French pianist Claire Chevallier illuminates the friendship between Erik Satie, eccentric ‘agent provocateur’ of the Parisian avant-garde, and Claude Debussy, the innovative composer who with his harmonic innovations influenced many generations. Or did those innovations in reality stem more from Satie? Satie is supposed to have said that Debussy was better at writing Satie than himself.
The beginning of the first world war pushed Debussy into a bottomless depression. In the first twelve months after the outbreak of the violence he composed simply and solely a homage to the king-knight Albert I of the Belgians. The concert opens with this Berceuse Héroïque. Be sure to prick your ears for the musical reference to the Brabançonne! When Satie composed his Gnossiennes at the end of the 19th century, there was no world war in sight. Even so, the sixth piece from the series needs to be played “with conviction and with a rigorous kind of sadness” – as if anticipating the disenchantment afer the Belle Epoque.
Claire Chevallier, piano
Erik Satie: 6 Gnossiennes | Claude Debussy: Berceuse Heroïque – Images (première série) – Estampes