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Satie 1st Gymnopédie Arranged for Cello Quartet

Edited by Charles Jacot

Title: 1st Gymnopédie (for Cello Quartet)
Composer: Erik Satie
Instrument: Violoncello
Edited By: Charles Jacot
Instrumentation: Violoncello Ensemble
Pages: 4 for the score and 2 pages for each violoncello part

Erik Satie (1866-1925) and his music influenced the music of many of the great composers living in France during the late 19th to early 20th century: Debussy, Ravel, and Stravinsky among them, as well as the group known as Les Six.  His music, much of it written for solo piano, went contrary to that of the large-scale romantic composers of the late 1800’s, and he was regarded as a rebel by his followers, breaking the bounds of convention. 

His is music of ethereal, wistful, graceful melodies but at other times is full of humor, liveliness and satire.  Satie’s music tends to be sparse or transparent in texture, the pieces short, often featuring a rhythmic ostinato throughout.  He employed old modes and unusual scales, unconventional harmonies and harmonic direction, and root chords and planing, all of which can be heard in the music of Debussy. 

Humorous or odd phrases sometimes appear above the music throughout Satie’s pieces.  Phrases such as “Give it a good look” or “Pass the word” seem placed to puzzle and amuse, rather than to clarify the composer’s intent. 

Satie invented the terms Gymnopédie and Gnossienne.  The story goes that he introduced himself as a “gymnopédiste” upon meeting the director of Le Chat Noir, the famed cabaret at which many of the great artists, poets and musicians of Paris met and discussed their ideas.  The three Gymnopédie were early works, written in 1888, and the first three Gnossiennes followed in 1890. 

-Charles Jacot

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Violoncello I
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Click below to preview or purchase a recording of Satie's 1st Gymnopédie arranged for orchestra by Debussy or in the original version for piano performed by Ciccolini or Thibaudet.