Composers of Today: A Comprehensive Biographical and Critical Guide to Modern Composers of All Nations

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recognized as one of the great composers produced by France. Today, Satie is generally accepted as one of the fathers of modernism; we have not as yet seen the dusk of his influence or importance.Probably the most characteristic aspect of Satie's music is its pointed and malicious irony, its often effervescent humor. Satie, as a matter of fact, is often referred to as "the father of humor in music." "He was," writes Rudhyar D. Chennevière, "a typical product of the beginning of his century, of this exhausted civilization which jeers in order not to look death in the face. And he is the buffoon who cracks his punning jokes in increasing number, pushing them to extravagance, in order to make the neurotic beings who march past him laugh despite themselves, these luxurious adventurers who flock to shake off their thoughts in contemplation of his poverty."However, Satie is certainly infinitely more than a mere humorist in music. Henri Prunières has complained justifiably that "in spite of . . . pages of great beauty, his work has never been appreciated at its true worth, because the public insists on seeing Satie as a humorist.""Music is perhaps too vague and fluid a medium," comments W. Wright Roberts, "for his sharply realistic fancies. But so clear-cut, so pointed, so economical is his art as to compel us sometimes to admit that he has cut out in music figures shapely or grotesque, with the quality of the 'marble, the onyx, the enamel' of which Gautier writes, and to which, as artistic media, he promises eternity. And, thanks to musical rhythm, these miniature figures move: they live and disport themselves in the mind. . . . Satie, then, seems likely to live as a musical miniaturist."We might conclude with a word by Paul Rosenfeld: "His music is modest in expression, quiet, utterly without bombast, in every bar the product of the good taste which abhors the discharge of fireworks from the breast. . . . Like Stravinsky, he sought to refresh musical art by going to demotic music for themes, rhythms and instrumental effects. . . . He was one of the first to see the possibilities for music to be found in the polyrhythms of American commercial jazz."Principal works by Erik Satie:
ORCHESTRA : Incidental music to Fils des Etoiles; Socrate (with voice); prelude to La Porte Héroique du Ciel.
BALLET : Parade; Relâche; Mercure.
PIANO : O gives; Sarabandes; Gymnopédies (orchestrated by Debussy) ; Gnossienes, etc.

About Erik Satie:

Coeuroy André. Panorama de la Musique Contemporaine; Satie Erik. Mémoires d'un Amnésique; Templier P. D. Erik Satie.

Important recordings of music by Erik Satie:

VICTOR: Gymnopédies (orchestrated by Debussy); Gnossienes.

Ernest Schelling 1876-

ERNEST HENRY SCHELLING, American composer, was born on July 26, 1876 in Belvedere, New Jersey. His father was a philosopher and theosophist who settled in America shortly after the European turmoil of 1848. Young Ernest was a musical prodigy from his fourth year, when he made his first public appearance as pianist in Philadelphia. He showed an amazing instinct for the piano, and it was decided to send him to Europe to devote himself entirely to musical study. At the age of eight, he took lessons under Mathias, pupil of Chopin, and two years later found him a pupil of the great Leschetizky. It was at this time that the boy-musician met and played for Johannes Brahms.

"All that I recall," he tells us today, "was that he took me toward him, leaned over and kissed me, his huge beard smothering me as he did so. Then he turned to my father and said: 'What this boy needs is more oatmeal, more fresh air.' Brahms wrote my father later about my music, and that letter was in my pocket one day when, out in a canoe, the boat capsized, and his precious words and I were soaked."

While still a pupil of Leschetizky, Schelling was taken to the Lake of Con


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Composers of Today: A Comprehensive Biographical and Critical Guide to Modern Composers of All Nations
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