Satie: Piano Works

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LABELS: Arte Nova
WORKS: Piano Works
PERFORMER: John White (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 74321 27797 2 Reissue (1995)
John White’s Satie selection features works from the end of the 19th century when stasis was the composer’s watchword: the whimsy and surrealist humour that characterised later works are entirely suppressed. Even the dances are dirge-like, and White’s literal, unforgivingly rhythmical playing only emphasises the fact. He is keen to reject the notion of Satie as a purveyor of wit and mystification, but his alternative version – dry, severe and academic – makes some pieces (such as the Four Preludes) almost intolerably boring. If one knew nothing else but this of Satie, he would emerge as the most joyless of composers. Christopher Wood