's exhaustion. Excepts from Aimé Maillart's operetta Les Dragons de Villars may be heard in this short piece. Satie borrows tunes from another operetta, Robert Planquette's Rip, in the second piece, "Le Porteur de grosses pierres." This piece tells the story of a man hauling stones, using excepts from the operetta to narrate the man' s painful labors. By the end of the piece, after struggling with a heavy rock, the man can no longer carry it, and drops it. In the third and final piece, Satie offers a musical tale of the biblical Jonah and the eighteenth-century plotter and convict Jean-Henri Masers de Latude, in which they dream of escape together: Jonah from the whale, Latude from prison. As with many of his piano pieces from this time, Satie borrows from children's songs—in this case, "Nous n'irons plus au bois" ("we will go to the woods no more"). As a result, his melodies are consistently simple, diatonic, and narrow in range. These melodies are heard against Satie's idiomatic, eccentric, and often experimental harmony, which includes bitonal structures, modality, and chromatically altered chords.

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