Satie: Gnossiennes; Gymnopédies; Sonatine bureaucratique; La belle excentrique; The Angora Ox; The Dreamy Fish

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COMPOSERS: Satie
LABELS: Decca
WORKS: Gnossiennes; Gymnopédies; Sonatine bureaucratique; La belle excentrique; The Angora Ox; The Dreamy Fish
PERFORMER: Jean-Yves Thibaudet (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 470 290-2
Discs of Satie’s piano music are not exactly in short supply at the moment and there are plenty of options at more or less bargain prices. At first glance, then, the spirits sag when presented with a collection entitled ‘The Magic of Satie’ with a picture of Jean-Yves Thibaudet nonchalantly leaning against a wall and staring at a point above the photographer’s head. Nevertheless, lurking beneath the gloss of the packaging, the minimal discussion of the music and the obligatory inclusion of the Gymnopédies and the Gnossiennes, there is an integrity to this recital allied to some delectable playing. Alongside the usual Satie favourites there are the fruits of recent scholarship, producing some rarities, including the fervid seventh Gnossienne and several first recordings, such as The Angora Ox and, remarkably, the solo piano version of La belle excentrique. There is also a refreshing individuality in Thibaudet’s approach to this music, even in works as familiar as the Gymnopédies, although, like most pianists, he rarely dares to be even half as capricious as the music. Greater boldness would be welcome, then, but this recital makes a promising and enticing start to Thibaudet’s projected complete survey. Christopher Dingle

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