Letter(s) to Erik Satie

Letter(s) to Erik Satie

French pianist Bertrand Chamayou imaginatively couples Erik Satie, creator of quirky yet somehow timelessly beautiful piano pieces, with another individualist whom he argues was deeply inspired by the French composer—John Cage. The result is a surprisingly compelling and seductive listen. Chamayou opens with All Sides of the Small Stone, a charming Satie-inspired piece Cage is thought to have mischievously slipped into the score of one of his modernist pupils. None of the other Cage works come quite so close to Satie’s style, yet they share a contemplative character and often a beguiling and non-mainstream modality. Spread through the program are all Satie’s Gymnopédies and Gnossiennes, plus some of his lesser-known and harmonically audacious works. Chamayou’s performances, though apparently straightforward, include subtle touches, and their rapt engagement draws the listener in.

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