Satie & Compagnie
Anne Queffélec has a knack for stimulating programmes and this is no exception. Entitled Satie & Compagnie, the composer of Gymnopédies and Gnossiennes is the binding thread in a thoroughly charming patchwork of French miniatures that is full of unexpected pleasures. It is true that, as might be predicted, the Gymnopédies and Gnossiennes are there and Debussy’s Clair de lune and Le petit nègre may not be especially radical choices. However, the Satie pieces are not in the usual indigestible lump, but spread throughout the disc, as if in friendly musical dialogue with the other composers.
What makes the conversation so fascinating is the rarely heard voices among those contemporaries, such as Pierre-Octave Ferroud’s exquisitely suave Nonchalante or Déodat de Séverac’s delightful Où l’on entend une vieille boîte à musique or Hahn’s haunting Hivernale. Satie is too often played in a strait-laced manner at odds with his personality, making Queffélec’s impulsiveness refreshing, even if not always entirely convincing. Gaspard Dehaene adds a second pair of hands for pieces from Satie’s La belle excentrique and Ravel’s bijou Fanfare, but Queffélec’s personality is stamped on every note of this generously-filled and enjoyable disc.