Erik Satie: Music, Art and Literature

È ora disponibile la nuova monografia dedicata a Erik Satie, a cura di Caroline Potter e pubblicata da Ashgate, dal titolo “Erik Satie: Music, Art and Literature”.

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L’elenco dei contenuti, insieme ad altre informazioni sul libro, si può trovare nella pagina dell’editore. Il libro si può acquistare (anche in formato Kindle, più economico) sul sito Amazon della vostra nazione: ecco per esempio i link ad Amazon ItaliaAmazon UK e Amazon USA. Mi permetto di segnalare, tra i molti contributi interessanti, la presenza in appendice del “Chronological Catalogue of Satie’s Compositions and Research Guide to the Manuscripts”, imprescindibile riferimento e miniera di informazioni per ogni studioso di Satie, realizzato dal grande musicologo inglese Robert Orledge.

Il mio capitolo si intitola “Collaborative Works in Satie’s Last Years” e si avventura nel brulicante mondo culturale della Parigi anni ’20. Ecco l’abstract:

Satie spent the second half of 1923 composing the recitatives for an opéra comique by Charles Gounod, Le Médecin malgré lui (1858), commissioned by Diaghilev. Although this work has been seldom investigated, it is the longest composition Satie finished during his last years and shows the composer dealing with both stylistic and dramaturgical issues that would have an influence on his later production.

First, the chapter recalls the origin of Diaghilev’s commission and Satie’s reaction to it, and then focus on Satie’s problems dealing with music by another composer. His final stylistic solution envisaged a compromise between Satie and Gounod’s musical languages: a case study (including a plausible reconstruction of meetings between Satie and Diaghilev) investigates the genesis of a short passage of the opera (from Act 3, scene 7).

The recitatives for Le Médecin malgré lui influenced Satie’s approach to the 1924 ballets Mercure and Relâche. Gounod’s opera, with its traditional division into separate ‘numbers’, invited a very meticulous organisation of the work on Satie’s part: he divided his ‘scènes nouvelles’ into nine numbers, and prepared preliminary rhythmic and tonal plans before drafting the score. The following year he would apply similar procedures to Mercure and Relâche, for which he wrote detailed structural and tonal plans. The dramaturgical suppleness of numbers allowed Satie to provide an effective musical counterpart to Picasso’s ironically detached ‘poses plastiques’ (Mercure) and to Cendrars and Picabia’s striking ‘ballet instantanéiste’ (Relâche). It should be noted that neither Parade (1916-17, 1919) nor Socrate (1917-18) were planned as a series of short numbers, each set in a specific tonality: the music-hall swiftness of Mercure and Relâche owes more to the light-hearted number opera Geneviève de Brabant (1899-1900) and to musical miniatures such as Sports et divertissements; but the concern for tonal centres and neoclassical lightness are likely to have been directly suggested by the Gounod pastiche.

Un estratto del capitolo si può trovare nella sezione MUSICOLOGY → ESSAYS & ARTICLES di questo blog. Enjoy!

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