Satie: Piano Works

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COMPOSERS: Satie
LABELS: Virgin
WORKS: Piano Works
PERFORMER: Anne Queffélec, Catherine Collard (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: VC 7 59296 2 DDD
Until a few years ago, Erik Satie’s enigmatic, humorous piano pieces were all but ignored by pianists and record companies. Now everybody wants to record them. This is Anne Queffélec’s second Satie disc for Virgin. The well-known Gymnopédies and Gnossiennes are included on

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the first one, but if you’re keen to explore Satie’s later music, then this new issue is perhaps the best of the compilations currently available.

Satie emerges from these performances neither as a dry eccentric (as Joanna MacGregor tends to portray him) nor a dreamy mystic (John Lenehan’s view), but as a wholly serious composer with an unsuspected depth of expression. Queffélec takes infinite care over matters of phrasing and articulation, and finds reserves of tenderness and feeling in even the driest of Satie’s musical ‘mechanisms’ – for instance in the first of the Déscriptions automatiques, which so many pianists try to make as ‘automatic’ as possible. The same affectionate care is brought to Satie’s salon waltzes, which Queffélec plays with an endearing rubato. Although

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she is at pains to reveal the introverted, tender side to Satie, she plays the more rumbustious pieces, such as La belle excentrique with great gusto. She’s ably partnered in the duo pieces by Catherine Collard. Ivan Hewett