Satie: Sports et divertissements; Carnet d’esquisses et de croquis

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COMPOSERS: Satie
LABELS: Decca
WORKS: Sports et divertissements; Carnet d’esquisses et de croquis
PERFORMER: Pascal Rogé (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 455 370-2
There are many collections of Satie’s piano works. Unfortunately, the vast majority take a small range of pieces as the starting point for constructing a programme.

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However, collectors wishing to explore beyond the Gymnopédies and Gnossiennes should consider this recital by Pascal Rogé as a means of expanding their knowledge of the composer’s output. Many facets of Satie’s character are explored – from the frivolous to the deeply profound – and it is through this variety that it is possible to discern the underlying essence of his musical idiom.

Like Webern, Satie relies on brevity. Even the longest of the 17 works, Sports et divertissements, requires less than 14 minutes for its 21 movements to unfold. Each miniature presents the distillation of an idea (a few rumbles of the sea or the pendulum motion of a swing) to provide the merest essence of the pastime being evoked.

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Rogé’s playing is typically exquisite: his performances are thoroughly reliable throughout the collection. He is, in fact, sometimes too reliable. Several of the pieces, such as La diva de l’empire, emanated from the cabarets of Montmartre and Rogé sounds too polite – as if this is the sanitised tour of Montmartre for tourists. Christopher Dingle