Thursday, May 17, 2007

Happy Birthday, Erik


As the American Civil War was finally coming to an end, Erik Satie was born on this day in 1865. In a slight diversion today, let me comment briefly about one of my favorite composers and a man who embodied a lot of the quirkiness that many visual artists tend towards as well.

According to one web site, 'Satie lived as a true artist, for his music and his ideals. He had no respect for money and lived a poor life for many years'. He never feared the expression of his true opinions on things and people and if he found someone to be 'a perfect jerk', he did not hesitate to let them know, accepting whatever consequences would follow. Considered an outsider, a lone wolf if you will, he had many concerns and projects of his own. As a visual artist spending much of my time in the studio on work that may, ultimately, have meaning only to me, I can associate, strongly, with those feelings.

Surprisingly, Satie was a forerunner to minimalism and had great influence on Debussy, Poulenc and Ravel. Also, because his music has been thought of to be ahead of his time, it is regarded today as timeless and therefore has also had great influence on many contemporary, modern composers.

Mostly known for his piano works today, the serene Gymnopedies are probably his best known pieces along with his ballet, Parade.

Hats off to you, Erik . . . a creative soul after my own heart!

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