Friday, May 17, 2013
May 17 - Erik Satie
Composer and pianist Erik Satie was born on May 17, 1866, in Normandy, France. He studied music at the Paris Conservatoire as a teenager, where he was judged a failure. After military service, he lived in Montmartre in Paris and assumed musical residence in the Chat Noir cabaret , where he met Claude Debussy and other young "revolutionists." In 1888, he wrote three pieces for piano, “Trois Gymnopedies,” that defied classical tradition in music and presaged minimalist and absurdist works of the 20th century. They were later orchestrated by Debussy. Satie’s rebellious, avant-garde spirit gave birth to classical music parodies, including “Unpleasant Glimpses,” “Desiccated Embryos,” “Genuine Flabby Preludes (for a dog),” “Old Sequins and Old Breastplates” and “Teasing Sketches of a Fat Man Made of Wood.” He wore 12 identical velvet suits and started his own church, the Metropolitan Church of Art of the Leading Christ, of which he was the only member. A connoisseur of absinthe, he died in 1925 from alcoholism.