Erik Satie

Erik Satie (ārēk´ sätē´), 1866–1925, French composer, studied at the Paris Conservatory; pupil of Vincent D'Indy and Albert Roussel at the Schola Cantorum. He early realized that the romantic Wagnerian style was incompatible with the expression of French sensibility, and he developed a restrained, abstract, and deceptively simple style. In such piano pieces as Sarabandes (1887) and Gymnopédies (1888) he anticipated some of the harmonic innovations of the impressionists Debussy and Ravel; but in later works such as Socrate (1918; a setting of Plato's Dialogues for four sopranos and chamber orchestra) he foreshadowed the neoclassicism of Stravinsky and others writing in the early 20th cent. An eccentric, Satie often concealed his serious artistic intent with droll humor, adding nonsense programs or facetious titles such as Three Pieces in the Shape of a Pear (1903). In 1918 there gathered around him a group of young composers—Honegger, Georges Auric, Louis Durey, and Germaine Tailleferre—who were united in the reaction against impressionism. They were joined in 1919 by Milhaud and Poulenc, and were called les six. A ballet, Les Mariés de la tour Eiffel (1921), which had music by all except Durey, was the one work in which the group collaborated. Jean Cocteau, their literary prophet, wrote the scenario.

See biographies by P. D. Templier (1932, repr. 1970), R. H. Myers (1948, repr. 1974), and J. Harding (1975).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Erik Satie: Selected full-text books and articles

Satie the Bohemian: From Cabaret to Concert Hall By Steven Moore Whiting Oxford University Press, 1999
A History of Modern Music By Paul Collaer; Sally Abeles World, 1961
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 5 "Erik Satie and the Six"
The Modern Age, 1890-1960 By Martin Cooper Oxford University Press, 1974
Librarian’s tip: "Erik Satie and 'Les Six'" begins on p. 236
Music and the Silent Film: Contexts and Case Studies, 1895-1924 By Martin Miller Marks Oxford University Press, 1997
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Five "Erik Satie's Score for Entr'acte"
Modern French Music By Edward Burlingame Hill Houghton Mifflin Company, 1924
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Erik Satie begins on p. 355
Musical Trends in the 20th Century By Norman Demuth Rockliff Publishing, 1975
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Two "Erik Satie (1866-1925)"
Music of the Twentieth-Century Avant-Garde: A Biocritical Sourcebook By Larry Sitsky Greenwood Press, 2002
Librarian’s tip: "Erik Satie (1866-1925)" begins on p. 425
Composers on Composers By John L. Holmes Greenwood Press, 1990
Librarian’s tip: "Erik Satie (1866-1925)" begins on p. 124
Twentieth-Century Music: A History of Musical Style in Modern Europe and America By Robert P. Morgan W. W. Norton, 1991
Librarian’s tip: "Satie" begins on p. 50
French Cultural Politics & Music: From the Dreyfus Affair to the First World War By Jane F. Fulcher Oxford University Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: "Satie's Creative Politics" begins on p. 194
Modern Music: Composers and Music of Our Time By Max Graf; Beatrice R. Maier Philosophical Library, 1946
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Erik Satie begins on p. 161
Musical Chronicle (1917-1923) By Paul Rosenfeld Harcourt Brace and Company, 1923
Librarian’s tip: "Satie and Impressionism" begins on p. 174
European Music in the Twentieth Century By Howard Hartog Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1957
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Erik Satie begins on p. 245
Debussy: Musician of France By Victor I. Seroff G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1956
Librarian’s tip: Chap. IX "Bohemian Period -- Erik Satie"
The Great Parade: Cocteau, Picasso, Satie, Massine, Diaghilev - and T.S. Eliot By Hargrove, Nancy D Mosaic (Winnipeg), Vol. 31, No. 1, March 1998
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