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Thursday, July 6, 2017

Erik Satie, Musique d'Entracte, Almost Forgotten Masterpieces, Fumio Yasuda

If musical life is sometimes like being an outfielder in baseball, where you have to "call" and catch every somewhat ambiguous fly ball, so too I field every review on these blogs and hope there are no sudden gusts of wind or dazzles of sunlight that would confuse my tracking of the ball and its trajectory. There seems no difficulty for me in fielding the album before me, Erik Satie and Musique d'Entracte, Almost Forgotten Masterpieces (Music Edition Winter & Winter 910 241-2). I love Satie deeply and so I am predisposed toward the volume, in that my expectations were high.

No disappoinment here, happily. What we have is a nicely judicious selection of more-or-less lesser-known Satie miniatures arranged for piano and prepared piano (Furnio Yasuda), clarinet-bass clarinet-saxophone (Joachim Badenhorst), and cello-voice (Julie Laderach).

The 13 short works in the anthology include "Cinema," which Satie wrote for the film Entre-Acte. Then there's "Dance of the Man and the Woman" from Relache, a brief, quietly articulated prepared-piano centric version of  "Vexations" and a smart peppering of other short works, many originally conceived for solo piano but given very sympathetic treatment by the trio. They aren't afraid to introduce a smattering of free improv or jazz-type solos now and again, add some Bill Evans-like rubatos or otherwise treat the ever-varied, brilliant works to more adventurous touches than one might expect.

Once the music is over, you might like me want to play the whole thing again right then and there. It is a worhwhile approach to some of Satie's most advanced, quirky and/or lyrical masterworks.The glowing re-creations help remind us how timeless his music can be. Most of this might have been written yesterday. Yet of course it was not. Yasuda and trio bring it all alive for us, beautifully.

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