Satie: Trois morceaux en forme de poire; Parade; La belle excentrique,

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COMPOSERS: Satie
LABELS: Decca
WORKS: Trois morceaux en forme de poire; Parade; La belle excentrique,
PERFORMER: Pascal Rogé, Jean-Philippe Collard (piano), Chantal Juillet (violin)
CATALOGUE NO: 455 401-2
Recorded music is now such a pervasive feature of everyday life that it is easy to forget that it is actually a relatively recent phenomenon. Before vinyl made the availability of musical performances commonplace, the simplest way of hearing a work outside the concert hall was by playing a piano arrangement. New works would be published not only in full score, but also in transcriptions for solo piano or piano duet. Stripped of orchestral colour, these distilled versions of works are often revealing. In the case of Parade, the duet arrangement confirms Apollinaire’s observation that Satie’s music hides ‘poetry beneath its crude Punch and Judy wrapping’.

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Performed with élan by Pascal Rogé and Jean-Philippe Collard, it is the highlight of an exceptional recital in which the balance between Satie the composer and Satie the musical subversive is finely judged. The bulk consists of works for piano duet, notably La belle excentrique and an exquisite account of the Trois morceaux en forme de poire. In an eccentric move of which Satie would have approved, this delightful piano disc concludes by commandeering the considerable talents of violinist Chantal Juillet for barely five minutes’ work in Choses vues à droite et à gauche. Christopher Dingle