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Posts tagged "education"
I’ve been playing “3 Gymnopédies” a lot on piano recently, so I was pleasantly surprised to discover that today is Erik Satie’s birthday.
He was, like, many of the greats, a walker:
On most mornings after he moved to Arcueil, Satie would return to Paris on foot, a distance of about ten kilometres, stopping frequently at his favourite cafés on route. Accoring to Templier, “he walked slowly, taking small steps, his umbrella held tight under his arm. When talking he would stop, bend one knee a little, adjust his pince-nez and place his fist on his lap. The he would take off once more with small deliberate steps.” […]
Roger Shattuck, in conversations with John Cage in 1982, put forward the interesting theory that “the source of Satie’s sense of musical beat—the possibility of variation within repetition, the effect of boredom on the organism—may be this endless walking back and forth across the same landscape day after day … the total observation of a very limited and narrow environment.” During his walks, Satie was also observed stopping to jot down ideas by the light of the street lamps he passed.
Here’s a wonderful introduction to Satie’s work by my friend Kenny Goldsmith, “Flabby Preludes for a Dog: An Erik Satie Primer”:
In 1905, at the age of 40, after having been kicked around by critics and his peers, Satie decided to go back to school to study the “proper” classical techniques of counterpoint and theory. He sat in classes with students half his age, honed his skills, and graduated four years later with flying colors. While he composed some “serious” works after graduating, his music continued to become more bizarre. He began scribbling mysterious directions all over his scores and gave a running commentary of dialogue, puns, and absurdities: to be jealous of one’s playmate who has a big head, the war song of the King of Beans, canine song, to profit by the corns on his feet to grab his hoop, and indoors voice. The titles, too, were remarkable: Veritable Flabby Preludes (for a Dog), Sketches and Exasperations of A Big Boob Made of Wood, Five Grins or Mona Lisa’s Moustache, Menus for Childish Purposes, and Dessicated Embryos, just to name a few.
From today’s Writer’s Almanac_:
Known as “the velvet gentleman,” he owned 12 identical velvet costumes, 84 identical handkerchiefs, and nearly 100 umbrellas. He walked several miles to a cabaret in Paris every evening, where he played all night before walking back with a hammer in his pocket for protection. He said: “My only nourishment consists of food that is white: eggs, sugar, shredded bones, the fat of dead animals, veal, salt, coconuts, chicken cooked in white water, moldy fruit, rice, turnips, sausages in camphor, pastry, cheese (white varieties), cotton salad, and certain kinds of fish (without their skin). I boil my wine and drink it cold mixed with the juice of the Fuchsia. I have a good appetite, but never talk when eating for fear of strangling myself.”